Venice 2016 – Visitors walking through the Arsenale at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale will bump into the unexpected Losing My Self installation at the Irish Pavilion. A set of cameras mounted on four-legged brass stands project looping videos of hands tracing architectural sketches over and over. Above this visual carpet, microphones hanging from the ceiling diffuse confused familiar sounds like voices and traditional Irish songs.
The exhibition explores how architects together with psychologists, anthropologists and doctors can ease the life of people with Alzheimer disease. Losing Myself is a collaboration between Níall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou and continues also online with an open platform for all the people dealing with Alzheimer, from the patients to their families and the medical staff, but it also features advices from people with dementia as well.
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It all started with the Alzheimer’s Respite Centre in Dublin by Niall McLaughlin Architects. “This disease affects memory, cognition and our ability to place ourselves in space and time. It becomes progressively harder to situate yourself and to navigate your way in the world: two capacities central to the experience of architecture” explains Niall McLaughlin.
The studio created a building composed by repetitive rooms and looping garden paths that allow patient to wonder without feeling disorientate or confused. By talking to the staff, the families and the patients, the studio find out that light had a key role in promoting sociable interaction and a sense of security.
The installation in Venice refers to an online ongoing research at www.losingmyself.ie. The platform hosts interdisciplinary conversations with experts across a range of fields – neuroscientists, psychologists, health workers, philosophers and anthropologists – as well as people with dementia and their families.
“It allows us to collate stories of personal interactions with dementia, and is of interest to architects, scientists and those dealing with dementia day to day” say Níall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou.
“www.losingmyself.ie is also a record of the process of developing our central Venice installation: drawing and making in collaboration with others. The design of the website itself incorporates creative advice from people with dementia”.
Photos: courtesy of the Irish Pavilion.