At DAI we are excited about our COOP partner Neringa Forest Architecture's participation in the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale: The Children’s Forest Pavilion is composed as a playscape and conceived to acknowledge the unique approaches of children to observe, draw conclusions, explain the forest, and demand agency in forming it. This project brings together works and findings developed in parallel to outdoor activities held with children in woodlands in Lithuania and Finland. Guided by environmental educators, activists, artists, architects, and foresters, they were introduced to think of forests as negotiated spaces where no single actor has a central stake. The Lithuanian Pavilion is curated by 2022-2023 COOP tutors Egija Inzule, Jurga Daubaraitė and Jonas Žukauskas and can be visited till November 26, 2023.
Located directly opposite the entrance to the Arsenale, the pavilion’s installation is both an architectural object and a conceptual structure, meandering through a Venetian patio house, and allowing different formats of discussion, interaction and play. It is made out of timber from trees on the Curonian Spit that have, over several years, been collected in an archive at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts as part of the project Neringa Forest Architecture. Combined with film installations, worktables and play structures, the architectural elements in the pavilion support the research and learning environment of the exhibition, which shows how the children that participated learned about ancient forests, primordial swamp landscapes and long processes of geological formations.
Through the outdoor activities, the children explored the forest at various levels of scale and perception, looking at the growth patterns of lichens, investigating chemical pollution molecules through augmented reality, and discovering sounds from reverberations of ancient and living timber, among other things. The exhibition includes an alphabet made of the branches of hundred-year-old mountain pines, a space with supersized shadows, as well as computer-generated spores and slime moulds in a myriad of shapes and forms, and invites visitors to play and learn about forests, as architectural and infrastructural spaces: environments of natural systems governed, exploited, and regulated by human interventions, technologies, industries, institutions and agencies, but also places of depleting biodiversity.
The Children’s Forest Pavilion is conceived as an educational tool with the potential to “branch off” and connect to other spatial and thematic elements. At the end of the Biennale Architettura 2023, it will return to the woodlands of the Curonian Spit where it will function as a destination for forest walks and environmental education workshops. The pavilion is organised by the Neringa Forest Architecture project that was initiated in 2020 to reflect on the agency of cultural practices and institutions in framing environmental relationships. The project has its starting point in Nida Art Colony, a subdivision of Vilnius Academy of Arts, located in the Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit. As a continuous programme, Neringa Forest Architecture involves a growing assembly of collaborations and participants to read the cultural landscape of the area from multiple perspectives and practices as a case study in the context of the forests of the region.
Contributors: Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Ancient Woods Foundation, Gabrielė Grigorjevaitė, Laura Garbštienė, Mustarinda Association (Tiina Arjukka Hirvonen, Michaela Casková, Robin Everett, Riitta (Nyyskä) Nykänen), Mantas Peteraitis, School of Creativity (Kristupas Sabolius), New Academy (Ikko Alaska, Nene Tsuboi, Tuomas Toivonen), Urbonas Studio (Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas), Kornelija Žalpytė / Curators: Egija Inzule, Jurga Daubaraitė, Jonas Žukauskas/ Commissioner: Ines Weizman / Architecture: Jonas Žukauskas in collaboration with Antanas Gerlikas, Jurgis Paškevičius, Anton Shramkov / Graphic design: Monika Janulevičiūtė / Video production and editing: Eitvydas Doškus, Elis Hannikainen, Ignė Narbutaitė / Lighting: Martynas Kazimierėnas / Organised by: Neringa Forest Architecture, Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts / Partner: Centre for Documentary Architecture / Supported by: Lithuanian Council for Culture, Neringa Municipality, Nordic Culture Point.
Neringa Forest Architecture at DAI: