Architecture / Architecture Biennale / Design / Dialogue / Mauricio Pezo / Out There: Architecture Beyond Building / Share / Sofia von Ellrichshausen / Venice

‘I was there’ Chile Pavilion at Out There. Review


I was there, Chile Pavilion at Out There: Architecture Beyond Building, Architecture Biennale, Venice, 2008

‘The Chilean proposal is a platform to recover works of architecture that have managed to settle transversely into the national memory, beyond the specialized circuits’. [1]

This Architectural Exhibition was part of Out There, Venice Biennale 2008. It was curated by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen. The exhibition explored the dialogue between architecture and tourism, between architecture and the lay person, between architecture and local identities and handicraft, and between conventional methods of architectural representation (using scaled models) and the diverse representational souvenirs (with inaccurate scale, proportion or detail) made by people outside of the discipline.

Handmade model by local craftsmen, image designboom

‘I was there’ reveals the role tourism and architecture play in the displacement of people for commerce. It explores how the transient tourist taking pictures in front of a significant backdrop is consuming architecture. Architects today, design and erect these backgrounds, thus acting not only as a cultural devise but also an economic driver. The exhibition also puts forward popular Chilean architectural icons which have come to represent different local identities. These objects on display are idealised building forms, transformed into archetypes by craftsmen, into a singular form devoid of function, making it part of a memory and of the complete experience of being there.

Inspiration from souviners, image designboom

The objects on display were all original, unrepeatable handcrafted pieces, and act as geographical pointers for a location visited. (Figure 5) They refer to their place of origin through the eyes of a foreign tourist, making the souvenir a kind of witness to an experience, that reveals the persistence of memories embodied in buildings. These were places at an eye level, so that the viewer could see the details, the curator wanted the viewer who had been to Chile, to revisit their experiences through the objects displayed, while addressing the question how do we remember architecture. This approach of interpretation humanises architecture and reminds architects that people are central to the experience of architecture.

Architecture and memory, Image Designboom

[1] ‘I was there’, in ‘Out There:ArchitectureBeyondBuilding, Volume 4’, (Venice,New York: Rizzoli Marsilio, 2008) pg 32