The City Who Had Two Navels
Inspired by Filipino National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s novel, “The Woman Who Had Two Navels”, published in 1961, the Philippine Pavilion for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale confronts the tension between the vicissitudes of the past and the challenges of constructing contemporary subjectivity. The pavilion explores this relationship between the past and the future by focusing on the built environment as expression of self-determination and as setting for global and transnational revolution. Following the call for examining an idea of “Freespace” by the Biennale curators, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, the Philippine Pavilion seeks to interrogate architecture and urbanism’s ability to empower and transform people’s lives. “Freespace” or “Pookginhawa” in the Philippine context, underscores the strategies by which Filipinos use the built environment as modes of resistance to and appropriation of an ever-changing world.
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