Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara are the curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, that runs from May 26th to November 25th 2018 in the Giardini and Arsenale venues, and in other locations in Venice. The Biennale Architettura 2018 is titled FREESPACE, a word which describes a generosity of spirit and a sense of humanity at the core of architecture's agenda.
Ballast: any heavy material carried temporarily or permanently placed in the bilge of a ship to ensure its stability; anything that gives mental, moral, or political stability or steadiness; Stabilize.
A couple of benches for people to sit and rest is an active response for the democratic space proposed by the curators. The project was conceived after observing the context of the Biennale and the city of Venice: a necessity of pause and rest at the distant Gardens of Biennale. We are exposing a representation of those benches with cellular concrete models and technical drawings.
As part of the imagery of the city and its boats, the cables are navy ropes once produced at the Corderie in the Arsenale, as well as the immense blocks of concrete as a reference of the Sea defenses.
This object is also about the “active reality of the forces”, as Richard Serra says. The opposite between the apparent lightness of the navy ropes with 32m, and the huge tension on these cables, provokes a necessity of a heavy mass. Each bench is supported by two ensembles of concrete blocks disposed differently over each other. There is one only point of stability, with no connections in between.
FREESPACE evokes a project that has a function as anyone, but is an offering at the same time.