You are showing an installation in the Arsenale this year- have you been involved in other Venice Biennale festivals before? If so in what capacity?
In 2008 we have two installations: one at the Arsenale (Astroballon ’69 Revisited – Feed Back Space), and the other one in the Italian Pavilion (Brain City Lab).
Wolf D. Prix / COOP HIMMELB(L)AU have been frequent guests in Venice, both for the Art and the Architecture Biennale since the mid 1990’s: In 1995 we remodelled the Austrian Pavilion for the Art Biennale and designed the adaption of a glass façade from the artist Eva Schlegl for the following event in 1997.
A year later we were invited as Austrian representatives by the commissioner Hans Hollein for the Austrian Pavilion at the Architecture Exhibition. In 2000 we presented our Havana Project at the Arsenale . We showed our project BMW Welt (Arsenale) and a design for the new World Trade Center (Italian Pavilion) in 2002 followed by a participation with our projects Musée des Confluences and World Trade Center (Italian Pavilion) two years later. And I myself have been the commissioner for the Austrian Pavilion in 2006.
What for you was the highlight event/ dinner/talk of your trip this year and why?
The Dinner for Frank Gehry on the occasion of his Golden Lion award at the Guggenheim Foundation.
How important do you feel the biennale is as a place of encounter and discussion for people in your profession? Does this function balance the attraction of the event itself for you or is it not so important?
I think the biennale as exhibition, or better said, as the event it has become has come to a limit, content-wise but also regarding its size.
Knowing that the Biennale has become the most high priced and vain architecture event I always intend to stay away. Nevertheless I end up complying with the invitation.
This year’s theme is quite interesting since it can be understood from two sides: Positively as opportunity to focus on the meta-level of Architecture, namely thinking. Negatively as one could believe that buildings lost their meaning for architecture – which is utterly wrong.