The 18th Venice Architecture Biennale

The 18th International Architecture Exhibition, “The Laboratory of the Future”, curated by Lesley Lokko and organised by La Biennale di Venezia, takes place from Saturday May 20 to Sunday November 26, 2023 at the Giardini and the Arsenale, and at Forte Marghera.

The Laboratory of the Future is curated by academic, educator and novelist Lesley Lokko, who is the founder of the African Futures Institute and the Graduate School of Architecture in Johannesburg. She has taught in the UK, the US, Europe, Australia and Africa, and is the recipient of a number of awards for her contributions to architectural education. The Laboratory of the Future is divided into six parts. There are 89 Participants, over half of which are from Africa or the African Diaspora. The gender balance is proportionate, and the average age of all Participants is 43. At the Arsenale, the 37 practitioners in the “Dangerous Liaisons” section (also represented in Forte Marghera in Mestre), all work across disciplinary and geographical boundaries, exploring new forms of collaboration.

New additions to features of the Architecture Exhibition, include the Curator’s Special Projects and Special Participants, where the Curator and her Curator’s Assistants have worked in close alliance to produce work in specific categories to complement the Exhibition. Three of these categories are MnemonicFoodAgriculture and Climate Change; and Geography and Gender.

In Guests from the Future, young practitioners from Africa and the Diaspora present their work throughout both venues and directly engage with the twin themes of this exhibition, Decolonisation and Decarbonisation. Another new entry this year is “Carnival”, a six-month-long cycle (May – November 2023) of events, lectures, panel discussions, films, and performances, exploring the themes of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition.

This year there are 64 National Participations, 27 will organise their exhibitions in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, 22 at the Arsenale and 14 in various locations in the city centre of Venice. Niger participates for the first time on the island of San Servolo and Panama for the first time with its own pavilion. 9 Collateral Events are scheduled for the 18th International Architecture Exhibition.

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