Catalonia in Venice:_ Following the Fish (Seguint el Peix), one of the Collateral Events of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, has welcomed 26,674 visitors in six months. Curated by the Leve studio in collaboration with the Top Manta organisation, it has been the most visited of the six exhibitions presented to date by the Institut Ramon Llull at the Architecture Exhibition.
By the time the international exhibition closed last Sunday, it had welcomed a total of 285,000 visitors, making it the second-best-attended edition in the history of the event. Curated by Lesley Lokko under the main theme of The Laboratory of the Future, this has been the first edition to focus on Africa and its diaspora, paying special attention to decolonisation and decarbonisation. Young people and students have accounted for 38% of the total number of visitors. This figure highlights two of the hallmarks of the international event: the exchange of ideas and the transfer of knowledge.
Through the critical and purposeful gaze of migrant communities in European arrival territories, Following the Fish has aimed to resituate the role of architects and the places from which architecture is practiced. In collaboration with Top Manta, Leve’s team of curators – Daniel Cid, Eva Serrats and Francesc Pla – has proposed in Venice the implementation of new community-based residential models such as collective kitchens, new reception spaces and the reuse of empty premises. The nine suspended blankets distributed around the exhibition space, evoking a street market, have featured strategies for building counter-hegemonic visions, as well as for thinking about the city from a more sustainable perspective. Furthermore, a series of ideas placed in the hands of an international group of 105 architecture students from six European schools of architecture have become a reparation atelier in which to rethink the architecture of our cities from an African point of view. In this great hands-on experience, new architectural proposals have been explored in relation to coexistence, community or exchange, on the basis of a real learning experience made possible by the project’s association with the Neighbourhood Plan of Barcelona City Council.
Other highlights with respect to the Catalan presence at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia include the participation of the Barcelona studio Flores & Prats in the Dangerous Liaisons section, with the exhibition Emotional Heritage, a reflection on the concept of emotional heritage through six of the flagship projects of the Barcelona architecture studio created by Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores. Six buildings have been featured in the exhibition in the form of drawings, sketches, unfinished material and other documents in order to encourage the interaction of visitors. They are as follows: the Casal Balaguer Cultural Centre and the Mills Museum, both in Palma de Mallorca; the Variétés Cultural Laboratory, in Brussels; the Yutes Warehouse, in Sant Just Desvern; and La Favorita Fab Lab and the Sala Beckett Drama Centre, both in Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Foodscapes, the Spanish pavilion project, curated by Eduardo Castillo-Vinuesa and Manuel Ocaña, has involved the participation of professionals from the Catalan architectural scene, such as Aldayjover Architecture and Landscape, Agnes Essonti Luque, Gerard Ortín Castellví, MAIO (Alfredo Lérida, Anna Puigjaner, Guillermo López, María Charneco), Pol Esteve Castelló, Urbanitree (Daniel Ibañez, Vicente Guallart) and Urtzi Grau.
The Mies van der Rohe Foundation, which has presented a Collateral Event at the Biennale Archittetura 2023 entitled The Laboratory of Education – EUmiesAwards Young Talent 2023, will be holding a round table at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona on Thursday, 14 December to celebrate the Catalan participation in the Exhibition. Anna Ramos, director of the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, and Pere Almeda, director of the Ramon Llull Institute, will take part on it, as well as other guests who have also had a relationship with this edition.