Curators: Hugo Mondragón and Sebastián Irarrázaval
Shelters are emergency places that people turn to in times of natural disaster. They are places that offer the most essential relief, places that people resort to when in search of protection. Inside the shelter, the emergency landscape unfolds, with piles of mattresses and blankets, security cones and barriers, flashlights and bottles of water.
The different forms of expressing this essential relief is the central theme that governed the selection of the projects included in this exhibition. It was our decision to focus a central part of this show on expressions of Chilean cultural patrimony that refer to the essential.
The poetic expression of these emergency landscapes has also oriented the construction of the Chilean pavilion. To achieve this, we chose to overturn the conventional relationships of the elements that comprise it: mattresses positioned vertically become screens for projecting images; security cones and water bottles, cut up and then reassembled, become lamps; emergency tape and water bottles become tensors and counterweights. Once this mechanism was set in motion, we provocatively introduced certain conventionally used forms: a massive bed with mattresses placed in the center of the pavilion, and a window display with large water drums and dispensers at the far end of the pavilion, promising visitors a bit of rest and relief.
We are interested in the shelter’s literal and symbolic nudity, the way it facilitates a return to essential forms of individual and collective habitation, the social and material ingenuity it promotes, its poverty and material precariousness, but most of all we are interested in the shelter as a place where people dream of new beginnings.
For the exhibition, we selected architectural works, visual pieces and technological innovations that experimented with the concept of the essential and the ingenious in precarious contexts. On the other hand, and in keeping with the project mechanism put into action through the formalization of the pavilion, we also decided to select projects that exhibited a certain degree of disruption to some element of the cultural or material patrimony of Chile.
To this end the show is comprised of projects, visual pieces and technological innovations that don’t espouse any rhetoric, that evade canonical languages and procedures, and that in fact explore with experimental languages, culturally rooted in Chile’s cities and landscapes.
SZ Invitational: Gimme Shelter!, Chile Pavilion, Sebastián Irrázaval + Hugo Mondragón, curators