On the first day of the workshop, we met at the pavilion around 10.00 AM and had a video call with our tutors. After the video call we took our time walking around the Arsenale. At 13.00 we had a video call with Bernard van Leer Foundation and Superpool to get familiar with our subject: The Future of Childhood. Right afterwards we started Task 1, where we wrote about our childhood memories. At 16.00 we had roundtable sessions with Çağrı Hakan Zaman and Archis. Before leaving the pavilion for the day, we started Task 2, writing about how we imagined the future of childhood. We had a great night at Venice!
6 June Wednesday
We had half of the day off to visit Giardini from 10.00 to 16.00. After checking out the national pavilions, we met at our pavilion at 16.00 for the roundtable session with Banu Çiçek Tülü. After a great presentation we connected to Pedro Rivera and Superpool, and had a conversation about biennials. We continued working on Task 2 when we completed our discussion sessions. After we left the pavilion, we went for a city tour all together and had a great time.
7 June Thursday
We met at the pavilion early and uploaded Task 2 to start working on Task 3: making image representations of our ideas for the future of childhood. Some of us used the time in between to go back to the exhibitions at the Arsenale and Giardini. We spent most of the day at our pavilion, having discussions and constructing our ideas. We all printed and uploaded Task 3 at the end of the day. After finishing at the pavilion we found a very nice spot on the Redentore cost and had a wonderful time together.
8 June Friday
We started the day with a quick tour of the Giardini early in the morning. At about 12.00 we finally had the chance to meet our tutors Selva, Gregers, Segolene and Mehmet in person. We talked about the work we’ve produced over the course of the week and brainstormed for Task 4: the animation. At 17.00 we had a collective discussion on how to proceed with our work and timeline. After that we continued working on Task 4, filming, sketching, taking pictures…
9 June Saturday
Production time! We spent all day at the pavilion busy working our storyboards and animations. We had discussions and critics all day long with our tutors. In the afternoon, Serena Girani from ARUP gave us a presentation on their research about childhood in cities. Following her, Segolene Pruvot gave us a presentation about her work in European Alternatives. We continued working on animations and shootings till late at night to make it to the final cut.
10 June Sunday
It all comes together… With the memories of our childhood and images of the future, our animations finally came into fruition. After spending some time fixing technical problems and final reviews on the animations, we started collectively producing the exhibition. We reshaped our workspace and the exhibition with our works, making our contribution to the ever-evolving space of Vardiya.
Ségolène Pruvot is Director at European Alternatives, a not-for-profit organisation promoting Democracy, Equality and Culture beyond the Nation-State in Europe. We had a roundtable about European Alternatives. We examined several topics. First, we talked about the role of the architect. The boundaries of architecture; how it affects? Then we talked about ‘who governs and who owns the rights to the design of the cities?’ We looked up for several examples about municipalist movements around the world. Then we moved on to the key notion, ‘the right to the city’. Lastly, we talked about the urban commons, like water, air, public facilities…
Pedro Rivera is an architect based in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (RUA Arquitetos). He is also the director of Studio-X, Rio de Janeiro. We had a talk about the question, ‘What does the Biennale do?’’
The Biennale shows us what is happening all around the world. We can see it through the national pavilions. However, we are not able to see the ‘others’ that are not included in the Biennale. For example, what is going on in Congo? What we see is the dominating trends, while some regions are muted. There are many things happening in the world, about which we have no idea…
Banu Çiçek Tülü is an urbanist / artist based in Berlin, she explained how she works with different perceptions of sound and using sound as a participatory tool. With Tülü we had a session about the role of biennials.
She addressed the three main questions of Vardiya by sharing her own experience. She presented “Kayıtdışı” which is a workshop and event series organized by students including her.
The second experience she mentioned was an exhibitions organized by HKW Berlin. During the exhibition they initiated collaborations between multidisciplinary actors and stakeholder, creating a new platform to discuss the urban and architectural issues.
Tülü concluded the presentation with a manifesto responding to “What should the biennial do?”
“-A biennial should work on the contemporary issues of the world, bearing in mind the past, the present and the future.
-A biennial should be social and inclusive, open to different backgrounds, different migrant groups, as well as different decisions, choices and disadvantaged population.
-A biennial should be critical and create a debate, rather than trying to find an answer. Because ,as we all know, there is not just one answer.
-A biennial should be self-reflective in different geographies and territories of the world.
-A biennial should be political and should try to change the political discourse.”
Çağrı Hakan Zaman had a presentation for us; he showed the previous works he had done. We examined and talked about how digital can help us the create and remember a space. Even we experience the same space; our mind doesn’t remember the whole details, it selects different parts of the room. We also talked about the question ‘’How can a machine or an artificial logic realize the idea of a space
The Venice Times is a multidisciplinary research collective focusing on retelling the story of architecture through fiction as it’s main investigation tool. It was established in the 1700’s by an alchemist and critical art theorist, and has since grown to over 12 members. A diverse collective, members include a designer, a landscape architect, a yoga teacher, a tomatoe cultivator and an opera singer.
Overwhelmed by the empty spaces of the Arsenal after the aftermath of Freespace in 2018, The Venice Times in collaboration with Vardiya™ prepared this song in as an ode the events of this sad moment in the history of the Venice Architecture Biennale. During their intense work for over a month, journalists and researchers from The Venice Times felt the desperate need to contribute all they could towards the aim of seeing the Architectural Biennale of Venice open again. The team joined joined forces with an experienced group of musicians, composers and singers, to compose this song, an anthem, a prayer, a spiritual tool, in the hope of bringing some attention to this urgent matter. The song was based on the heartbreaking observations of the The Venice Times and Vardiya™ members, inside the empty spaces of the Venetian Arsenal, home of the Venice Biennale. Join their voices and let us pray for a miracle – let us pray for consensus!
Saturday was (is!) the final day of our work, so the Vardiya Space turned into to a restless workshop space where everyone individually and all of us together was working in full speed to finalize our work. Interchanging tasks, writing texts, editing videos and preparing our print material, we were all very busy but also enthusiastic to see the final result. Let’s hope we will have lunch soon!
Fragments of our process towards fictioning Venice!
Cüneyt Özdemir, journalist and youtuber based in New York, was our first Digital Critic during the last days of our Vardiya Workshop. He talked about his long-lasting love for architecture, his experience from covering the past Biennale organizations and his efforts to include the architectural discourse in the mainstream news of Turkey. We also discussed the opportunities and limitations of Journalism in Turkey, his diverse experiences from mainstream media and his recent social media engagement and how he feels that freedom of speech cannot be accomplished merely by a change of medium. “If you are talking in this new digital age, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter where you speak but mostly what you are saying” he describes. He also explained how freedom of speech is connected with and restrained by the private ownership of media and that the strict state of censorship in Turkey could be a dystopic future we will have to face globally.
We were very glad to have Paolo Patelli join us for the 4th Digital Lecture of our workshop. We had the chance to discuss with him on some of his recent and previous works. Paolo, an architect and a researcher, currently based in the Netherlands, explained how he uses fieldwork, archaeological methods, and fiction to produce his work. His video installation Shore Leaves, which is currently being exhibited in the Dutch Pavilion, is dealing with the invisibility of labor under automation through the daily life of seafarers. His work underlines that “while human presence and labor are still indispensable and of infrastructural importance, human bodies strive to adapt to remodeled times and spaces and descend further beneath a threshold of visibility.”