Willson Center director presents at Venice Biennale

Architecture Biennale IrelandNicholas Allen, Baldwin Professor in Humanities and director of the Willson Center, is a guest presenter at the opening of the National Pavilion of Ireland in the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale on May 19.

Allen wrote a catalog essay for the Irish Pavilion exhibition, entitled In Search of Hy-Brasil and curated by architects Peter Cody, Peter Carroll, Mary Laheen, Joseph Mackey and Elizabeth Hatz. From the exhibition’s press materials:

Responding to the theme, The Laboratory of the Future – selected by Lesley Lokko, curator of the Biennale Architettura 2023 – the exhibition will present fieldwork from Ireland’s remote islands, investigating their diverse cultures, communities, and experiences…

In Ireland, myth, language and landscape remain intrinsically linked. The Irish language preserves the deep resonances that exists between humankind and the natural world. Hy-Brasil is a mythical Atlantic island that embodies the possibility for the re-imagination of the island of Ireland and its ocean territory.

The curators have studied the island landscapes of Inis Meá in (Inishmaan), UNESCO World Heritage site Sceilg Mhicíl (Skellig Michael) and Cliara (Clare Island) through drawing, survey, film, sound, model, mapping, and story. The installation will offer an immersive experience that draws connections between the social fabric, cultural landscape and ecology of these islands, shifting between the global and the local, the territorial and the intimate.

To raise awareness of the islanders’ management of resources and their balancing of the delicate equilibrium between culture and nature, the installation will have a focus on renewable energy, ethical food production, and biodiversity, capturing the islands’ sustainable methods of livelihood through drawing, models, film, sound, writing, and language.

Ireland is one of 64 national participants in the Architecture Biennale, part of La Biennale di Venezia, which since 1895 has presented international exhibitions and festivals that now include Art, Music, Cinema, Theatre, Architecture, and Dance.