Cool Capital: The Capital of Guerilla Design Citizenship
Sale D’Armi, Arsenale
The pavilion of South Africa in the Sale d’Armi is not merely an exhibition for the Architecture Biennale. It is in fact part of the guerrila biennale ‘Cool Capital’ in Pretoria, which demonstrates that organized and active citizens are a city’s biggest asset.
The project was launched in 2014 as the world’s first uncurated DIY guerrilla biennale and allowed anyone to contribute something creative. The goal was to bring change to Pretoria and expose residents to art, architecture and design. It started with relatively few participants and no funding, but quickly grew into a city-wide movement with over 1,000 active participants and a massive social media following. Low on budget but high on innovation, over 150 interventions took place, from guerrilla gardening and fabric bombing to performances, events and exhibitions. Real creative change does not come from administrative policy, but lies in the hands and minds of innovative citizens. The 2016 edition of Cool Capital runs in parallel with the Venice Architecture Biennale and focuses on ‘small is big’.
The South African Pavilion in Venice will show installations from Cool Capital to give the visitors an idea of the passion, diversity and commitment of the residents of Pretoria. A short film capturing the soul of Cool Capital will also be screened and a beautiful book, documenting 150 highly successful projects, is part of the display and is available free of charge.
“Surprising things will happen when you free creatives from bureaucracy. Become a design activist!”
Pieter J. Mathews, curator
More information on the project is available on the website of Cool Capital. The electronic version of the catalogue is available for free via this link.
Review by The Venice Insider
As soon as you enter the South African pavilion, you feel as if you are in Pretoria. The exhibition brings together several installations from their guerrilla biennale, so expect to see a very varied set of projects. The one I personally liked most was the Teater Vol Stoele (theatre full of chairs). The beautifully painted chairs are decorated with historical moments and people. They are used to impart the city’s culture to the visitors of the theatre. One of the visitors of the pavilion was even asleep while we were there for 15 minutes running around him to take pictures, so they must be comfortable as well 😉 The only thing I missed somewhat, was loud African music and singing, but otherwise I really loved it. South Africa made it to my list of exhibitions you shouldn’t miss at this Architecture Biennale.
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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