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Publication date

20/05 - 26/11/2023

Bento and Vinciane Despret: Belgian Pavilion - Venice

Bento and Vinciane Despret will occupy the Belgian Pavilion © Bento and Vinciane Despret / Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2023
Bento and Vinciane Despret will occupy the Belgian Pavilion © Bento and Vinciane Despret / Belgian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2023

The Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and Wallonia-Brussels International have appointed the team of curators to represent Belgium at the 18th Venice Biennale of Architecture (20 May-26 November 2023).

The multidisciplinary team chosen unanimously by the jury includes the Bento architectural collective and the philosopher and psychologist Vinciane Despret. Resulting from joint deliberations on the sustainability of construction, their "In vivo" proposal emphasises the experimentation of living matter.

"In vivo" questions our extractivist production system by identifying and developing construction alternatives using materials derived from living organisms. The discourse was considered to be clear and committed and have an original constructive approach. Furthermore, the jury was particularly won over by this multidisciplinary team (architects, philosopher, anthropologist, designer and microbiologist), that combined architecture with the field of human sciences and came from the whole territory of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.

As such, for the scenography of the Belgian Pavilion, the curators will experiment on a large scale with natural and living materials, including raw earth and mycelium - the vegetative part of mushrooms - and present examples of Belgian production channels and architectural projects that have used a similar approach.

Their credo: "How to rethink architecture in a world of finite resources? [...] We propose experimenting with desirable alternatives for our territories and cities, alternatives made with and from the living beings that inhabit them and make up their fabric. These experiments would only prolong, extend, and even honour the many (and often neglected) arrangements between humans and non-humans, living and non-living [...] The "In vivo" pavilion will offer a time and a place for critical thinking, notably because questions of responsibility, justice and taking other beings into account will be discussed in relation to living and constructions. But its strength will be defined above all by concrete and inventive proposals for a desirable future of living, for which the territory of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation will be a starting point for thinking, listing, affirming, confirming, revoking, planning, fantasising and especially dreaming."

The team is composed of architects Florian Mahieu, Corentin Dalon and Charles Palliez (Bento Architecture) and philosopher and psychologist Vinciane Despret. Several partners are involved with the development of the exhibition: Corentin Mahieu (furniture designer and scenographer), Juliette Salme (anthropologist), Corentin Mullender (microbiologist), Permafunghi (company producing mycelium-based materials)



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