Reporting from which front? Aravena’s sexist opening panel

13322125_1130571540317411_7827721278342027408_n ‘Meetings on Architecture’ gathered architects to discuss ‘Infrastructure’ at the opening of the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice.  A very prestigious panel indeed, but an all male panel. Not even your usual quota woman was invited.  And  there are really no excuse because Keller Easterling was in town and lectured next door. It is so bitter sweet that a biennial which curator claims to be political falls flat on its face and just reveal its true nature .

That the opening is celebrated by an all male panel, and one of established males reveal how little does the curatorial team cares for real issues and where the real front is. That there are no women, no  people of color, no youth on this panel unveils the true colors of the call. One claims to be radical but is conservative, claims to be provocative but is reactionary, claims moral righteousness but is corporate, and claims to be social but is really financed by corporations. While some pavilions report from the real front (Germany with refugees crisis, Egypt with informal housing, etc…), could it be that the curatorial team of the Biennial itself is blind to what are the issues architecture is confronted with?

Architecture is not divorced from its context, and the fact that gender and race are matters disregarded by the curator of the 15th Architecture Biennal -or whoever  put that panel together- only shows how little they understand of the challenges of our world, and more importantly, how little they care.

Usually, we at Die Architektin, do a body count of the male/female ratio of curators of the Pavilions to establish the usual score of parity at this important event. Simply by starting by an all male panel, Aravana just showed that again, architecture is a sexist profession. Reporting from which front? Not the front where the real battles happen…



On Facebook, comments on the event have flourished.

Wouter Vantishoup wrote:  ” Unbelievable indeed. The most politically ambitious Biennale ever has an all male panel; the usual bunch of mansplainers. With allowing this to happen the director symbolically excludes gender issues and female rights from the urban ‘front’ that he is reporting from. Oh and spare us the excuses, apologies, rationalisations: those have all been heard before. Please just change it, no words but deeds, as the suffragettes said, on what was a real front.”

Another person added a video link to this talk given by Aravena at the Holcim Forum.