That’s where we draw the line
In 2021, the European Cultural Centre (ECC) had the great pleasure to present in Palazzo Bembo the project “That’s where we draw the line”, a site-specific installation created by the Norwegian studio Arkitektværelset.
The project by Arkitektværelset consisted of a bright-coloured rotating steel frame, inside which elegant strings made of metal beads created a sort of silvery curtain. A beautiful installation at first sight but with so much more underneath it.
Back at the beginning, when the ECC started its communication with Grethe Løland – the founding manager of the studio – and talked about creating a presentation for Venice, it was clear that her intention was to focus on the perception of our personal space, not only in relationship with the public space but also with other individuals.
Photo credits: Federico Vespignani
For the ECC, it was very interesting and inspiring to see how her initial thoughts developed, unfolded, and eventually, changed as the whole world faced the global Corona crisis. Abruptly, the concept of personal space was subverted for all of us, when our lives moved from the outside to the inside, and all the normal activities were temporarily moved to our private space: our homes. The distinction between the public and the private suddenly became more subtle, as one dimension blended within the other. Our living rooms became our offices, our kitchens became our restaurants, our gardens became our parks. Our private dimension imploded and at the same time, it was often constantly exposed.
Palazzo Bembo August 28, 2021. Photo credits: Matteo Losurdo
The final result of the Arkitektværelset installation was a representation of this new undermined balance, of this line between the private and the public becoming thinner and thinner. The fact that the installation invited visitors to interact with it has been crucial to a better understanding of the concept behind it. By moving the frame, visitors had the chance to move their own space, to broaden it while pushing against the space of the others present in the same room, who had to move to adjust to the new dimensions of the available space. Many visitors decided to break through the frame altogether, and walk through the curtain, a somehow more violent gesture. This approach was not tried by many but it was the one raising the highest consciousness towards the true meaning of Arkitektværelset’s installation. At the end of the day, the best way to understand a concept is to literally walk through it.
Find out about Grethe Løland’s project in this short interview below:
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Words by Suzanne van der Borg, ECC Team