Biennale Architettura 2021

17th International Architecture Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia 


Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer

The phenomenon of platform urbanism is one of the hottest topics in architecture. Digital platforms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon increasingly pervade all aspects of our lives and start breaking up old systems and structures. PLATFORM AUSTRIA raises the question of how our cities will develop as a result of this development and turns the Austrian Pavilion itself into a platform for actively addressing the potentials of the future and its architecture.

To date, the built structure of cities has been considered the best organisational model for fulfilling public functions. This is not least evidenced by the still ongoing growth of urban metropolises. In their contribution presented in the Austrian Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021, the curators, Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer, address the role which digital platforms will play in future. Will they outstrip the cities? And how will these two organisational models interrelate? Will we be faced with a kind of "platform urbanism" in which virtual relations will be more important than our lives on a local scale? Will real urban space break up into island-like zones where only fragments of social exchanges are left?

Platforms increasingly determine the way in which we live together and the way in which our economy, our healthcare and education system as well as our culture work. They form powerful monopolies whose most important resource is our participation. The little leeway that exists with regard to this participation has been experienced very closely by many people during the current COVID-19 crisis. Through PLATFORM AUSTRIA, the two curators claim the right to have a say in defining the framework conditions of these developments. Owing to the changed circumstances, the programme formats of the Austrian Pavilion will be adapted over the next few months to ensure that access to this debate is as wide and focused as possible. In the course of this preparatory work, the links between the exhibition shown at the Pavilion and the different online channels of PLATFORM AUSTRIA will be brought to the fore even more. The original exhibition concept put a strong emphasis on the political force of physical presence. PLATFORM AUSTRIA intended to be a meeting place. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed especially those opportunities. In order to allow for urgently necessary discussions already now, the adapted exhibition concept will take up the powerful effect of images and symbols to generate communicative presence in this way.

The objective of PLATFORM AUSTRIA has not changed: benefitting from the unique opportunity of using the Biennale Architettura 2021 as a global forum and jointly searching for the architecture that we wish to have in future. Thereby, PLATFORM AUSTRIA wants to make an important contribution to the theme of "How will we live together?" that was formulated by chief curator Hashim Sarkis because the form of platform urbanism ultimately relates to the basic question of which forms of community we want to achieve.

Biennale Architettura 2021
17th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia


How will we live together?
Curator: Hashim Sarkis


22 May — 21 November 2021

20 May 2021
13:00: Press Conference
15:00: Opening

A summary of the opening ceremonies of the Austrian Pavilion can be found here from May 20, 2021 at 7 p.m.

For more information about the Austrian contribution, see 

#platformaustria #austrianpavilion

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