September 10, 2018 10:38 am
During the pre-natal development stage, an infant is completely reliant on the umbilical cord, which provides support by supplying it with nutrients from the placenta. Once the cord is severed, what remains is the navel, a depression in the abdomen that marks where it was once attached to the newborn’s body. In Philippine National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s novel, The Woman Who Had Two Navels, the character Connie Escobar flies to Hong Kong to undergo surgery to remove her supposed second navel, an imagined condition that may have been brought upon by anxieties from her past. It is this inquiry into national identity that inspired “The City Who Had Two Navels,” the Philippine Pavilion’s curatorial concept for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition examines, probes, and even confronts how the built environment contributes to the development of our national identity, highlighting two “navels”—colonialism and neoliberalism—which, according to curator Edson Cabalfin, are forces that affect not only the Philippines, but the world at large as well.
September 10, 2018 10:29 am
“I’m arguing how, not only the Philippines, but also other countries in the world, are affected by these forces,” curator Edson Cabalfin explains. “I ask whether are there possibilities for us to be able to resist, or embrace them. We assembled a think tank consortium composed of four architecture schools based in Manila, Cebu and Dabau, and I challenged the students to come up with responses and future speculations for these cities. We also invited a women-led non-governmental organization made up of architects and planners (Tao-Pilipinas), who facilitate participatory design processes with informal settlers or victims of natural disasters. This organization maybe is the antithesis of neoliberalism because it’s about facilitating the architecture through the community.”
September 10, 2018 10:25 am
I’ve always thought of architecture as a very technical field or at least too technical for me. Although it is among the seven fields of arts, I regard it as very scientific, drawn from a very particular set of skills that have more to do with applied and industrial sciences than with art.
September 10, 2018 10:23 am
On the morning of May 31st (Venice time), the Philippines unveiled ‘The City Who Had Two Navels’ – our entry to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 held at the Arsenale. It comprised of a huge multi-channel digital installation and exhibits showing vignettes of the country’s colonial past and neoliberal present urban landscape.
September 10, 2018 10:16 am
Venice, Italy (CNN Philippines Life) — Artist Yason Banal admits he questions the idea of “Freespace” — the theme of this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale — itself. Banal, whose work is at the center of the Philippine Pavilion’s “The City Who Had Two Navels,” doesn’t hesitate to question the institution that has given him a chance to showcase his work here; for him, it is a criticality needed when working within a venue as large as the biennale.
September 10, 2018 10:12 am
Humanity, humility and, at some point, humiliation are portrayed hand in hand as the Philippine Pavilion at the ongoing Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy presents the talent that is genuinely Filipino. In the process of exhibition, several truths, perceived and projected, are unraveled. Some truths are meant to comfort. Others are designed to challenge the heart, the mind. Such is the intricacy and depth of the Philippines’ architecture pavilion in the oldest art platform in the world. (The first Venice Biennale was held in 1895.)
September 10, 2018 10:07 am
The Architecture Biennale is a different beast,” says Senator Loren Legarda when asked whether she prefers the Art or the Architecture Biennale. At the epicenter of Venice Biennale, the world’s ‘art olympics,’ the senator sits calm, even throws a joke or two, a day after the official opening of the Philippine Pavilion. The senator has been the instigator of the country’s participation at the Venice Biennale and has led the efforts to sustain it since our return in 2015.
September 10, 2018 10:02 am
Edson Cabalfin, curator of the Philippine pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, relishes his journey as an architect and educator. His eyes glint as we talk about the ideas underpinning the way we design. His smile broadens when we ask if mentoring his student collaborators, comparable to running four thesis studios on different islands in the country, was arduous.
September 10, 2018 9:47 am
In the months leading to this day, you have seen snippets of the Philippine pavilion for the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018 being put together. What began as an open call for proposals in June 2017 is now on view at the world’s foremost stage for architecture.
September 10, 2018 9:11 am
VENICE—Proud of the world-class talent of its artists and the rich conflicted narrative of its long history under colonial rule, the Philippines on Thursday made its mark in the Venice Architectural Biennale 2018 with a remarkable interpretation of how architecture is able to give “Freespace” to humanity.