The Estonian Centre for Architecture will present the exhibition Home Stage curated by Aet Ader, Arvi Anderson and Mari Möldre (b210 Architects) for the Pavilion of Estonia at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia under the general theme “The Laboratory of the Future” (May 20th – November 26th, 2023).
It will be hosted inside a rental apartment close to the rear exit of the Arsenale complex (Address: Salizada Streta 96, Venice). The exhibition explores the contradiction between the living place as a home and as an exchange value. Various Estonian performers will dwell in it, one at a time, each spending a month in a Venetian rental apartment, which becomes both home and stage.
-text by the authors
“The Estonian pavilion exists in the format of a durational performance, where ordinary domestic duties as well as fictional outbursts, both scripted and non-scripted, all take place in the public eye. One of the performers, Paula Veidenbauma, is intrigued by how issues of invisibility, such as care, aggression, and loneliness, contrast and accelerate in tandem with the vast visibility of real estate, which especially in Venice is driven by hyper-tourism and gentrification”— asserts Mari Möldre, one of the curators.
Home Stage reflects on the contradictions between homes and real estate, dreams and realities, tenants and owners, residents and visitors. Housing is no longer just about living: investment and speculation have become the primary purpose of more and more dwellings, as real estate and rental prices continue to grow. City centers are made up of houses where living itself has become redundant. Many dwellings have owners but no occupants, while elsewhere, residents struggle to become owners. The stability of the home as an intimate space of one’s own, a place for family history and material biography, contrasts with the flexible and fleeting nature of real estate, of rapid buy-and-sell markets.
Home becomes a disposable lifestyle product.
With its performers, the Pavilion of Estonia dwells on almost farcical domestic situations where dreams collide with reality, owners with tenants, sellers with buyers, coziness with alienation. Each performance lasts for 1 hour and 30 mins, it will loop during the day within the different rooms inside the apartment. Some acts will engage visitors, some will invite them to enjoy domesticity and rest. Each performer will live for a month inside the apartment and will open the door to the apartment from morning till afternoon.
Curators have designed a path that each visitor can take. The journey starts from the open street where four wooden daybeds will be installed for people to rest before entering the space. Stepping into the apartment from the main door leads to the hallway, where, throughout the six months, a white wall will be repeatedly painted by each performer. The living room and kitchen area will host a wall-sized display cabinet of curiosities filled with different artifacts: documents, sculptures, mirabilia, and memories, together with a selection of peculiar kitchen tools. The bedroom will feature an installation, a mirrored ceiling, fitted with lightweight reflective panels; while the bathroom will be the stage for “a fountain of sinks” where the faucets of sinks and bathtub will dance and occasionally splash into each other. Lastly, visitors will find themselves in front of a closed door that will be unlocked by the performer: an empty room with dust and fluff clouds blown by four vacuum cleaners.
The Biennale Architettura 2023 is curated by architect and writer Lesley Lokko under the theme The Laboratory of the Future, and envisages the exhibition as a kind of workshop, a laboratory where architects and practitioners across an expanded field of creative disciplines draw out examples from their contemporary practices that chart a path for the audience to weave through, imagining what the future can hold. In this sense, the Estonian exhibition responds to Lokko’s call for pavilions:
“The contrast between home and real estate embodies a variety of human relationships and contradictory situations: depending on our role, the attitude towards spaces and people around us also changes. Therefore, instead of producing new spaces and things for the pavilion, we are engaging with socio-spatial dynamics and involving several artists and writers from outside the field of architecture to do so. The resulting creative mess in the Venetian apartment does not give finite answers but invites imagination and provokes critical thinking.” explain the curators.
With Home Stage, everyday life will be lived and performed in a duet with the apartment. Visitors to the Biennale Architettura 2023 will be part of this performance through a loop of scripted and non-scripted activities.
The Estonian Pavilion is an invitation to be a curious neighbor, an architectural explorer, and a guest at a private housewarming party, but above all it states: everyone is welcome.
About the Curators
b210 is an architecture office with a think tank approach to everyday spatial challenges. We believe that positive change in the built environment is driven by a smart design process where architectural ideas are as important as methods of developing them. We like to design ways of thinking as much as physical spaces.
Aet Ader (1985), is an architect, one of the founders of the architecture office b210 and vice-president of Association of Estonian Architects. b210 curated Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2013 with their proposed topic Recycling Socialism. In 2018, alongside Iwan Strauven, she curated the exhibition: BEL:EST. A Laboratory for Europe in Brussels, which was exhibited at Bozar, Brussels and TAB, Tallinn. Aet, Mari Möldre, Helmi Langsepp and St John Walsh curated an exhibition and seminar program Wood Works: ‘There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away’ which received Architectural Association of Ireland Award last year. Besides curating, designing buildings and environments, Aet edited magazine Ehituskunst for four years and she has been teaching several studios in the Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Architecture.
As an architect, Mari Möldre (1992) has been involved in various exhibition activities. Together with b210 architecture office, she has created an installation for the Hungarian Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021. Together with Aet Ader, Helmi Marie Langsepp and St John Walsh, she curated the international exhibition ‘There is a forest in my backyard but my house is built from trees grown far away’, which opened in Ireland in 2022. Together with Ulla Alla, Margus Tammik and Merilin Kaup, they participated as a group of spatial artists in the 2022 Artishok Art Biennale. In addition to exhibition activities and daily work as an architect, she teaches at the Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Interior Architecture and is one of the founders of the architecture residency VARES.
Together with Aet Ader, Arvi Anderson (1992) has designed the Estonia exhibition of the 2022 Venice Art Biennale in the Dutch Pavilion in the Giardini. In 2019, he supervised the small building subject of the first year of interior architecture together with Aet Ader at the Estonian Academy of Arts. Together with the b210 team, Arvi has won the architecture competitions for Lihula and Paide Good Public Space city squares. In addition to b210, Arvi has worked at AGWA architecture office in Brussels.
Facts & Credits
Project title Home Stage
Typology 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
Location Venice, Italy
Address Salizada Streta 96, Venice
Opening hours May 2023 (Tuesday – Sunday; 11:00am – 7:00pm), June – November 2023 (Wednesday – Sunday; 11:00am – 7:00pm)
Curators Aet Ader, Arvi Anderson, Mari Möldre | b210 Architects
Commissioner Raul Järg (Estonian Centre for Architecture)
Production Anna Lindpere, Anu Lill (Estonian Centre for Architecture)
Project team Liisa Saaremäel (stager and performer), Keithy Kuuspu (stager and performer), Arolin Raudva (performer), Kirill Havanski (performer), Anumai Raska (performer), Külli Teetamm (performer), Eline Selgis (performer), Paula Veidenbauma (performer), Johhan Rosenberg (performer), Jan Kaus (dramatist), Kadri Klementi (publication texts), Margus Tammik (technical solutions), Markus Robam (sound designer), Kairi Mändla (scenographer), Kertin Vasser (photographer)
Partners Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Estonian Ministry of Culture
Sponsor Thermory ThinFacility
Thanks to Eik Hermann, Viljar Arakas, Karin Tõugu, Mari Hunt, Katrin Koov, Kristian Taaksalu, Nele Šverns
Check out, also, “Unbuild Together: Archaism vs. Modernity”, the Pavilion of Uzbekistan at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, here!
READ ALSO: ΕΣΩ 2023 // MULTIVERSE: 10 Λόγοι για να μη χάσεις τη μεγαλύτερη γιορτή αρχιτεκτονικής & design | στις 24 Μαιου στο Μεγαρο Μουσικής Αθηνών