(Originally published on March 2016 here >> http://www.nacymbaghli.com/2016/03/wallgate.html)
[Petitioning here the Directors of Architecture Exhibitions (amongst other actors), in general, and, Alejandro Aravena, the Director of the next Venice Biennale, Reporting From The Front, in particular.]
Following our last post, No Border Wall, there are now numerous questions arising from the subject.
Before that, let me summarize:
The architecture website in this case is the messenger (read it somewhere on twitter), it is the ‘container’ ; while the, so much changing and still unclear, ‘content’ comes from a third party…
I think that we all agree on this.
Okay, now what’s the deal?
Wallgate (let’s call it that) leads, for me, to several levels of critical reading and thinking. Things becomes really interesting now with all the protagonists: Content/Container, Actors/Observers, Pros/Cons, and so on.
So, the crux of the problem is the kind of relationship that we, architects, should have with media (magazines, websites,…), with architecture manifestations (biennales/triennales), with private/public institutions, with politics, with (the power of) money, even with our own clients.
And we have to ask ourselves also: what relationship do each party should, ethically and morally, have with the other?
Let us take some examples:
What is today the relationship between a magazine or a website with a biennale?
What kind of relationship do we have actually between any architecture manifestation and its sponsors?
Is there a conflict of interest? A “mélange des genres”?
Clearly, yes. How can it not?
This bring us to such inextricable situations:
Why can not we today boycott, without causing outcry and embarrassment, a particular media?
Is it because of the poor quality ‘content’, or because of the powerful ‘container’?
Architects aim (and claim) to be critical, but,
How really independent (and free) are they?
That is the whole dilemma.
In the other hand, If we don’t act now, such ‘intellectual slippages’ will become recurrent and trivialized. Quoting a friend here (on Facebook): “Are we just another brick in the wall?”
Hell no! We should be the brick that breaks down the wall!
As part of this concern for total independence, freedom of expression, and the right to criticism of Architects towards and beyond Architecture, Reporting From The Front, in the current context of migration issues (amongst others), should report from these cynical and controversial (border) walls, and thus open more widely the debate on the role and responsibility of Architects, where ever they are, what ever they do, in such tragic circumstances.
For me, this issue deserves to be worn both to the general public and the architectural sphere via the next Architecture Venice Biennale, otherwise, all that won’t make sense.
‘Reporting From The Walls’, while running ‘Reporting From The Front’ in Venice this summer, seems to me, as architect, critically important. They are a lot, and we are not talking about only those physical barriers. Political, economical and/or ideological walls are disseminated, unfortunately, all across the world.
Yet precisely, isn’t Architecture all about freedom?
From Controversy to Petition
For all these questions, we are launching today this (rather moral and symbolic) petition, and we are asking simply this from all those active in the fields of Architecture:
Architects, free yourselves. Go beyond Architecture.
Today, more than ever.
>Sign the petition!