Post by Silvia Soonets

Last week,the Venezuelan pavilion in Venice opened to the public .  The exhibition, Urban Forces, displays a number of constructions in informal settlements all along the country, and pretends to showcase the social role of architecture, and what is possible when professionals team up with citizens.


The subjetc is of course relevant, both to the bienale motto ”Reporting from the front” and to the urban reality in the world.

But, is there substance?

We have discussed some of the projects in a post last year. Since then, there has not been much new information, as the only sources are self reported posts, and the oficial publications meant mainly for political propaganda. This is why the exhibition and especially its web page are so interesting.

The page is neither too easy not too fast to navigate, but features all the presented cases, with amazing photographs. The pictures are so clear and crispy that seems almost hyperrealistic art.

Unfortunately some of the interventions looks more like art than solutions.


“La Nube” is gorgeous piece of art. But…

It really makes easier the life in the “barrio”? Does it improve the connectivity or the sewage?  Does provide public space? Does it at least help to orientate in the narrow allies?  I know maybe I being too much practical. Yes, I know everybody deserves art. Still, I cannot but wonder if this is the best way to spend public resources in a country that lacks everything.

Of course that project is probably the least ¨useful¨ of the pieces. Catia 1100, La Pantalla or  Capitán Chico  are simple and appropriate, but still many of the cases feel alien to their sites, and somehow alien to their people.

I hope I am mistaken. I hope I am biased. I hope time would prove this is a really a path to upgrade our barrios. But I have not too much confidence.

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