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French Pavilion in Venice by Dominique Perrault Explores the Metropolis
French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, curated by Dominique Perrault. © Francesca Avanzinelli.
VENICE.- Obviously, unceasing transformation of urban territories has considerably altered the perception and the reality of the city envisaged as a unified urban entity of defined space and built form. The new, increasingly complex, disjointed, splintered and polluted urban territories we see today are a succession of solids and voids. The metropolis, in contrast to the city considered as a single physical mass, is precisely what the city has rejected, expelled outside of and beyond itself. With the “METROPOLIS ?” exhibition architect and urbanist Dominique Perrault, chief curator and producer of the French Pavilion, explores this concept of VOID envisaged as a material for protecting, restructuring and building the metropolis. Out of the dialectic between the solid and the void an alternation emerges, less decisive than it appears, given how obviously voids unite as much as they separate. The aim and the ambition of “METROPOLIS ?” are to take up the challenge of that which ties together and no longer that which unties; to change the economic, social and emotional understanding of the void in a seizing, a positive, prospective and jubilatory perception and appropriation; to demonstrate that the void is indeed the most “lived in space” and to propose a reading that founds, articulates and nourishes the genesis of the metropolis of the 21st century.

To illustrate his ideas, Dominique Perrault has invited five major actors on the French scene: the metropolises of Bordeaux (Housing, Tidal Docks, Transportation…), Lyon (Lyon Confluences and district of La Part Dieu…), Marseille (Metropolis in motion, Parallel routes, Coastal scenary…), and Nantes (Territory, Nantes Saint-Nazaire Estuary, Ile-de-Nantes, EuroNantes, the Ile-de-Nantes, planning and development of the estuary from Nantes to Saint-Nazaire…), as well as the Atelier International du Grand Paris. Five experiments, five ways of linking solids and voids, five proposals for a definition of the metropolis no longer conceived of as a physical mass but rather as a territory. Five examples, treated through films and projected texts, designed in a highly cinematographic way, a sort of installation in which the screens and mirrors, in an unceasing dialog, create a striking multiplying effect of images, enhanced by background sounds comprised of metropolitan noises. It is an immersion in the image, in images and sounds, a sensory experience enabling one to feel, to sense, to grasp the full scope of the a metropolis as idea, to imagine it and contemplate its essential prospective and strategic dimension.

Dominique Perrault | French Pavilion | The Metropolis |

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