La Biennale di Venezia di Architettura 2016 – Padiglione ROMANIA

Sestiere Castello, Giardini della Biennale, Venice, Italy

16. Romanian PavilionSELFIE AUTOMATON

Commissioner: Attila Kim. Curator: Tiberiu Bucsa. Exhibitor: Tiberiu Bucsa, Orsolya Gal, Stathis Markopoulos, Adrian Arama, Oana Matei, Andrei Durloi.

Venue: Giardini

The Romanian Pavilion showcases “Selfie Automaton”. The exhibition consists of 7 mechanical automata, featuring 42 built in marionetes — 37 human and 5 creatures. Three of the automata is placed in the Romanian Pavilion in Giardini, another three in the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute of Culture and Humanistic Research, and one nomad that will wander through the streets of Venice.

Caricatures of characters, fantastic animals, golden eggs, music boxes and mirrored reflections are assembled in predefined show parts that place the visitor on stage, in various positions, as dynamo and puppet in the same time. The authors thus propose a generic portrait of social relations, stereotypes and wishes, broken into pieces, to be reassembled by the user’s imagination, in an introspective self-portrait, or perhaps a selfie.

To define the role that was given to marionettes in the exhibition, the authors of “Selfie Automaton” approached puppetry, where it is common for the manipulator to play with the meanings and possibilities of control. One is that the marionette can, and should, cross the usual human limits, of gravity for example, as it can jump and remain suspended. Another, to a tragic extreme, is to let it become aware of its manipulator and cut, or not, its own strings. Still, no such possibilities of escape were used for the installations. Even though constructed with the necessary joints that would allow them the “freedom of movement”, the wooden puppets are unstrung and literally nailed into a mechanism that allows them nothing but one predefined repetitive movement. And the visitor is no exception. Seated as part of the automaton, he is given one choice only: to make it work, by his own repetitive action.

“Selfie Automaton” reflects on the characters and actions embodied by the puppets that are nothing but dispersed parts of our own and can be combined or split, in search of a self-portrait, be it of an architect or of anyone else.

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