Austrian Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale 2012

Hands have no tears to flow. Reports from / without architecture is the title of Austria’s contribution to this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. Commissioned by Arno Ritter, the Austrian architect Wolfgang Tschappeller has developed an exhibition that aims to shift the perception of buildings and concentrates on the people who live in them. The installation, realized by Rens Veltman and Martin Perktorld, doesn’t show buildings, but digitally animated bodies that are projected onto the walls of the Austrian pavilion.

Architect Wolfgang Tschappeller was born in Dölsach / East Tyrol in 1956. Following training as a carpenter, Tschappeller studied at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Since 2012, he is head of the Department of Art and Architecture of the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Major projects include the European Cultural Center in Aachen (Germany), and the Science Center in Belgrade (Serbia).

Venice Architecture Biennale 2012: Common Ground. 13th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Hands have no tears to flow. Reports from / without architecture: Austrian Pavilion at the Giardini, August 29, 2012.

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From the press release:

The installation shifts the perception of buildings and concentrates on those who live in them. No buildings are to be seen, but rather figures, digital figures or digitally animated body surfaces.

Taken as the starting point of the project was the accelerated technological development in the past decades and the associated scientific insights, especially in the “processing” and “forming” of the human body by medicine and in the natural sciences. As the “object” of research, the body and the so-called mind indeed entailed that scientific progress shaping our everyday lives which is, in reality, uncircumventable from a knowledge theory perspective, but leaves fundamental questions about the future of humanness open. The exhibition raises issues of the possible impacts of these developments on architectonic thinking and the production of space.

The projection shows an interplay of animated, digital figures and thus a social physics. If we continue writing the current technological and scientific developments in the context of the body as we have until now, the questions arises as to which role architecture will play under these preconditions. Will architecture and the handling of our bodies change to such an extent that both areas enter into symbiotic relationships and thus abandon or swap their traditional roles? Must one think of architecture in a more corporeal manner, like a “living” organism, or will our bodies be increasingly treated architectonically and technically so that spatial production will acquire a different meaning? Since the body is increasingly becoming a phenomenon of territorial and technological thinking, the human an eerie being, familiar and yet so foreign.

“Right from the beginning it was our intention to extend the Austrian contribution right to the limits of architectural discussion and to explore the topic of architectural exhibition,” said Commissioner Arno Ritter.

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