Uncertainty

Spanish Pavilion - 17th International Architecture Biennial Venice / Italy / 2021

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Uncertainty showcases architecture in cahoots with other disciplines to make an impact on society, offering new reflections and suggesting new ways of practicing a profession that has evolved to adapt to all the dimensions and needs of a society in constant change.


The common denominator aside, the selected proposals are very heterogeneous. The Spanish Pavilion presents projects that prioritize the creative process over any iconic finished piece; a process executed in a multidisciplinary manner, and with a positive social impact clearly in sight.


Many of the projects are not at first glance recognizable as architecture per se, emphasizing the fact that our profession has broken the bounds of its traditional function—construction in the strict sense—to adapt to and mix with other fields, such as music, poetry, education, agriculture, cinema, dance, video games, or tourism, in the process using new forms of communication, including the meme.


As the curating team explains, the exhibition of this Biennale’s Spanish Pavilion, does not admit any concrete answer to the question formulated by Sarkis, but rather seeks to generate an infinite chain of further questions; questions of the kind, to be sure, that bear one certainty: our future is together, or nothing.


The young age of the 4 architects who are curating Uncertainty (close to 30) is also a cue for taking a generational picture of the profession. The path each one has followed, with their respective expectations and demands, conveys a message about adapting to uncertain contexts, as well as to the transversal role that architecture is to play in the collective quest for social wellbeing.


The Biennale during the pandemic, a space for reflection


The sense of expectation caused by the moratorium of the Biennale led to the creation, unprecedentedly, of an international platform for reflection and exchange among those in charge of the different pavilions. It is the Curators Collective. During the months of uncertainty, a digital project headed by Sarkis, called Sneak Peak, filled this reflection platform with chats, podcasts, videos, and other materials uploaded by the curators of the various national pavilions.


Uncertainty


Or how uncertainty forces us to dissolve our pre-established limits.


As we understand it, certainty is the undeniable and irrefutable knowledge of something. It defines finished realities with clear, recognizable borders. Certainty is what we feel about everything we have been taught and that we take for granted – everything that makes any kind of reflection or further study unnecessary. When defining our reality, certainty compels us to substitute the rational analysis processes with those based on memorization.


Uncertainty, as the antonym of certainty, appears as the opportunity to generate necessary thinking processes that respond to the realities of changing or unknown nature, those with limits that cannot be defined, or those which do not have any limits at all; therefore, influencing the nature of our certainties by eliminating their steadiness and forcing their evolution.


The so-called new normality demands from architecture the actions that will open the existing limits between predefined antagonisms and eventually break them permanently. Concepts closely conditioned by the economic and cultural factors must now merge and blur their borders. This way, they will become open, allowing the appearance of the indeterminate processes that our liquid society demands. Thus, we will gain the necessary tools to act against any new threats for the future of our coexistence.


The Spanish Pavilion presents a selection of actions that hybridize and expand the competences of architecture to face new social demands. Uncertainty blurs imposed disciplinary and conceptual boundaries that have ended up becoming principles. It creates open concepts from realities previously perceived as antagonistic.


The exhibited works transform into a unique catalog of architectural strategies necessary to face the future of our coexistence and its implications, including the social and environmental levels; unravelling how social atomization – resulting from the variability of responses to the uncertainty that we all have experienced – does not eliminate the possibility of forming a group or a community, nor it pushes us into individualism.


Hence, the pavilion’s central room becomes a volume made out of hundreds of heterogeneous individuals floating in space who, regardless of their physical and conceptual distance, interact to build a single and recognizable body. It becomes a set of different architectures that, like the entire profession, do not lose its ability to define a common path despite being constantly transformed by its interactions with unexpected external forces.


Uncertainty urges us to open our certainties, by focusing on exploring their limits and showcasing the actions that allow different dimensions of reality to become open, dynamic, and adaptable processual elements. It shows a future in which uncertainty, as a design strategy, has become the primary tool to transform our processes and social models, breaking individualism in favor of coexistence.


Is uncertainty our only certainty?

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    Uncertainty showcases architecture in cahoots with other disciplines to make an impact on society, offering new reflections and suggesting new ways of practicing a profession that has evolved to adapt to all the dimensions and needs of a society in constant change. The common denominator aside, the selected proposals are very heterogeneous. The Spanish Pavilion presents projects that prioritize the creative process over any iconic finished piece; a process executed in a multidisciplinary...

    Project details
    • Year 2021
    • Work finished in 2021
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Pavilions
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