Titled "Who is We", the Pavilion of the Netherlands at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia deconstructs normal concepts of space, visualizing what is often overlooked behind the structures that typically define urban spaces. Curated by a team led by Francien van Westrenen, the pavilion will be on display from 22 May to 21 November 2021.
To answer the question of ‘How will we live together?’, the pavilion of the Netherlands explains that current social and environmental circumstances demand that architects and urbanists regard ‘we’ as a "more pluralized pronoun that encompasses all humans and more-than-humans such as soil, plants and animals". And although the knowledge and approach required for this transformation have been defined in the past, they are largely marginalized by the architectural canon.
As social and ecological urgencies demand immediate care and action, Who is We? is an empathic plea against homogeneity and monoculture. Differences and plurality create the relationships and interactions essential to build resilient societies and cities. -- Francien van Westrenen, Head of Agency at Het Nieuwe Instituut and the curator of the pavilion
Inspired by De Jong's Multiplicity of Other and a performance space titled Space of Other, the curating team deconstruct normative concepts of space and examine how public spaces that require dance, music, or poetry create a dialogue between the user and the architecture. Debra Solomon, one of the pavilion's contributing architects, promotes Multispecies Urbanism as a solution for inter-species urban developments. she shares methodologies such as "Radical Observation, soil chromatograms, and rhizotrons" to produce environmentally-conscious urban landscapes in the form of public space food forests.
In addition to the research tools and methodologies, the pavilion displays public research program titled Values for Survival, developed by the Chief Science Officer for the city of Amsterdam, Professor Dr. Caroline Nevejan. The program correlates fields of knowledge, design, and policy, inspiring cities to make a decisive actions regarding climate change.
Who is We?
- Curator: Het Nieuwe Instituut, led by Francien van Westrenen
- Architects: Afaina de Jong and Debra Solomon
- Commissioner: Het Nieuwe Instituut
- Supported by: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the City of Amsterdam, the City of Rotterdam, Creative Industries Fund NL
- Graphic Designer: Innavisions