The Republic of Seychelles will bring their first contribution to the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (28 May-27 November 2016), with an exhibition titled “Between Two Waters, Searching for Expression in the Seychelles”.
Located in Palazzo Michiel and facing the Grand Canal, the Pavilion of the Seychelles transports visitors to the 115-island archipelago—the least populated nation in Africa. Uninhabited for most of recorded history, the Seychelles searches for identity amidst its breathtaking coastlines and rich cultural heritage. Curated by Andres F. Ramirez, the pavilion opens a window to the clashing paradigms faced by architects in the paradise islands, inviting visitors to confront an architecture of everyday life. Looking beyond the extravagant vacation economy and environmental catastrophism that dominate popular perceptions of the islands, longtime Seychellois firm ADD.locus. gives architectural voice to the local context. A video narrates an ongoing negotiation between fantasy and reality, represented by two waters—the rain and sea. A partially constructed shelter incorporates symbolic elements of vernacular architecture and features messages from hundreds of Seychellois residents and visitors, spanning generational and ethnic boundaries. From beneath a corrugated roof, visitors can observe in moving images the polarized contradictions of lifestyles that find shelter in Seychelles today. The result is a hybrid of cultures and a charming architectural bricolage. The exhibition is an immersive introduction to the early architectural journey of the Seychelles. The diverse voices, images, and forms on the island appear casual and in-flux, revealing an architecture that is continuously remade in the ebb and flow of conversations between people, history, and the waters that surround them.
Exhibitors: Alex Ellenberger, Makoto Saito, Shuchita Bihani
- ICH Headquarters Providence, Mahe, Seychelles 2000