Brief Encounter / DANIEL TUDOR MUNTEANU
responding to Gabriela
What have you moved away from lately, and what have you encountered (more) closely?
Together with Davide Tomasso Ferrando, with whom I am curating the Unfolding Pavilion for the next Venice Biennale, we completely changed the topic and the location of this exhibition. At the expense of losing all previous financing, we shelved the initial project. We realized quite early on that our curatorial concept should react smartly to the world’s recent events and, because we changed our project so quickly, we will probably be among the very few who will present in spring 2021 an exhibition in tone with our times. In under three months we designed a new concept, made the research and secured the funding; right now, we are closely collaborating with a stellar cast of 12 international contributors, whom we commissioned to create original trans-media works for the pavilion. The exhibition, titled Unfolding Pavilion 3: Rituals of Solitude, will debut on November 21st 2020 with a digital exhibition, which will be complemented by a physical exhibition taking place in the first days of the next Biennale.
After winning the 2nd place out of the 433 projects submitted for the Future Architecture Platform, Unfolding Pavilion received numerous invitations to curate exhibitions, hold lectures or teach at summer schools around Europe; unfortunately, almost all of these have been postponed or cancelled due to the current traveling restrictions. This gave us more time to think, to write and to conduct research. We are not the only ones in this situation; for independent cultural producers like us, time is essentially the ultimate luxury (since money we never had).
In the next couple of months we will see a rise in the dissemination of many independent research projects, initiated during the times of the lockdown. Hopefully, these projects should not all tackle the same issues of pandemics and quarantine. As Simon Critchley pointed out, many recent works of many intellectuals in many fields of knowledge could be rightfully titled “Capitalizing on coronavirus in order to confirm the massive relevance of all my previous work”. Zizek already published a book on Covid-19 (I read it and so I’m entitled to warn you not to read it). Some architects also felt the need to publish some 75 page booklets disguised as the next „manifestos“ for better, healthier, anti-covid architectures. Blah blah this and blah blah that about how buildings with balconies will be the next big thing.
Frankly, I doubt that this time architecture has the means to fight with this virus. Remember, modernism in architecture was triggered by the fight with tuberculosis: pilotis instead of dumpy basements; white clean surfaces instead of dusty decorum; airy cross-ventilated rooms with big windows to catch the sun, and so on. This time, all that architects were able to produce was to envision a surge in the number of bow-windows. Ridiculous! I would advise anyone that a good deposit room solves a much bigger need than any balcony. After all, there’s a dormant prepper inside all of us. And that much-needed exercise bicycle has to be stored somewhere.