Home

For the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, The Philippine Pavilion presents “The City Who Had Two Navels” curated by Edson Cabalfin.

The exhibition, inspired by landmark Filipino National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin’s novel The Woman Who Had Two Navels, confronts the tension between the vicissitudes of the past and the challenges of constructing contemporary subjectivity.

Curatorial Concept

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.

Continue reading “Curatorial Concept”

Profiles

Curator Edson Cabalfin invited future architects, planners, artists, and designers to respond to the two “navels” in the exhibition. Get to know more about the curator and participants.

Works

To reconsider the paired forces of colonialism and neoliberalism as shapers of Philippine cities, a think-tank consortium was assembled specifically for the Philippine Pavilion. Filipino artist Yason Banal, four Philippine architecture schools, and a non-governmental organization were invited to form part of this consortium and tasked to respond to the themes of the exhibit.

The projects of the think-tank consortium embody an optimistic attitude towards responding to the possibilities and humanity of the Philippine cities.

Photo Essay

The photo-essay by Marvin Maning and Jinggo Montenejo in this catalogue and in the exhibit offers a view of the everyday urbanisms that show the similarities and distinctiveness of three metropolitan cities in the Philippines. In these photographs, Maning and Montenejo documented the simultaneous effect of neoliberalism as a homogenizing and diversifying force.