The Croatian pavilion is an ode to ambiances of coexistence of the wild and the domesticated, natural and fabricated, inanimate and living. It originates from the Lonja wetlands in which dynamic environments evolved from centuries of symbioses between a landscape in constant flux and communities adapting their lives to it. It documents the slowness of natural change, perspectives of plants and animals, looking in the opposite direction of inevitable crises. Synchronicities of time depend on the viewpoint of the actors, measured in seasons of grazing, annual intercontinental migrations of birds, daily migrations of people, seconds of visitor’s reactions, centuries of plants growing, decades of movement of the rivers meandering. What we see is just the superficial trace of these systems.
There is no hierarchy in this flux, and the Lonja wetlands are taken as a laboratory sample, a lesson for the future, directing towards interaction and reciprocities between what comes from nature and culture, possible in various environments. This sample becomes a backdrop for the discursive segment of the pavilion, an ongoing laboratory documented in real time, exploring futures in practice and education. To effect real change, what is needed is above all continuity and coordination among those various small-scale movements. On the other hand, we are living with crises, i.e. disasters, they are increasingly becoming the new normality, realities, in which we must build new resilience. Studying autonomous resilient communities in our region gives us insight into those small communities used to living and surviving with nature, which have more chances to survive in such futures. We no longer question the supply chains of food, water, and energy, and in this way, we no longer even have an insight into how the systems work, because they become hidden from us. The laboratory of the future begins with understanding the interconnectedness of actors of all origins.
The pavilion includes a spatial installation which is a part of the bestiarium of built and unbuilt observatories in the Lonja wetlands. It evokes structures blending the natural and cultural, within a landscape which seems to stand still, yet whose seasonal changes are radical. The pavilion’s network includes workshops and discussions which test themes and future action in the education of architects. These are documented in real time, making a retroactive catalogue, a note for the future.
The launch of the book “Designing in coexistence – reflections on systemic change”, which will be held on 25 November 2023 at 4.00 p.m. at the premises of the Croatian Pavilion at the Venice Arsenale.
Homo Aquaticus workshop was hosted by the Arts Academy, University of Split, as a part of the INTERAKCIJE 2023 event in October 2023. Reflections by workshop leaders Valentin Graillat and Olivier Troff (ENS Paris-Saclay).
Collective Imaginaries workshop was hosted by the Study centre of the Zagreb Faculty of Architecture in Motovun, September 2023. Reflections by Tonči Čerina, Vedran Kasap, Niko Mihaljević, Ivica Mitrović, Mia Roth and Ozana Ursić.
Reflections from the Feral Drifting with Lonja Wetlands workshop by Open Forest Collective (Markéta Dolejšová, Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, Andrea Botero and Chewie).
Michael Smyth, researcher in the space between people and technology, from Interaction Design Research Group, Edinburgh Napier University, discusses the challenges of imagining alternative futures.
Lígia Oliveira, artist, designer and researcher, reflects on relationships between humans and nature, through the body and the landscape.
Mladen Šolić, a scientist in microbiology at the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split and professor of ecology at the University of Split, discusses our relationship with the living planet.
James Auger, practice-based design researcher and director of the Department of Design at the École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay (ENS) examines the social, cultural and personal impacts of technology and the products.
Ivica Mitrović’s contribution to the exhibition and the project “Homo Aquaticus: HABITAT ST21” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Split (Oleg Šuran and Ivica Mitrović) which is part of the workshop INTERAKCIJE2023: Homo Aquaticus at the Arts Academy in Split as part of the discursive program of the Croatian pavilion at Venice Biennale of Architecture.
Martín Ávila, designer, researcher and professor of design at Konstfack in Stockholm, questions the dominant design paradigm that centres humanity in its practice and writes about an ecocentric way of designing.
Reflections and outcomes from the multidisciplinary Design+Science Summer School held at the University of Ljubljana in July 2023.
An event organised as part of the discursive programme of the Croatian Pavilion – Same as it Ever Was at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.
This workshop explores the pasts and futures of coexistence between humans, animals and nature, focusing on the symbolisms used to represent these relationships.
Reflections and outcomes from the intensive workshop at the master’s study programme at Politecnico di Milano, School of Design, held in February 2023, led by Ivica Mitrović and M Buonincontri – as a case study contribution to the topics we are exploring here.
Call for a 3-day workshop in July in Lonja wetlands by the Open Forest Collective.
The discursive program of the “Same as it Ever Was” continues in partnership with the Design+Science Summer School in Ljubljana in July. The call for participation is open!
A foreword to the Discourse part of the Biennale presentation by the curator of the discursive program Ivica Mitrović, dealing with challenges, future paths and transformative potential of design and architectural education.