Fertile Futures at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale

Curated by Andreia Garcia and co-curated by Ana Neiva and Diogo Aguiar, Fertile Futures is the theme of the Portuguese proposal for the Official Portuguese Representation of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2023, organized and curated by the Directorate-General of the Arts.

Based on a broader reflection proposed by Lesley Lokko, curator-chief of this edition, the Biennial will feature as its motto The Laboratory of the Future, an idea that reports to Architecture’s experimental, dialogic and collaborative foundational drive.

Based on this elementary principle and responding to this call, the Portuguese Representation focuses on water resources and the management, reserve and transformation of the so-called hydro-geographies, whilst being a result-process that investigates administration practices and policies, and problematizes the way the territory, rivers and basins have been looked at, after a collective awareness of the impacts of the Anthropocene on local and global geographies.

Here, Architecture is responsible for mediating conflicts, debates and projects, specifically through the voice and work of several specialists who should focus on seven case studies: the impact of the Gigabattery in the Tâmega basin (Space Transcribers + Álvaro Domingues); the non-compliance with the Douro Internacional’s convention (Dulcineia Santos Studio + João Pedro Matos Fernandes); mining in Médio Tejo (Guida Marques + Érica Castanheira); the imposition of interests in the Alqueva reservoir (Oficina Pedrêz + Aurora Carapinha); the anarchy in the Mira River irrigation perimeter (Corpo Atelier + Eglantina Monteiro); the overloading of the lakes in Lagoa das Sete Cidades (Ilhéu Atelier + João Mora Porteiro) and the risk of flooding in the riversides of Madeira (Ponto Atelier + Ana Salgueiro Rodrigues).

The first moment of Fertile Futures takes place on the next 28th and 29th of January, at Palácio Sinel de Cordes, in Lisbon, with the invitation of 16 national and international speakers for the Assemblies of Thought – an opportunity for public engagement, pedagogy, political debate and awareness-raising, taking place in five phases and five different locations: Lisbon, Venice, Braga, Faro and Porto Santo.

On Saturday (from 10:20 am to 1:30 pm and from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm) and Sunday (from 10:20 am to 1:30 pm), a list of architects, geographers and thinkers are expected: Álvaro Domingues, Ana Salgueiro Rodrigues, Ana Tostões, Andres Lepik, Aurora Carapinha, Eglantina Monteiro, Érica Castanheira, Francisco Ferreira, João Mora Porteiro, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Luca Astorri, Margarida Waco, Marina Otero, Patti Anahory, Pedro Gadanho and Pedro Ignacio Alonso.

Umbigo is a partner in this collaborative and horizontal construction and is already preparing its contribution to this debate in one of the 2023 editions, hoping to broaden the spectrum of action, reflection and critical intervention that art and architecture can have.

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