OPSYS / Pierre Bélanger, in collaboration with Art Gallery of Alberta, Catherine Crowston
Canada interprets the concept of scarce land and resources, as mentioned in the overall theme ‘Reporting from the front’, in the literal sense and will profile itself as a global resource empire with extractive industries and minerals. The country is rich in resources and home to 75 per cent of the world’s prospecting and mining companies and more than 10,000 mining projects.
Given these mineral deposits, scattered across a vast and varied landscape, the economies and cities in Canada have been shaped by the extraction of these resources for 8 centuries since the British Magna Carta. This will be reflected at the Biennale in a microfilm of 800 images across 800 years of history from 800 contributors in 800 seconds. Geopolitical topics (such as the relation between paper worlds of lands to leases, material worlds of mines to minerals, and living worlds from tribes to treaties) will be linked to the current realities of land, law and life.
Extraction will be exhibited outdoor, in the space between the France, Great Britain and Canadian pavilions. Although this was decided due to the planned renovation of the pavilion, it makes the perfect setting for this exhibition related to mining resources. It will be a unique experience for the Biennale visitors, who are used to visit inside the closed environment of a country pavilion. The exhibition includes an installation and film and will be accompanied by a book. The first 5,000 visitors will receive a special limited edition catalogue and a sample of gold ore from a contaminated mine in Sardinia, which was left abandoned by a Canadian mining company after the world economic crisis. After the Biennale, Extraction will embark on a tour across Canada to mark the 150th year of Confederation in 2017.
“EXTRACTION is the only exterior exhibition/installation with the first and only landscape architect to ever curate a national pavilion at the Biennale. Visiting will also provide an opportunity to see the first ever pavilion exhibition below ground that stakes a claim to sovereignty without the monarchy on the eve of the 150-year anniversary of Confederation, setting the stage towards the decolonization of Canada in its 800 year history.”
Pierre Bélanger, curator
More information on the project is available on the website of EXTRACTION. You can also follow the progress of the projects and its team on Twitter @1partperbillion. If you keen te learn more about the relevance of landscape for architecture, you can read the new book ‘Landscape as Infrastructure: A Base Primer’ from curator Pierre Bélanger.
Review by The Venice Insider
The Canadian exhibition is limited to a peephole in the ground and challenges the weather gods in Venice. I visited the Architecture Biennale on a rainy day, so when we got closer, I started to worry that I would have to lay down on the wet ground with my clean clothes. I was lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it), because by the time we arrived, they had completely covered the hole in plastic. I wasn’t even able to see it. If you were more lucky, please share your own review in the comments below, so I know what I missed.
Katia – The Venice Insider
Click here to return to the overview of the other pavilions at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 or read my post What to expect from the 2016 Architecture Biennale.
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