A frantic race between the sun, aching feet and pavilions playing hide and seek, this was my two-year as a reporter student. Moving around Venice with a tag pinned to my most important shirt. So important to attract attention without my noticing it, reminding me with immense pride that for four days I was Domus too. With a professional air, I ventured out equipped with a classic black notebook, shy English and a compact from a few years ago, perhaps not perfectly equipped, but loaded. Ready to discover what is meant in architecture by "reporting from the front".
To my surprise, I discover that there are not so many proposals, an incredibly topical theme resolved with a census of successful projects, incredible but past projects. I frantically move around the Arsenale looking for someone who can tell me something and I'm about to skip an installation that doesn't seem like anything special to me, when I let myself be taken by this little extraordinary story. I discover that that very simple screen and the seat in front of it tell the story of the architect Teresa Moller who with her Estudio del Paisaje in Chile finds a marble quarry whose pieces, badly cut or damaged in the process, are discarded and abandoned. The measures that do not respect the standard are not accepted by the trade, throwing money in terms of labor and quality of the material. A piece of chipped marble placed in a museum is considered a work of art, in the quarry it is just a machine error. This is where “Catch the Landscape” was born and the idea of exhibiting the “waste” at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting not only traditionally inside, but in every open space of the arsenal. This is how marble in recent months takes on the role of official session of the biennial: in the lawn, reflected in the water, protected by a cover; matter becomes the protagonist of the space. I look around and find it everywhere, it is the most present, widespread and functional installation and for this reason probably the least noticed. The designer's idea is to create a documentary to raise awareness of the issue for the Chilean authorities and I believe that the “benches” of Venice 2016 will make people talk about themselves for a while longer. They tell a story, simple and strong at the same time, the kind of story I was looking for and in a moment I understand the true spirit of this biennial. It is not just a census, it is deliberately simple, essential and without too much astonishment. It focuses on a theme of contemporary design that has now become classic, but never as physically urgent as it is now, which often risks being treated more for duty than for social interest. A biennial of unconventional architecture, which takes away the importance of the building to simply transform itself into the biennial of people.
- CHIARA SILENO -
© photo Chiara Sileno