Turkish Pavilion. Architecture is a powerful tool, let’s use it

Neyran Turan, curator of the Turkish pavilion, explains what contribution architecture can make to creating a new planetary imagination of our environment, seen the political crisis caused by climate change.

An intense, dazzling yellow pervades the four diorama rooms set up in black ‘boxes’ by Neyran Turan for his “Architecture as measure. The bright lights flatten the rooms and create an alienating feeling, but then you enter the rooms and read the features of each of the situations represented –from resource extraction to material supply chains, from building construction to care –you walk through the dioramas as if you were inside a model. The documentary realism of the rooms and the meticulous details of the dioramas amplify the experience, which continuously shifts from a two-dimensional to a three-dimensional image.

The intention of the curator, founder of Nemestudio and associate professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is to focus on the entangled relationship between the quotidian and the planetary, to suggest another route for architecture’s relation to the world, in which it is more of an agent than a mere respondent. It aspires to provoke another form of inner focus and thus engagement for architecture. The first field of action is the post-pandemic situation, but there is more than that.

“How we relate to our environment and one another have shaken drastically after the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, but the pandemic itself and the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests throughout the world made more apparent the problems that were already there before the pandemic itself and were just more invisible,” argues Turan.

“First, all of these recent developments made it evident that the intricacies of systemic injustice and climate emergency call for unconventional approaches that can make sense of the collision between the quotidian and the planetary – the vast geo-temporal scales through which climate emergency accelerates. If there is a close link between the pandemic and the proliferation of deforestation, biodiversity loss, unrestricted agriculture, extraction, and urbanization in remote areas, this means that the planetary scale of climate emergency and our everyday lives are not only intricately correlated but are exactly the same thing. In other words, the pandemic is yet another reminder that the idea of the planetary is not a theoretical concept in isolation. On the contrary, the planetary is about the here and now; it is embedded in everything we do, and it is waiting for a long-overdue radical change.”

“In secondo luogo, la pandemia ha reso più evidente la relazione tra razzismo sistemico ed emergenza climatica nella sua vivida rappresentazione e amplificazione delle disuguaglianze ambientali già presenti. Come è stato sottolineato da molti geografi, il cambiamento climatico non riguarda una battaglia moralistica tra "natura" ed "esseri umani", ma è la conseguenza di secoli di estrazione selvaggia delle risorse naturali, di colonialismo e razzismo.

In poche parole, gli umani che sono i maggiori responsabili del cambiamento climatico sono i più isolati dai suoi effetti, mentre quelli che sono i meno responsabili sentono i maggiori effetti della sua lenta violenza. Si consideri, per esempio, come la pandemia abbia colpito in modo sproporzionato le comunità più vulnerabili (comunità a basso reddito, persone di colore, indigeni, anziani, ecc.).”

“Credo che tutte queste domande fossero già insite nel suggerimento iniziale di Hashim prima della pandemia su un nuovo contratto sociale per vivere insieme come compagni gli uni con gli altri e le altre specie. Le domande sono le stesse, sono solo più sensate e urgenti ora”.

A cura di :
Neyran Turan
Titolo esposizione:
“Architecture as a Measure”
Arsenale, Biennale di Venezia
Biennale di Architettura di Venezia 2021
fino al 22 novembre 2021
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