Project Directors: Sandro Marpillero, Cristina Barbiani
Consultants: Angela Vettese, Renato Bocchi
Students Master MIA/IUAV: Marco Miscioscia, Cristian Rizzuti, Morena Sarzo, Damiano Ascenzi, Giovanbattista Mollo
A Stroll, A Fun Palace, an interactive installation by MIA/IUAV for Swiss Pavillion at 2014 Venice Biennale, opened the last 16th of November, 2014. It is a collaboration between Sandro Marpillero and a group of students of the Master of Interactive Arts at IUAV, coordinated by Cristina Barbiani.
The project is about activating the Swiss Pavilion, with an intervention in relation to Cedric Price’s project for the Fun Palace (1961-64). Sandro Marpillero initiated this project as a parallel activity to his role of design instructor (with Angela Vettese, Valeria Burgio, Renato Bocchi) at the Biennale-related post-graduate level IUAV/Workshop “If Clause – Archiving the Impossible”, which was connected to the Swiss Pavilion’s “School of Tomorrow” directed by Lorenza Baroncelli.
In the context of the 2014 Biennale, the Swiss Pavilion celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Fun Palace, as a “fundamental” shift in architectural paradigms. As a project, the Fun Palace radically promoted new rituals of cultural production and reception, by conceiving a flexible building program, and allowing visitors to determine (or at least to affect) what could take place within the space/time of their experience of its spaces. The material on display at the Pavilion is not a reproduction of that which is in the CCA’s archive, but a representation of it, insofar as it is a performance on the idea of archive that uses reproductions of drawings and documents.
The Fun Palace’s physical model is the only original material on permanent display in the Pavilion’s Gallery, where ETH students bring out some of the reproductions, recovered from an Archive set up next to that space, to partially illustrate them to visitors.
A Stroll, A Fun Palace installation complements the Pavilion’s highly curated agenda of “revealing” the materials from the CCA (Canadian Centre for Architecture)’s archive (http://www.cca.qc.ca/en/collection/540-cedric-price-archive) by offering to unprepared visitors the role of active participants. Visitors find themselves immersed in a time-based experiment that transforms them into the generative centers of interaction with the material on display, and the space of the Gallery itself.
The interactive installation engages the Fun Palace as a conceptual springboard for testing the shift from the theatrical impulse that inspired Cedric Price’s project, towards a contemporary activation of its relative indeterminacy through digital technologies, addressing the Fun Palace as an idea on which to accumulate and stratify multiple experiences, thus enlarging the radius of its architectural reach.
A virtual recreation of the plan of Cedric Price’s Fun Palace on the floor of the Gallery allows a visitor to dynamically interact with the project’s main elements. Each movement taking place within the space of a not-visible outline of the building results in a musical performance, which is digitally mapped and eventually archived as part of the exhibition’s ongoing activities.
The video that complements these notes records the actions of two dancers, also showing a simple notational system conceived on the basis of the Fun Palace’s plan, identifying four kinds of programmatic spaces which, interpreted as “audio environments,” structure the musical score of a visitor’s performance.
This work embraces Fun Palace’s challenge to conventional notions of architecture through the use of technology, by demonstrating the impact of media apparatuses that were not available in Cedric Price’s time, as a way to bring forward his critique to the inadequacy of the conventional actions that bring a building into existence.