“Platform Austria” at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale

“Platform Austria” at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale

Centre for Global Architecture

Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mörtenböck © Helmut Fohringer / APA / picturedesk.com

May 8, 2019
“Platform Austria” at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale
Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer appointed as curators of the Austrian Pavilion

For the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale to be held in 2020, the Austrian Federal Chancellery organised a call for proposals on the curatorial concept of the Austrian contribution to be presented in the Austrian pavilion for the first time.

“Platform Austria,” the winning project submitted by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer (Centre for Global Architecture), addresses the rise of digital platforms, such as Facebook and Google, which enter new business lines based on the data they gather and start building entire neighbourhoods. The occupation of public space by investors is a highly relevant, emerging issue that applies all over the world; it highlights the challenges that are at play in the democratisation of space.

“Digital platforms such as Facebook, Uber, Airbnb and Amazon are not only new types of enterprises but also a completely new culture of life—from the products we handle and the services we use every day to entire urban neighbourhoods that will be built by major platform enterprises such as Google in the next few years. Those changes raise significant questions on the social potentials and risks of the architecture of these all-encompassing ecosystems.”
–Peter Mörtenböck

“Platform Austria” is based on research by Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer, two Austrian architects and academics who will cooperate with the team of mostlikely sudden workshop to design the exhibition at the Austrian pavilion for the Architecture Biennale 2020. Thus, the Austrian pavilion in the Giardini itself will become a platform for active discourse—on the potentials of the future and its architecture.

“‘Platform Urbanism’ describes the expansion of ground-breaking technologies into urban space. However, these changes are not only driven by technology alone but by the interaction between technological innovation and social and cultural demands. What is striking is the similarity between the marketing slogans of today’s platforms and the demands of countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s. There seems to be a link that we want to explore in our curatorial programme for the Austrian pavilion.”
–Helge Mooshammer

To critically reflect on this emerging platform urbanism, the “Platform Austria” exhibition concept addresses two defining aspects that serve as curatorial guiding principles for the show at the Austrian pavilion during the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2020:

–The leading role of “conversation”: The opportunity to communicate actively and continuously with countless users is the lifeline of platform economies. This uninterrupted connection provides the guarantee that people can immediately take up changes and flexibly respond to them anywhere and anytime.

–The promise of “future potential”: Building on the resource of continuous conversation, platforms offer as their most important asset the promise to be the suitable structure for tapping future potentials.

To foster reflection and debate on the social changes outlined, voices from all over the world will be invited to blog their opinions on the future potentials in architecture and urban development under the theme “We like” within the framework of six-day residencies in the western part of the main pavilion. In parallel, an Instagram-like projection will run in the eastern part of the main pavilion that features visual contributions of all invited guests.

The lateral pavilions will be used for a complementary exhibition on world-wide examples of platform urbanism that are based on research results of the Centre for Global Architecture. The main pavilion and the rear courtyard will be furnished as an ever-present meeting place—hence, the exhibition’s design will follow the combination of work and pleasure that is typical of the architecture of platform urbanism.

Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer are Co-Directors of the Centre for Global Architecture, an interdisciplinary initiative established to study the planetary changes affecting spatial production today. Their work has received numerous awards and commendations worldwide.

17th Venice Architecture Biennale 2020
Venice, May 23–November 29, 2020

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