When we came up with the idea of proposing the manifesto as a project to be carried out together with others pavilions, I thought that in a moment of epochal crisis, like the one we are experiencing, it is necessary to take courageous action that can affirm our will to build a sustainable future for us and for the generations to come.
The shared manifesto as been envisioned as a document containing public statements of motivations, intentions and points of views. A concise format evaluate a contemporary paradigm in order to respond to it with affirmations and fundamental points. In its clarity, it could not only be an important gesture taken in such uncertain historical moment, but also a direct response to Hashim's brief through a collection of points shared by all of us.
With the help of Jesus we started by defining a field of action in order to enable the participation of as many pavilions as possible, where the manifesto can become a mean to form a cohesive response to current topics which affect all of us and that today represent the future challenges that the field of architecture will have to engage with. In this sense, the manifesto is an experiment of how in this particular moment, when we are all connected more than ever through technology, the Biennale acts as a space of intellectual debate that could enable for the very first time in history a convergence of global ideas of architecture written into a new spatial contract.
When Annie asked us to write down our thoughts in our first meeting, I thought in the meantime I had to clarify to you, dear friends, how our idea was born and according to which process our project was formed. It was not our intention to impose a modus operandi, but it was necessary to communicate our idea to you more clearly as we were asked, to give it a very first form, albeit in an embryonic state. Instead we wish to shape this project collectively and organically as it was discussed in the last meeting, but we also believe that the format of manifesto would benefit from a structure that enables it to maintain the clear focus. I believe it would be useful to build this method together as it will become our instrument of investigation and dialogue, which will guide us through this experimental project and help us to not get lost behind the multitude of thought (questions and reflections!) about how we will live together.
I was happy that Annie mentioned the works of the CIAM and the Athens charter!
In fact, starting from this architectural manifesto we had worked with Jesus who is an urban planner, to define the scope of our proposal for the manifesto. In the Charter of Athens the urban planning problem of life in modern cities is first of all addressed. This document wanted to give answers from modernist architecture to all those questions common to the big cities that were emerging, such as urban roads, business and residential centers, green areas and those dedicated to sports, etc. etc.
In 1980, Paolo Portoghesi, in the context of the Venice Biennale, presented to the public a sort of manifesto of post modernism, commissioning Costantino Dardi the "Strada Novissima" an installation of twenty contiguous facades where the architects (including Rem Koolas, Franco Purini, Adam Grimberg and Frank Gehry) indulged themselves with a mixture of quotations, reconnecting the past to the modern and post-modern.
From my point of view as an art critic, I believe that in order to work all together on a shared document, since we all belong to different countries in terms of history and culture, it is necessary to confront ourselves on a common field to all which are precisely our experiences in our large modern cities.
As Annie said, it is necessary to find a common language for this dialogue. From my point of view, I believe that there is no more immediate and direct language than experience.
The experience we are living in this epochal moment of the pandemic can certainly help us share thoughts and reflections on how to improve our living conditions in the present and in the future.
Right now all the citizens of the big cities of the world are living with more difficulty than those who live in the countryside, in the mountains or by the sea. We have had several demonstrations of this lately.
In Paris last week when the lock down was announced, there were miles of queues of cars of citizens who wanted to leave the city. From a final analysis of the international real estate market, it would seem that the demand for housing in the countryside, in the mountains and by the sea has increased.
These are essentially the reflections that led us to imagine that the manifesto could just be a document that proposed a new space contract for living together in our cities.
I would like you to consider all these reasons we worked on to prepare our draft, with the aim of building together the path to follow.
Roberta Semeraro, Venice November 03, 2020