The Russian Federation Pavilion announced that its exhibition Open! will "move to an entirely online presence". Coping with the recent outbreak of COVID-19 that led to the postponement of the Venice Biennale 2020, the pavilion will transform into a digital platform, to ensure the continuation of the projects.
Commissioner Teresa Iarocci Mavica, together with curator Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, had invited a collective of interdisciplinary teams to enter into a dialogue on the function and values of the Pavilion. Selected after an open call, the contributors were supposed to set up a temporary office within the pavilion, during the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, creating an open workspace to plan the on-going architectural transformation. As the in-progress working site was set to provide a stage for various groups connected to the Pavilion, the online manifestation will kick-start a dialogue on coexistence and the functions and values of institutions. Check their upcoming launches here and listen to the podcast series “Open Mic / Work & Social Distancing" here.
The pandemic has challenged our understanding of the role of cultural institutions and has called for a radical reconsideration of the framework of major cultural events. The focus must shift to what is essential: our responsibility for the local creative professionals invited to participate in the exhibition and the planned work on the Pavilion, both in terms of renovation and programming content.
—Teresa Iarocci Mavica
This decision has been taken by The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, advised by the International Artistic Committee, with the support of the Commissioner; the Curator of this year’s edition, Open?, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, architect and founder of studio 2050+; and the pavilion’s operator, Anastasia Karneeva of Smart Art. On that, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli stated that "in times of uncertainty, we have decided to move the program of the Russian pavilion online, to turn the limitations imposed by this crisis into an opportunity to experiment with a different 'space' and with different formats, and to question the role and functions of cultural institutions. We must support the team working on Open? to help them fully realize their works, which will instead be presented online. The project will continue, only in a different iteration, and the commissioned teams will not be left without financial means or the opportunity to gain invaluable experience and carry out their artistic concepts".
The physical renovation of the Pavilion at Giardini, designed by KASA architects, will continue as planned, while “other contributors are currently adapting their projects to function within a digital environment”. In fact, the online platform will release over the course of several months, podcasts, video interviews and lectures, films, a video game, and a live music act. To check the full list of the participants and read the full statement of the pavilion, click here.
The latest project to be released is a video game developed by Russian artist Mikhail Maximov. Since the Giardini Pavilion will stay closed this summer, people are invited to experience it in Maximov’s game, which centers on the concept of transhumanism and the interaction between humans, viruses, and machines. It is set in a post-apocalyptic scenario: waking up in a deserted Russian Pavilion building you have to figure out, by meeting and transforming into different characters (a robot, a virus, a human being), what has happened. The score is produced by Russian composer Vladimir Rannev. The video game will be available for download soon. Watch the trailer featuring gameplay below.