Het Nieuwe Instituut, commissioner of the Dutch pavilion for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, presents the theme Multispecies Urbanism as the Netherlands' official contribution.
'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 23 May to 29 November 2020.