Latvia will search for the key to coexisting with technology at Venice Biennale

Organizers announced on December 4 that Latvia will be represented at the Venice Biennale 17th International Architecture Exhibition in 2020 by the NRJA architectural office with a display titled “It’s not for you! It’s for the building.”

The exhibition will be titled “How will we live together?”, and will examine the interaction between technology and the individual in the context of architecture. The Latvian display will invite visitors to look critically at situations where smart devices start to dictate an incomprehensible order for their users and users of architecture, which often alienate users from the spaces created for them.

“Participation in the Venice Art and Architecture Biennale is a special opportunity for Latvia to announce ourselves on an international level with our powerful cultural instruments,” said Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis.

A publication accompanying the display will invite readers to evaluate the role of technology in modern architecture, focusing on daily technological concepts. It will compile ironic short stories by prose writers, publicists and researchers about real, well-meaning, but absurd technology — unopenable windows, daytime lighting, bacteria-friendly ventilation and other similar technological concepts.

NRJA (“no rules just architecture”) also represented Latvia at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014 with the display titled “Unwritten”, which was dedicated to post-war modernism architecture.

Latvian participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale is organized and supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Latvian pavillion Commissioner is Jānis Dripe, 2020 Project Curators are Uldis Lukševics, Elīna Lībiete, Ivars Veinbergs, Ieva Lāce-Lukševica, Zigmārs Jauja, Inga Dubinska and Līga Jumburga. The “Durdom” installation concept was created by NRJA in cooperation with Pēteris Riekstiņš. The “It’s not for you! It’s for the building” publication idea authors are NRJA and the Architxt (Olga Procevska, Igors Gubenko, Katja Firjane) consulting firm. The project's visual identity creator is Aleksejs Muraško, and the audio design was created by Gatis Ziema. The creative team also includes video storytellers Voldemārs Dūdums, Roberts Kuļenko, Elvijs Pārpucis, Producer Austra Bērziņa and Communications Specialist Linda Bērziņa.

The Venice Biennale 17th International Architecture Exhibition curator is architect, professor, and author Hashim Sarkis. In his message, he urges architects to consider future architecture and urban environment models — how we can coexist with political and geographical differences, economic inequality and migration. The Venice Architecture Biennale will be held from May 23 to November 29, 2020.

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