La Biennale di Venezia

MODERNITY_expo_1_090_(c)_Bohumil_Kostohryz

 

How has modernity come to dominate everyday experience?
How do we view the buildings that we pass every day?
Do we reject them or embrace them? Or are we merely indifferent to them?

Like special agent Dale Cooper arriving in unknown territory in the small border town of Twin Peaks in the famous TV series by David Lynch, Jane Doe arrives in Luxembourg, where five investigations await her. Each investigation has the same goal, that of retracing the meandering path followed by human beings in their insatiable quest for modernity.
As they follow this path, they are confronted with choices. Torn between the wish for progress and rootedness in tradition, they must face themselves and their identity.

The adventure begins with the story of the first modern house in Luxembourg, which fades among paper dreams, yesterday’s ambitions and today’s reality.

The path continues in the south of Luxembourg, where a neighbourhood survey re-awakens a mass of memories. They describe the enthusiasm and nostalgia in a neighbourhood when the community was involved in the construction of a chapel. This reveals the human dimension of modernity.
A metronome marks the passage of time, the town marches past, elusive. Like snapshots, the buildings overlap in an unending flux. Before being absorbed, a new fragment falls and is replaced.

Finally, two emblematic projects from the 1960s plunge the investigation into the depth of the archives. The history of the plots, the competitions, the rejected projects, the utopias of the time, the difficulties encountered on the construction site, the official inauguration, the miscellaneous news items, the joys and sorrows, resurface. The study of these archives, these “silent yet eloquent activities of things expressed through a culture” described by Michel Foucault reveal the tension that always goes hand in hand with the quest for modernity.

Architecture is at the centre of all this, it is the heart of the investigation and the theatre of events. It is the starting point that triggers passions and the weaving of intrigues.

Newspaper articles, stories, forgotten documents are evidence of events which have built up the memory of a place. These elements are transcribed in a journal. At the end of the investigation the journal unravels itself, its pages scatter, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Thus the challenge is to organise this substance and to reconstruct the story under a different light.

The investigation takes shape from link to link.