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The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration

“Playground: Artifacts for Interaction”, by curator Felipe Ferrer, aims to transform the fences surrounding Peru's public spaces into tools for social integration. The project proposes removing the gates enclosing public spaces throughout Lima  and Peru's other urban centers, inviting residents to freely enter and interact with the spaces. By removing these "security" mechanisms, which really serve as tools of segregation, and installing benches, playgrounds, and soccer fields, the project aims to divert all the energy, time, and resources put into installing fences and channel it into bringing new life to these public spaces. 

"Peru is still nursing scars from the bloody conflict that marked the country from  1980 to 2000. Residents of the capital began to put up fences around their homes and streets as a means of defense. Twenty years later, fences are still being put up. With urban centers across the globe becoming increasingly crowded, along with the incessant drone of digital media, hostile political climates, and post-pandemic socio-economic disarray, people are more fearful than ever of one another. These fences are a physical representation of this fear and it's our job to transform this fear into opportunity."

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 7 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

The normalization of fences, both in Peru and abroad, has made them a fixture in both the urban landscape and the public subconscious. Everyday, more fences are erected and their presence is ever more naturalized. "We need more spaces for integration, not exclusion. We need to realize the true cost of separating the city and its inhabitants. Public spaces should be where we feel most included and equal."

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 2 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

The Peruvian Pavilion greets visitors with a large fence, typical of many Peruvian cities. It hangs from a beam that spans the length of the exhibition space and is marked by several signs reading STOP, ENTRY PROHIBITED as well as the hours of the exhibit.

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 4 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

On the other side of the fence, which will be closed due to sanitation protocols, is the exhibit's centerpiece: a "playground" meant to invite viewers to interact with one another and formulate new social contracts. Some are see-saws that require two people to sit together in order to use them comfortably. Others are staircases that need to be held by another person while another uses them. Other fixtures of the exhibit include a football post, corner benches, and other elements.  

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 10 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

Above the fence hang two lenticular posters, containing two versions of the same image of iconic spaces from around the globe. In one version, the space is fenced. As the viewer moves to a different vantage point, the image transforms and the fence disappears. In highlighting the fences found throughout Peru, the exhibit also prompts us to examine the fences found across the globe.

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 5 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

A video shows how fences transform public spaces by using hundreds of photos from throughout Peru and the world. The majority of the photos were obtained with the help of the public, who uploaded them to a designated Instagram account with the hashtag #RIPublicspace.

The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration - Image 9 of 10
© Michele Agostinis

The pavilion invites viewers to reflect, not only on what they've seen in the exhibit, but what they see in their everyday lives. At the end of the exhibition, the fences will be returned to their original parks, to further shape and transform the spaces they occupy.

  • Check out the online catalogue for the exhibit here.
  • Design team for V.Oid: Javier Vásquez, Alejandro Alarcón, Luis Arévalo, Kevin Abanto, Erick Maldonado, Francisco Obregón, Antonella Pacussich, Daniela Díaz Tenorio, Marina Gubbins.

The exhibit is supported by the Wiese Company and Foundation as well as the Peruvian Commission for the Promotion of Exportation and Tourism- PROMPERÚ, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Ministry of Culture, and the National University of Engineering - UNI, the Peruvian Chamber of Construction - CAPECO, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, the University of Lima, the Private University of the North, Ascensores Powertech, Servimetales, Hunter Douglas, ArtCo, Trazzo, Iguzzini, Marx, Tribeca, Decor Center, and Lima Cómo Vamos.

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Cite: Maiztegui, Belén. "The Peruvian Pavilion in the 2021 Venice Biennale Seeks to Transform Fences into Tools for Integration" [El pabellón de Perú en la Bienal de Venecia 2021 invita a transformar las rejas en dispositivos de integración] 29 Jun 2021. ArchDaily. (Trans. Johnson, Maggie) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/963778/the-peruvian-pavilion-in-the-2021-venice-biennale-seeks-to-transform-fences-into-tools-for-integration> ISSN 0719-8884

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