It’s Venice Biennale time, and to our delight this year’s U.S. Pavilion is chock full of our favorite landscape architects, urban designers and thinkers.
This year’s theme focuses on “spontaneous interventions”, or works that use (curators’ words) improvisational, guerrilla, temporary, DIY, or participatory techniques. In other words, design work that’s a little more punk rock than conventional practice.
Below is a partial list, in no particular order, of people/projects we already know and love, and are proud to see at the biennale:
Many of Rebar’s projects fit into this year’s theme. I am partial to the Bushwaffle, but Bubbleware is also good (called Bubbleway on Rebar’s website). Bubble-whatever is modular street furniture designed to bring more play and social interaction into your urban experience. It also represents a partnership between a design collective and a messenger bag company. Cool.
Fritz Haeg is an LA-based architect/artist who has made a project of cultivating edible plants in front lawns around the globe. Listen to his talk at the 2011 Art + Environment Conference here. We’re looking forward to his project at the deCordova parking lot soon.
We are big Public Laboratory fans at Ruins or Books. We’ve even tried a little balloon photography ourselves (before our camera fell into the ocean.) The resources available on the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (PLOTS) website are excellent. They encourage a continuing dialogue for refining balloon photography techniques (read: how not to drop your camera in the ocean) and host public demos and workshops. So far, their DIY aerial photography has been utilized to help citizens document in the Gulf oil spill, pollution plumes in the Gowanus, and crowds of peaceful protestors in Santiago. You can even buy your own Balloon Mapping Kit.
Candy Chang has great style. And she’s got some great projects about breaking through urban ubiquity to send a message to or solicit input from the public. The “I Wish This Was…” sticker campaign is an invitation for citizens to not only dream of change, but also to advertise it. The “Hello My Name Is…” format of the sticker makes it self-explanatory. You just need a stack of these and a Sharpie, you know what to do.
We were familiar with Dorothée Imbert and Paula Meijerink independently, but never their forces combined. It’s not clear if “Free Agents” is descriptive or a name under which they will continue to collaborate. With a group of Washington University St. Louis students and a rented wet saw, they attacked two campus parking spaces, creating cracks in the pavement that they seeded and observed the growth of vegetation in the tough, but not impossible, urban environment.
More posts to come about Spontaneous Interventions.