In occasion of the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, the Dutch Pavilion meditates on spatial arrangements and modes of living that involve the human body as engendered by disruptive changes and by the impact of physical labor. The project seeks to foster new modes of creativity and responsibility within the architectural field in response to emerging technologies of automation.
Titled Work, Body, Leisure the pavilion has been curated by Marina Otero Verzier, director of research at Het Nieuwe Instituut, who aimed to present how humanity is transformed in an age when robots are on the verge to take over many jobs traditionally carried out by humans. The themes Work and Body are explored in a space built as a locker room in the national color of Netherlands orange, which metaphorically stands for a place where people’s bodies are changed and prepared for physical activity like in a gym or sports arena. Visitors are invited to open up the lockers to discover a universe that interface between the present moment and other different architectures, entirely compartmentalized. Each locker introduces a series of alternative locations in which human bodies are categorized and transformed, in the lieu of an office, playground, farm, factories and virtual spaces, windows, beds and doors. Operating beyond disciplinary boundaries, each space evolves in a complex sense of liberated constraint. As for the concept of Leisure the Dutch architect and artist Constant Nieuwenhuys created an architectural paradigm of free space and leisure afforded by automation in New Babylon (1956–74). Nieuwenhuys envisioned a society that devotes its energy to creativity and play, where individuals can design their own environments.