XV Biennale di Venezia

Reporting from the Front, 2016


*Arsenale di Venezia

Foreword: The Battle-Opposite traces

The battle, like a discussion, starts with the confrontation of two opposite fronts – two divergent realities. We think that it is from this very axiom that we should consider our proposal for the Biennale di Architettura di Venezia.
The interest in the territory –whether natural or urban- and its alteration through the use of geometry provides the basis of our thinking and working processes. Here, the superimposition of two different traces (figure-ground, nature-artifice, landscape-construction) generate complex and interesting realities.
As a result of this battle, the pre-existing landscape is protected, yet at the same time the field of action is expanded, enriching the context with infinite possibilities. We will work with our quotidian tools: territory, trace, geometry, mega-structure, lineal condition…
And we will focus on one specific example: the Ring project, presumably the built project from our studio that best epitomizes this dialogue between opposite traces.

The Ring: Broadcasting Live
Most public buildings in the world have cameras that have populated and conquered the public domain. Within an architectural framework, they witness, record and stream what we do, when we move and how we interact socially. As no detail of our public life is unregistered, architecture has become a recording studio.
Our proposal for the installation at the Venice Biennale radically explores this new context. Rather than opposing it, it delves into the conditions of reality, exposing the Ring project as it is, in real time, broadcasting live from the surveillance cameras of the building and projecting the result onto a massive screen at the Corderie del Arsenale.  This approach questions the traditional model of showcasing architecture, where projects are exhibited as objects through the display of beautiful photographs and models.

In contrast, this new scenario presents the Ring building as a living body that can only be apprehended when temporality, users' experiences and the atmosphere of the place itself are included.

The Exhibition: Reporting from the front
The installation explores our own working process to insert a new order in a place with “another” pre-established order. We begin with two different realities: the natural landscape of the Ring in Extremadura and the historic landscape of the Corderie del Arsenale in Venice.
The Arsenale was a building created to assemble large-scale sailing fabrics. Its linear condition is a reminder of its own history, since it contains all the information of the assembling process itself. The Ring building is a linear architecture whose concentric structure transforms the maximum area of a natural landscape with the minimum footprint. Both will be shown as self-sufficient yet interdependent unities: a valuable natural landscape and a mega-structure, with a diameter of 200 meters and a length of 630 meters, which will be immersed into the atmosphere of Venice.
We propose one large, 3x15m longitudinal screen hanged and placed in the central aisle of the Arsenale. On this screen we will project a massive and changing image of the building, showing live the movement of elements, the passage of time and the actions happening at the Ring. In this way, the visitor will confront an installation that shows the territory and the architecture almost in real scale and real time. He/she will be immersed, inside the action. The installation itself becomes a new trace inserted in the pre-existing trace of the Arsenale.
"Report from the Front" refers to a condition of rawness, of the absence of rhetoric. Architecture as it is, ultimately. Anyone who visits the Biennale on two different days will have two different experiences, as happens when architecture is not distorted by media but approached physically.
* The Ring will be broadcasting live from 25 May to 27 November 2016 at the Corderie del Arsenale, Venice