Spaziale. Everyone belongs to everyone else Italian Pavilion 18th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 20.05 – 26.11.2023 Tese delle Vergini Arsenale

The new millennium, which began with the cultural crisis of the West triggered by September 11, 2001, has continued with the 2007-2008 economic crisis, the pandemic crisis of the past few years, the energy and geopolitical crisis of today, and the ecological crisis of tomorrow.

The scarcity of resources in a context of permanent crisis is not only an opportunity but also the only direction in which it makes sense to practice. In our view, there is a generation that has already accepted the challenge and is trying every day to develop antibodies to disillusionment. Spaziale invites these practitioners to recognize themselves as a “movement” at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. 

The title refers to anexpanded notion of the discipline that sees the built artifact not as an ultimate goal but as one of the possible tools for intervening in the fabric of relationships between people and places underlying every project. Nine practices were invited to collaborate with nine advisors – from other fields of creativity – in nine Italian territories representative of conditions of fragility or transformation, with the support of as many local interlocutors already involved in collaborative projects with these practices and advisors. Each intervention represents a chapter in an incomplete agenda of urgent research themes for the national context and for architecture: open questions, traceable to the scenario of transition – not only ecological – that we are facing in these years. Acknowledging that the role of curators includes a necessarily ethical dimension, we have decided to use this opportunity to trigger actions beyond the event’s six-month duration. To extend the temporal horizon and convert resource consumption into an investment, the exhibition has been divided into three moments. The first was “Spaziale presenta:” the observatory that monitored the activation of the site-specific interventions. The second is “Spaziale: Everyone belongs to everyone else:” embodying, in the Tese delle Vergini, the formal and theoretical synthesis of processes triggered elsewhere. The third is “Spaziale:” an archive that will document local activities, the official public program at the Teatrino di Palazzo Grassi, and then become a permanent platform.

In parallel with the program’s expansion, the decision was made to undertake a contraction of the exhibition installation and a transfer of resources.

For the first time, and thanks to the support of the Directorate-General of Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of culture, the exhibition plays an active role in the production of pioneering projects, allowing us to say that, in Venice, the Italian Pavilion may be shrinking, but it is expanding throughout the country. The exhibition combines the nine projects in a unified narrative that compares
images of local experiences, showcasing their places and actors, with the installations devised by the practitioners ideally arranged along a route that re-proposes a stylized outline of the Italian peninsula. We hope this collective and shared dimension of design will be the beginning of a widespread laboratory that endeavors to strengthen the sense of global community in which we find ourselves operating; aware that individual actions always involve social reactions – because we are all inextricably interconnected – and in the hope that the future will be a space in which “Everyone belongs to everyone else.”