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15th Venice Architecture Biennale | Pavilion of Ireland

Place: Venice, Country: Italy
Curator: Yeoryia Manolopoulou
Commissioners: Niall MacLaughlin Architects
Text by Riccardo Bianchini
Photo credits: see bylines

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Pavilion of Ireland, Losing myself, installation view, photo © Inexhibit, 2016

Losing Myself – Ireland Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale

The Pavilion of Ireland at the Arsenale features an immersive installation which presents the experience gathered by Niall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou when designing the Alzheimer’s Respite Centre in Dublin.

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Yeoryia Manolopoulou and Niall McLaughlin Architects, portraits

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Alzheimer’s Respite Centre, Dublin: View of the Quiet Room Over the Brick Wall © Nick Kane, 2011

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Drawing of the Alzheimer’s Respite Centre © Níall McLaughlin Architects, 2010

Alzheimer’s is a form of neurodegenerative disease which damage brain’s synaptic connections, leading to progressively-worsening spatial disorientation and loss of short-term memory.

The installation at the Biennale, part of a larger project entitled Losing myself, consists of audio recordings and video-projections of the plan of the center. Yet, such plan is well far from usual, and intentionally incoherent.

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Losing myself, installation view, photo © Inexhibit, 2016

Indeed, the architects have tried to understand how people with dementia actually perceive the building they stay in.
Since those persons have a perception spatially limited to their immediate surroundings and temporally restricted to the present, their experience of a building is not unitary, it is fragmented and confused.
While architects try to create buildings based on organized relationships between spaces and on a coherent scheme, people with dementia “can no longer synthesize their experience to create a stable model of their environment. This produces a fragmentary world”. (from the curators’ presentation)

Furthermore, people with Alzheimer’s still retain much of their deep memory, consequently they fill such “voids” in their reconstruction of the environment with images from other places and times, thus creating a kaleidoscopic impression of what for the architects should have been an orderly whole.

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Losing myself, installation view, photo © Inexhibit, 2016

To redraw such kind of fragmented experience by the inhabitants of the center, Niall McLaughlin Architects and Yeoryia Manolopoulou created a mosaic of 16 video-projections, each reproducing the vision of the plan of their building as seen by one among 16 inhabitants suffering from dementia. Inevitably, the installation questions the idea of architecture, and of its representation, as the logical outcome of a coherent and deterministic conceptual process.

 

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Polyphony (Video Still), 2016

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Drawing Layers © Yeoryia Manolopoulou and Níall McLaughlin, 2016

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Losing myself, installation views, photo © Inexhibit, 2016

Losing Myself is a collaboration between Niall McLaughlin Architects and Yeoryia Manolopoulou of AY Architects


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Arsenale of Venice
Venice Arsenale Cordioli

The Venice Arsenale medieval dockyard complex is one of the venues of the Venice Biennale, It accommodates core exhibitions and several national pavilions


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Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 – Reporting from the Front – INDEX

Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 – Reporting from the Front – INDEX

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