The theme of ideal spaces is basic for an understanding of space, time and the human existence. It is an old theme deeply embedded in our cultural memory, and at the same time, it has never lost its actuality and appeal. Since it contains human hopes, and a myth: After a paradise lost as the ancient space where humans were embedded in, the human longing is about a new one, a paradise regained. A new space of relief and of unity, with nature and with themselves, after that old paradise has vanished forever. An ideal space is a one of both imagination and perfection, and we are looking for such a state of being, to experience it anew. Moulded out as a vision of architectural settings where such an ideal life could take place.
Throughout the years, in our work we have returned to the theme of what an ideal space is: planned, imagined and practiced. In particular, today, the question arises of what an ideal space actually is, or could be. We want to invite visitors to join this venture, through thought and activity. By experiencing historical spaces conceptualized as ideal ones, and by constructing their own spaces. This will allow the visitors to experience their commonly generated spaces together, both as a process and as a result. A paradise is no place of solitude, and it cannot be built by a single person; but is the result of a common effort, instead. If the myth of paradise is an eternal tale about life in harmony, who says that a myth is a lie.
A sequence of worlds the visitor can enter, to experience and imagine ideal spaces; shown as utopian but inhabitable places built or conceptualized in the course of history. The worlds we show cover the entire span from conceptualized to realized versions. The sequence starts with the cathedral, a space that is symbolic, but points to a final, real space to achieve in a future time. It continues with worlds conceptualized, as Sforzinda, a cosmic circle of the Renaissance; Cité Industrielle, is a place of liberation through mechanics; worlds built but still ideal such as Karlsruhe, a combination of ideal space, domination and democracy. It ends with the favela where for the first time in history, the inhabitants actively participate in shaping their own environment. Can such a space, a space of co-creation, also be considered as an ideal?
To really experience something both mentally and emotionally, you need time. Therefore, that sequence unfolds in slow motion and with standstill images revealing the respective world’s nature. The visitors are standing in the midst of these worlds, having time and the possibility to experience them in reality; and through that, gain an impression of those worlds very aim: to be an ideal space.
In the second part of our exhibition, instead of being solely an observer of ‘pre-defined’ spaces, the visitors are now given the power to create their very own urban space. The emphasis lies on generating such a space together, as a world where the visitors must act as a temporary community to co-create the space they want to live in.
The created worlds are composed of different physical elements such as sand and wooden blocks, which, in their different combinations create a virtual space, projected in front of the visitors. The sand is used to form the terrain, as one element of an ideal space. The building bricks, symbolizing certain kinds of architecture, are either mapped directly into the virtual world as landmarks, such as temples, or represent a local change in the virtual world such as an area or street. By crafting the worlds with their own hands, a haptic experience will be provided. By seeing the influence in real time on the spatial gestalt as a visual 3D representation, the space built up is experienced as a totality. A basic anthropological experience is thus combined with imagination in direct visibility: The ideal space becomes a space experienced.
Exhibition at the Venice Biennale for Architecture 2016, From May 28th to November 27th 2016, Palazzo Mora, Room 7, Strada Nuova #3659, Venezia, Italia