Co-directors Jaeyong Lim and Francisco Sanin curate the second Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. The overall theme of the exhibition Collective City focuses on participation and empowerment as forms of engagement in the public sphere. It is divided into a thematic exhibition, Collective City, a Cities Exhibition, a Global Studio, and Live Projects, each portrayed in different parts of the city and spanning from local to global interventions.
Collective City: Reclaiming The City, Redefining Architecture is based on two premises. First, cities are contested territories and, by their very nature, spaces of negotiation and of multiple and complex subjects, divergent rights, values, claims, and conditions. To understand the city one needs to understand this contradictory nature and to recognize and frame it as a physical and political construct complicit in the right to housing, access to natural and social resources, transportation, political freedom, and justice whilst simultaneously pressured by the challenges of internal and global migration, climate change, and increasing inequity.
Secondly, the contemporary city operates as a speculative apparatus, a mechanism of capital shaped by the logic of efficiency and profit. Public resources and spaces are increasingly privatized and conceived of as commodities. Emerging systems are based on a managerial model that privileges corporate and technocratic visions that undermine the collective nature of the city, and challenge both our political and environmental survival. From corporate cities and free-trade zones to geopolitical enclaves, the city is in a deep crisis as to the very nature of its project.
Installation View. Courtesy of Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.
The biennial is divided into four sections and venues. The thematic exhibition Collective City seeks to question how modes of collective practice and action can challenge the current paradigms of city development and offer resistance to the dominant systems of spatial production. It is curated by Beth Hughes (Head of Architecture Program, RCA) and features projects by Keller Easterling, Dogma + New Academy, BOLLES + WILSON, amid.cero9, Noura Al-Sayeh and Anne Holtrop, The Open Workshop, Bas Princen, and Baukuh.
The Cities Exhibition curated by Dongwoo Yim and Rafael Luna is a platform for discussing core issues and pressing themes raised by approximately eighty participating cities such as Shenzhen, China; Taihu Lake, China; Toronto, Canada; Wellington, New Zealand; Frankfurt, Germany; Buffalo, USA; Lima, Peru; São Paulo, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Christchurch, New Zealand; Caracas, Venezuela; Istanbul, Turkey; Manila, Philippines; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Nairobi, Kenya; New York, USA; Zurich, Switzerland.
The Global Studio section showcases research projects from forty schools around the world under the theme of “Emerging Forms of the Collective City,” curated by Sanki Choe.
Finally, the Live Projects section focuses on the market as a meeting place, taking on the form of a city. As the density of the market increased and added complexity and function, the markets merged with the form of the surrounding city, currently comprising a large proportion of central Seoul today.
DATES: 7 September – 10 November 2019 / THEME: Collective City / CO-DIRECTORS: Jaeyong Lim, Francisco Sanin / MAIN VENUES: Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Donuimun Museum Village, Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture, Sewoon Plaza, Seoul Museum of History / HOSTED BY: Seoul Metropolitan Government / ORGANIZED BY: Seoul Design Foundation / TEXT SBAU: Press Materials