Behind the scenes

The Luxembourg Pavilion as part of new international networks

The Luxembourg Pavilion 2021, represented by Andrea Rumpf, director of LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture, is part of two new collaborative initiatives that were created in 2020 by curators and commissioners of national pavilions to support each other in this difficult period.

It is thanks to the exchanges and the support within these two new networks that the challenging last year since the reporting of the Biennale turned into an enriching experience. It is by joining heads, hands, and hearts in these collective initiatives that today there is a Biennale Pavilions family. It will persist after this edition and is open to embrace new members.

Curators Collective

The Curators Collective (CC) is a coalition of National Pavilion Curators participating in the 17th Venice Biennale Architettura. On the 23rd May 2020, curators from across the globe gathered for the first CC meeting and confirmed their shared interest in turning the Biennale’s postponement into an opportunity to express greater solidarity. In keeping with this initial spirit of privileging open-ended process over product, the CC meetings have evolved into an ongoing dialogue and exploration of collaborative possibilities for the 2021 Biennale and beyond.

Since that initial dialogue in May 2020, the CC has met regularly as a body of  48 countries, along with the Biennale’s chief curator, Hashim Sarkis. The shared goal is to investigate new avenues for fulfilling the Biennale’s potential as a platform for synergistic and accessible collaboration more suited to the challenges we all face in the age of Covid-19 and beyond. With the support from the ASAC, The Historical Archives of Contemporary Arts of La Biennale di Venezia, CC hopes to sustain a long lasting platform for future editions to come. We believe it opens up a space for engagement between Curators and Commissioners of Participating Countries.

The initiative for this event portal was started by six National Pavilions* who belong to the Commissioner Group – a self-organised group of around 25 countries who are participating in this year’s Biennale Architettura, and who have been meeting regularly since the summer of 2020, supporting each other and exchanging ideas and issues. The feeling of solidarity in this group of commissioners has been heart-warming and inspirational for getting through these difficult times of the pandemic.

This year, more than ever, the biennale has become a hybrid event due to the global pandemic – the new reality it has created has accelerated the use of digital tools and empowered the participating National Pavilions to create new ways of engaging with their audiences. Most countries are opting for online or hybrid opening events during the biennale opening week in May and will continue to disseminate their talks, seminars and other events online over the summer and in autumn.

The idea for a common digital platform grew out of the need to reach our audiences in times when restrictions are imposed on travel and public gatherings, and to provide biennale visitors with an opportunity to benefit no matter where they are physically. It creates a new layer of value for the visitors and for the pavilions themselves in addition to the physical events and exhibitions in Venice.

‍*Estonia (Estonian Centre for Architecture), Finland (Archinfo Finland), Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (LUCA Luxembourg Center for Architecture), Great Britain (British Council), Lithuania (Rupert), Switzerland (Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia).