Photo above: Graduation day at Futurity Island, The Swamp Summer School, Venice Architecture Biennial 2018.
In a time marked by radical instability and threats of total war and environmental collapse, the Swamp School interrogates the idea of free space by illuminating the vital urgency of human cohabitation with other forms of life. The swamp gives an opportunity to test the idea of sympoiesis — making and becoming together in order to find a new ethos of coexistence, a direction that stems from the act of recognising the poetical and political power of the ecologies surrounding us. The swamp is conceived as a perfect milieu to learn, design, and resist with other species, forces, and ecosystems that have been silenced and downgraded by the forces of anthropocentric hegemony.
By plugging the swamp into the existing architectural envelope of Il Giardino Bianco Art Space, the School becomes an altered sensorial organism that acts far beyond exclusive human control. It transforms into free space for unexpected encounters of architectural and artistic practice, adapting design and pedagogical experimentation to the conditions of uncertainty and ecosystemic decay. Being a project of imagination and nonmaterial architecture, the Swamp School is conceived as an open work, a continuous, unfinished, and networked process, freely unfolding in space and time. It is both produced and performed by overlapping tools and geographies: a lecture series; global expeditions of slimy cultures; the Manual that functions as a script for workshops of the Swamp School, where more than 100 international architects, artists, scientists, philosophers, and anthropologists will gather to perform possible variations of the Pavilion’s configurations; all building toward publication of the book Swamps and the New Imagination.