Sarajevo Now at the Venice Architecture Biennale
May 26, 2016 – June 30, 2016: La Biennale di Venezia
Like no other structure in Sarajevo, The People’s Museum stands as a heroic icon of resistance and resilience. Starved of funds and abandoned by the government, citizens have been invited to activate the space themselves, questioning what the 21st century museum can be. From Sarajevo to Caracas, inequality and scarcity are built into our evolving urban geography. Confronted by this reality, architects must rethink how they can operate within the city, learning from its emerging intelligence and shaping its outcomes to radical ends.
This official collateral event of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, presented by Urban-Think Tank at ETH Zürich and Baier Bischofberger Architects, asks a simple question: can a museum be a force for change in a city? Inspired by demonstrations of solidarity and popular ownership, the exhibitors redefine it not as an elitist institution dedicated to the display of objects, but as a catalytic urban space. A temporary strategy of adaptive reuse can compel a new reading of the site and its surroundings. Sheathing the museum in a transparent vinyl skin leaves the decay and patina of the original building intact, while juxtaposing the old and new. The overall effect is a détournement, with the design projecting an oppositional message. The historic structure itself is enclosed as an uncanny artefact, subverting conventional notions of a museum as sterile container.
Alongside architectural proposals for The People’s Museum in Sarajevo, the exhibition also incorporates screenings of the film 1395 Days without Red by renowned artist Anri Sala, a new video by Urban-Think Tank, archival broadcasts from Top Lista Nadrealista, photographs by Charlie Koolhaas, Jim Marshall, and Daniel Schwartz, and the Si/No retrospective of Urban-Think Tank projects and research worldwide, previously shown in Zürich and Munich.
Selected Press Coverage
“Examining the 2016 Venice Biennale: “Sarajevo Now,” Archinect, 2016
“Urban-Think Tank Presents ‘Sarajevo Now,'” Designboom, 2016
Production: Fernande Bodo, Gianmaria Socci, Hamdija Kocic, Arley Kim, Amy Rusch, Carolina Giraldo Nohra, Carla Ferrer Raventos, Andrea Waldburger Díaz, Giulia Tigliè, Marie Grob, Danny Wills
Sarajevo Research and Model: Sabina Biser, Mersel Bujak, Masha Aganovic
Editorial Manager: Alexis Kalagas
Film: Michael Waldrep and Daniel Schwartz
Structural Engineering: Omar Diallo
Administrative Support: Nadya Vonmoos
Supported by: The Architekturmuseum der TU München, ETH Zurich, Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Zumtobel Lighting, Georg Fischer Ltd, Création Baumann, Swiss National Science, Foundation, La Terra Nostra, Marian Goodman Gallery, Hauser & Wirth