Ottawa, May 9, 2011 – “Migrating Landscapes” has been selected to represent Canada at the 2012 Venice Biennale in Architecture, the Canada Council for the Arts and Architecture Canada|RAIC announced today. The project will examine how we as Canadians express our diverse cultural memories in the way we live and build. “Migrating Landscapes” will be presented by 5468796 Architecture Inc. and Jae-Sung Chon, both of Winnipeg, who joined together to create a new entity: Migrating Landscapes Organizer (MLO).
“Migrating Landcapes” was inspired by the individual experiences of MLO, consisting of Johanna Hurme (5468796, born in Finland), Sasa Radulovic (5468796, born in the former Yugoslavia) and Jae-Sung Chon (University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture, born in South Korea). All are first generation immigrants, who, like most migrant Canadians, had unsettling encounters with the Canadian landscape and built environment as they settled into their new homes and lifestyles. MLO is fascinated by this ‘settling-unsettling’ dynamic as a form of contemporary living in Canada and in the world.
Download images of this project and its team.
Although “Migrating Landscapes” originates with their personal experiences, Ms. Hurme, Mr. Radulovic and Mr. Chon believe that most Canadians share similar experiences. “Whether first, second, third or more generation Canadian, each of us brings unique memories and ways of living from around the globe,” said MLO. “As we settle into unfamiliar landscapes and architectural contexts, our ideas on house and home are modified and transformed. As a result, we create new forms of dwelling and alter the landscape in ways that resonate with both local conditions and personal cultural memory.”
“Migrating Landscapes” will act as a forum for young Canadian architects and designers to investigate, provoke, document and expose the unique manifestations of cultural memory that overlay Canada today. To do this, MLO will design the exhibition infrastructure – an abstract landscape – into the existing Canada Pavilion in Venice, and invite emerging Canadian architects and designers to respond to this “new landscape” with original designs for dwellings, based on their own cultural memories. Each new piece of work – whether it is a house, a cabin or a yurt – will deal with ideas of dwelling and settling on the land, and consequently will reveal a condition or state of Canada’s physical, social or cultural environment. The new dwelling designs will be selected through a national competition to be launched this summer. MLO will oversee the competition and curate exhibitions of the winning entries both in Canada and in Venice.
The Venice Biennale in Architecture, which could be compared to the Olympics of Architecture, is the world’s most prestigious architectural exhibition. It will take place in Venice, Italy from late August to November 2012.
“Migrating Landscapes” was selected by an independent peer assessment committee appointed by the Canada Council for the Arts, which included Eve Blau (Harvard Graduate School of Design), Lynn Osmond (Chicago Architecture Foundation), and Todd Saunders (Saunders Architecture, Bergen, Norway). The committee commented that, “This exhibition has the potential to unleash wonderful energies. It engages youth, registers new voices and could refresh our own vision of Canadian architectural culture. It probes Canada’s social fabric as it takes on a concrete form, which makes for a sound, yet provocative offering to international debates on migration and shifting national identities.”
The Canada Council for the Arts and Architecture Canada|RAIC are working together to provide financial support and assist with project oversight for Canada’s architectural representation in Venice. This collaboration is part of a larger project to investigate developing support for the advancement of the presentation and appreciation of contemporary Canadian architectural excellence in Canada and abroad.
The Migrating Landscapes Organizer is led by Johanna Hurme, Sasa Radulovic and Jae-Sung Chon. All three found their way to the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in the 1990s, though they grew up thousands of miles apart using different languages, and in the context of different cultures, landscapes and architectural settings. In a foreign land, new relationships become critical, and unusual and unfamiliar alliances are formed, tested, developed and cemented. This was also their experience. Gradually shifting from an instructor (Mr. Chon) and student (Ms. Hurme and Mr. Radulovic) relationship to that of colleagues and co-teachers, they have now joined forces for the 2012 Venice Biennale in Architecture in an unusual but exciting new collaborative relationship: MLO.
Created in 2007 by founding partners Johanna Hurme and Sasa Radulovic, 5468796 Architecture is a Winnipeg architecture collaborative that engages in all aspects of design including visioning, branding, architecture, object design, detailing and engineering systems. 5468796 aims to inspire clients, challenge convention at a multitude of scales and promote design to the general public by demonstrating that even modest means can achieve great values in architecture and design with innovation.
The firm’s innovative work has achieved national and international acclaim, including Architectural Review’s 2011 Future Projects Award, Architectural Review’s 2010 Emerging Architect Award, Architect Magazine’s 2010 Progressive Architecture Award and a 2010 Award of Excellence from Canadian Architect. 5468796 continues to make design advocacy an ongoing pursuit through critical practice, partnering/hosting of design events, lectures, various public engagements and teaching at the University of Manitoba.
Jae-Sung Chon has been teaching at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Architecture since 1996. He currently acts as Studio Chair of the second year Environmental Design program and Chair of Cultural Events for the Faculty of Architecture. He has studied and taught architecture around the world including Seoul (Yonsei), Montreal (McGill), Berlin (Technische Universität) and London (Architectural Association). He is currently working on a research PhD in affiliation with the Urban Laboratory at University College London, exploring the relevance and utility of post-humanist discourse within the domains of urban ecology and postwar infrastructures.
Mr. Chon has maintained a design practice since 1995, working in collaboration with a range of partners. He was a founding partner of both DIN Projects and OS1. His work has been recognized in numerous publications including AZURE, DWELL, Canadian Architect and Western Living. Recently, he initiated S.T.U.F.F. (Studio for Transformative Urban Forms and Fields) to reflect his research interests and trans-disciplinary practice.
Ms. Hurme, Mr. Radulovic, and Mr. Chon’s personal memories of migrating to Canada can be viewed here.
The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal Crown corporation created by an Act of Parliament in 1957. The role of the Council is to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. To fulfill this mandate, the Council offers a broad range of grants and services to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations in dance, integrated arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and writing and publishing. It also promotes public awareness of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities.
Established in 1907, Architecture Canada|RAIC is a voluntary national association representing more than 4,300 architects. As the leading voice of architecture in Canada, Architecture Canada|RAIC works to affirm architecture matters; to celebrate the richness and diversity of architecture in Canada; and to support architects in achieving excellence.
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