The centerpiece of the Philippine participation in this year’s 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is a video installation mounted in the Artiglierie, Arsenale. It presents a dynamic between irregular changes of the country’s past and the challenges of constructing contemporary subjectivity. The work is titled “The City Who Had Two Navels,” inspired and referencing the novel of Filipino National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels.
Commissioner of the Philippine Pavilion Virgilio S. Almario, who also sits as National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chairman and is himself a Filipino National Artist for Literature says, “The Philippine Pavilion places a spotlight on the discussion of how our cities have transformed, an important global conversation seeing how more than 50 percent of the world’s population live in urban settlements.”
He explains, “It is relevant because if we can make sense of our cities and how they are shaped by our past, as well as by neoliberal agendas, then learning about the presence of these invisible forces empower us to make better choices for the future of the cities and the people who occupy them.”
GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT
This year’s Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara called the international cultural gathering Freespace to describe “a