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'How will we live together?' is the focus of Biennale curator Hashim Sarkis, to which Het Nieuwe Instituut asks in return - 'Who is We?'. With the theme Multispecies Urbanism, the Dutch pavilion provides an answer, presenting new perspectives on urban development in which the starting point for design is the cohabitation of people and more-than-humans, from animals and plants to soil life and artificial cognitive systems.

An investigative approach has once again been adopted, and in 2020, an artistic team will give substance to the Dutch pavilion. Architect/researcher Afaina de Jong and artist/researcher Debra Solomon are the first members of the team, whose point of departure is the question 'Who is We?' Their contributions argue that a fundamental curiosity about the 'other', including other forms of life, is a condition for the emergence of a new quality in cities and societies. Afaina de Jong develops projects under the title The Multiplicity of Other to address the dominance of a single-sided view of cities, identifying the multiform human presence as fundamental. Debra Solomon, who coined the term Multispecies Urbanism, emphasises the importance of the more-than-human by developing socio-ecological urban interventions, seeing soil and soil life as the foundation of society.

Het Nieuwe Instituut programmatically links the ambitions of the Dutch pavilion in Venice to regional and national contexts through collaborations with the City of Amsterdam, the Creative Industries Fund NL, and others.

Professor Dr Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer for the city of Amsterdam, has been invited to chair the editorial board to give substance to the parallel programme of the Dutch pavilion. Together with many others, Nevejan introduces City Science as a new way of working on the city in which the worlds of research, design and policy are structurally linked.

Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL have also issued an Open Call for the parallel programme, enabling architects and urban planners to submit and carry out a contribution to the theme. With this Open Call, Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL aim to promote knowledge and contribute to the development of research in the field of architecture and urbanism. More information here.

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will run from 29 August to 29 November 2020.

Note for editors

For more information or visual material please contact Eveline Mulckhuyse or Christiane Bosman: e.mulckhuyse@hetnieuweinstituut.nl en c.bosman@hetnieuweinstituut.nl.

After eight years, Het Nieuwe Instituut becomes a heritage institute, and Guus Beumer hands over the baton

3 DECEMBER 2020

From 2021, Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam will move forward as a national heritage institution with assignments relating to the Dutch basic cultural infrastructure (BIS). Within the cultural infrastructure, Het Nieuwe Instituut forms the national memory of the design sector and aspires to shape a strategy aiming at innovation and based on the pillars of sustainability, usability and visibility. Now that Guus Beumer has, after eight years, successfully realised this ambition for the institute, and is approaching statutory retirement age, he will step down as general and artistic director from May 2021. 

The Polder of Babel

4 NOVEMBER 2020

Het Nieuwe Instituut and the City of Rotterdam have commissioned the Polder of Babel – a community of learning exploring the super-diverse city in the Antropocene. The project, by the Independent School for the City, is Rotterdam's parallel programme for Who is We? – the Dutch contribution to the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

Art on Display 1949-69

25 SEPTEMBER 2020

Six progressive, post-war exhibition designs by architects illustrate how design explicitly shape the relationship between artwork and viewer. The dozens of paintings and sculptures displayed in the reconstructions are from the collections of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. Pieces from these collections have never been shown in the Netherlands before. 

Gijs Bakker and K. Schippers: Basics exhibition in Sonneveld House

29 JULY 2020

In Sonneveld House, designer Gijs Bakker and poet K. Schippers present combinations of jewellery and poetry selected especially for this exhibition from their extensive oeuvres. The result is an environment in which visitors can make new connections and entertain alternative interpretations.

Art on Display 1949-69

13 JULY 2020

Few exhibitions visitors are aware of how artworks are displayed. Art on Display 1949-69 focuses specifically on the manner of presentation. It reveals, through six iconic examples, how the display itself helps to create the experience. Six progressive, post-war exhibition designs by architects Carlo Scarpa, Franco Albini and Franca Helg, Lina Bo Bardi, Aldo van Eyck, and Alison and Peter Smithson illustrate how designers explicitly shape the relationship between artwork and viewer. These architectural approaches are reconstructed on a 1:1 scale, allowing visitors to experience them in three dimensions.

Values for Survival: Presenting the First Results

10 JULY 2020

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning that the presentation Who is We? will not be on view at the Dutch pavilion until 2021. However, the exhibition's parallel public programme Values for Survival, curated by Professor Caroline Nevejan at the invitation of Het Nieuwe Instituut, is currently in full swing. The first results of this research programme – Cahier 1 and an Exploratorium – will be presented in Amsterdam and Venice between 12 and 4pm on 14 July 2020.

Design is Central to Het Nieuwe Instituut’s New Visitor Experience

3 JUNE 2020

Het Nieuwe Instituut opened its doors once more on 1 June 2020 with an inviting routing created by design agency 75B, spatial interventions featuring plants and flowers by Frank Bruggeman and the opportunity – with Only for You – for guests to have the museum all to themselves. Het Nieuwe Instituut offers visitors a safe, comfortable space in which togetherness, curiosity and creativity are central.

2020 Venice Architecture Biennale Postponed until 2021

20 MAY 2020

The opening of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia has been postponed until 22 May 2021. This difficult but commendable decision was made by the Biennale foundation because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its implications for the production, construction, and opening of the exhibition. The Biennale will run until 21 November 2021.

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