Biennale Architettura 2018
FREESPACE in the Corderie
23. May 2018
All photographs by John Hill/World-Architects
Two spaces in the Arsenale's Corderie serve to embody the FREESPACE theme developed by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition.
The majority of the long Corderie is given over to most of the 100 architects invited by the curators to participate in the exhibition, but a couple spaces are left primarily empty and labeled on the exhibition plan as FREESPACES. Looking at the curators' FREESPACE manifesto, these spaces seem to align with "architecture’s ability to provide free and additional spatial gifts to those who use it" and "a space for opportunity, a democratic space, un-programmed and free for uses not yet conceived." Ironically, if my visit on this first day of the three-day press preview is any indication, FREESPACE does not equal lively or well-trodden. Most of the visitors moved through these two spaces fairly quickly, eager to take in the contributions to the exhibition that also embody its theme.
The main entrance to the exhibition at the Arsenale is through an opening hung with rope, clearly referencing the building's original function: making mooring ropes, cables and ropes used on ships.
The light levels are greatly reduced once through the opening.
This first FREESPACE is basically empty, save some images projected onto the walls.
The images tell the history of the building the exhibition occupies.
A little while later, the space inside the Corderie open up once again for the second FREESPACE, this one featuring movie screens and seating, some of it movable.
The placement of the screens subtly yet intentionally engages with the architecture to define smaller areas for watching the films.
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