Architecture – Curated by Olga Subirós and presented by the Institut Ramon Llull, AIR ARIA AIRE, the immersive exhibition at Catalonia in Venice Collateral Event at the Biennale Architettura 2021 highlights the role of architecture and urbanism within the context of two interconnected global crises: the climate emergency and the public health crisis.
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Visitors enter a dark space and are invited to walk through a narrow bright corridor where they can discover how the air quality of different areas of Barcelona impacts the way residents breathe. On the walls, light and dark grey discs that absorbed air in several Barcelona neighborhoods show different levels of pollution. At the same time, a sound installation of residents’ breaths plunges visitors into a multi-sensorial experience.
Visitors can then explore dynamic cartographic evidence developed by Studio 300,000Km/s, which is specialised in the analysis of urban data for new urban challenges. On show are the results of a project to create new cartographies of Barcelona and Catalonia, based on an examination of architectural, urbanistic, atmospheric and health data.
The exhibition is completed by AIR, a polyphonic aria about the air as a common good, composed by Maria Arnal and John Talabot. AIR ARIA AIRE is composed and timed in order to synchronise with the multi-projector visuals on-air mapping. Music and moving images create an immersive, multisensory choreography.
Barcelona, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, becomes a case of study to show how the application of digital technologies to analyse big data can become an invaluable tool to foster citizen empowerment and to guide architects in the design of more sustainable, healthy and just cities.
“Aire revisions of the concept of smart cities in which the use of technology is not the solution, but rather a tool to constantly renovate the social pact.” Exlpains Olga Subirós. The research is also particularly relevant within the context of the COVID-19 health crisis. Numerous studies have pointed to air pollution as a contributing factor towards the higher rate of COVID-19 cases in urban areas.
“This makes the right to breathe clean air critical as epidemics have always been an opportunity to accelerate the introduction of urban planning measures aimed at improving health in cities. This new public health crisis, along with critical levels of air pollution and the climate emergency, emphasises the need to adopt sustainable, healthy urban planning measures supported by an interdisciplinary, collaborative, participative model that incorporates data.”
Photos by KNECHTEL – Courtesy of Catalonia in Venice.
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