Cino Zucchi awarded a special mention at 13th Biennale of Architecture

Formal cultures 'infect' each other by combining imitation and innovation

by Malcolm Clark

CZA - Cino Zucchi Architetti's installation, Copycat. Empathy and Envy as Form Makers, has been awarded a special mention at the 13th International Biennale of Architecture in Venice.

Copycat, which “intends to recall the complex mesh of relationships that shape our physical environment” has been given a special mention since it provides an exemplary representation of the all-encompassing theme of the exhibition 'Common Ground'.

Cino Zucchi explains in an interview: “Copycat, in the sense of someone who copies homework, is a statement against the obsession we have for originality: the more people there are in the world, the more we feel the need to want to assert our own personality, forgetting that we live in formal cultures [...]. Our installation is a kind of representation of this idea. It shows how objects are not unique, but are bound by sequences of form, and we could say animated by a dual approach: to imitate - we are all a bit copycats, i.e. imitators of others - and also to innovate. Therefore we placed some cabinets containing very different objects around a central space, which intends to represent a kind of common ground. From submarine models to bread rolling pins from Rajasthan, from photos of people taken in the street to façades of buildings which are completely different but which all show this mechanism of 'different repetition' which is, however, what allows us to live. We live within spaces that also need repetition.”

The installation gives body to the idea that cultures are propagated by following “infectious” processes that combine imitation and innovation, creating sequences of articles linked by subtle variations on a common theme.

The nine metal cabinets that make it up are grouped around a central space paved with metal hexagonal-shaped “pebbles”. Each one of them shows, on its outer side, a collection of objects or images related to this principle of “almost the same” because “similarity” rather than “originality” is what allows dialogue between people, and what gives shape to urban environments that we recognize as popular backdrops of our lives.”

    Copycat. Empathy and Envy as Form Makers 12

    Copycat. Empathy and Envy as Form Makers

    Venice / Italy / 2012