installation for the venice biennale interrogating australian identity
To design a proposal for the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in response to the theme ‘How will we Live Together?’ Considering Australian identity, people, architecture and togetherness. The installation consists of 3 complementary components: interior insertion, exterior intervention and a standalone installation in the surrounding gardens.
Australia is known as the lucky country. As a democracy we preach ourselves to be multicultural, laid back and always there to support the Aussie battler; a nation which gives generously nationally and abroad. However, these sentiments are starting to be exposed as erroneous in actions perpetrated by domestic governments, organisations and the population at large. The Growing Pains installation tries to reconcile the doctrinal Australian image with the reality of who we are becoming as a country.
In the Australian Pavillion these inaccurate nationalistic assumptions come to manifest themselves in the form of growths. The narrative of the space illustrates the lifecycle of such sentiment from its conception to its rectification and removal. Growing Pains doesn’t just provoke intrapersonal reflection but shows how the growths filter our opinions of others and can have far reaching impacts. Australia still remains a place afflicted with racism, injustice and institutional greed. The growths represent these inaccurate opinions many of us hold and how they breed on us to inform our attitudes. However, when we start to appropriately interrogate our thoughts and act against them, we can eradicate these appendages, but not without leaving a scar in their place.
The interior space is designed to provoke the audience into a mindset of reckoning. Examining their idea of self and how we form our identity within this terrestrial bodily cavity. This is achieved through tight spaces and muffled sound and filtered lighting for a feeling of melancholy.
This is the first interaction with the installation narrative. Appearing to ooze out of the building the exterior form feels oppressive from afar but when approached the tactility is familiar. Using reactive memory foam, it conforms to the touch of the individual and is comforting as they are tempted into the pavilion.
The standalone object acts as a vessel of solace. Unlike the other components the concrete materiality doesn’t allow you to sink into it but rather climb atop. Symbolically allowing people to conquer their opinions and be the protagonist agent in the narrative now. Additionally, the floor embedded lighting acts as a reminder to the skin it inhabited but now is scarred atop it.
interior main chamber
Pavilion model with interior and exterior components as well as accompanying standalone design. The model was made with expandable foam and cardboard.