Drew Carling and Jenni Draper report from the US pavilion, which has just opened at the Venice Biennale.
Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good
United States Pavilion
13th International Architecture Biennale, Venice
Spontaneous Interventions displays the shift in urban design thought away from centralized policy making towards optimistically empowering citizens to find ways of improving their own urban environments. It highlights citizen-led alternatives, from guerilla bike lanes to reclaiming outdoor lounge rooms, and often questions existing municipal by-laws. The curators have further liberated this expression by featuring for the very first time in the history of the US pavillion an installation (as opposed to conventional exhibition of projects) which in the American way is done by system of banners which hang from the pavilion roof. These banners though are manually activated via counterweights that connect back to adjacent walls.
The banners (124 in total) archive both the selected actionable tactics to improve the urban realm but also suggest on their opposing face a semantic color code of coloured stripes which reflect the desired outcomes of these tactics and vary in width according to their weighted outcomes. The dominant desire overall generally being that of fostering a better community. The counterweights are labelled with the “burden” that the urban tactic is attempting to mitigate, and when moved displays the new optimistic outcome.
The result is in line with the biennale’s general theme of a common ground of thought or activism but it also displays a collective field of colour which retains its overall unity through this coding and to which Cathy Lang Ho (commissioner and curator) so boldly suggests could even go so far as creating a new iconography for the United States.
Posted by Peter on 31.08.12 in exhibition