Volume #10: Agitation!
Experience the wholesome effects of agitation in its political, physical and emotional dimensions. Meet agitators René Daalder, François Roche, Peter Cook, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Philippe Parreno, and Cesar Millan; check the realities of Beirut and Prishtina, visit informal Rio de Janeiro, be inspired by ‘Gum Pics architecture’, see the hidden persuaders in car design, discover the history of alternative architecture magazines, read…
ISBN 978 90 77966 10 5
Price: € 17,50
Release: December 2006
Editor-in-chief: Ole Bouman
Contributing editors: Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
Feature editor: Jeffrey Inaba
Editorial Consultants: Carlos Betancourth, Thomas Daniell, Markus Miessen, Kai Vöckler
Design: Irma Boom and Natasha Chandani
Publisher: Stichting Archis
Volume #10 includes contributions by Arthur van den Boogaard, Tony Chakar, Neil Denari, Sean Dockray, Kenneth Frampton, Madeline Gins and Arakawa, Spencer Graham, Jane Harrison and David Turnbull, Andrew Herscher, Laura Kurgan, Richard Massey, Reinhold Martin, Ben Nicholson, Paul Preissner, Kai Vöckler, Enrique Walker.
Spatial Information Design Lab (p48-51) with Eric Cadora, Laura Kurgan, David Reinfurt, Sarah Williams.
Alibi is produced with (p65-90) Paul Nakazawa, Erik Belknap, Eric Bono, Phillipe Braun, Christian Chaudhari, Eric Cheong, Keith Gendel, Richard Hollington, Guy Horton, Makoto Mizutani, Maya Utsunomiya, Kari Viste
It’s shortly after the opening of UABB/SZ 2017 that I have an appointment with Liu Xiaodu, member of the curatorial team (together with his partner at Urbanus, Meng Yan, and famous art curator, Hou Hanru). We meet in the temporary library of the UABB, a space to sit and read about contributors and their contributions to this seventh iteration. His biennial is dedicated to the quality of diversity; Cities, Grow in Difference, it’s called. I explain that Volume is working on the theme of technology as a push factor in the spatial and social arrangements of our society and what role architectural design and the designer could have. As well as the divide between ‘coders’ and architects. It hits a sweet spot in Liu Xiaodu.
As supplement to Volume #54: On Biennials, we published a catalogue of the first seven Bi-City Biennales of Urbanism\Architecture (Shenzhen). Juan Du, one of its curators and contributors from the first one on reflects in this publication on the conditions that surrounded the start of this biennial.
“Hundreds of thousands get made,
blood, sweat and editorial tears go into them, yet barely a whimper is told about their relative merits.”
As curator of the Dutch pavilion in Venice last year, Marina Otero had to confront the complexities of a biennial, the Venice one in particular. General theme, individual content, format, design, audiences, logistics, time-span, attention-span, it was all in the equation. Add to that the ambition to be relevant (more than an ad), and the puzzle is complete. How to survive the Biennale and still have fun?
The measure of an architecture biennial’s success is how gloriously it failed. This holds a fortiori for the Venice one; too big to ‘swallow’ as visitor, too complex to manage as curator. The biennial as format and phenomenon was declared dead or obsolete time and again, it was discarded as commercial, promotional, touristic, capitalistic, wasteful, white supremacist and what not. In the end, that is not the issue. The issue is the tension between expectations and pretension, between agency and result. Any art or architecture exhibition can be just that: the presentation of good and interesting work. For an architecture biennial, that position is hardly available. Something more should be expected. The format may be malleable, it should add to our understanding of where we are at present, what is of prime importance, where we may be going or could want to go. Even if a biennial isn’t able to provide conclusive answers, the minimum should be to pose relevant questions.