Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation
Atelier Aziz Alqatami
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings
S H U Í (Jon Wang & Sean Roland)
Lili Reynaud Dewar
Pascal Cribier & Louis Benech
Studio Odile Decq
Pol Esteve & Marc Navarro
PRESS RELEASE: (click here to download)
Cruising usually describes the quest for sexual encounters between homosexual men in public spaces, but it cannot be reduced to neither men nor homos. This sexual practice generally takes place in public sites like parks, toilets, and parking lots, or in dedicated establishments like bathhouses and sex clubs.
From the 19th century Vauxhall pleasure gardens in London to the 80’s Mineshaft BDSM club in New York, the Cruising Pavilion looks at the conflictual architecture of cruising. Somewhere between anti-architecture and vernacular, the spatial and aesthetic logic of cruising is inseparable from the one of the proper metropolis. Cruising is the illegitimate child of hygienist morality. Relegated to the realm of depravity, it feeds off its most structuring disciplinary features. In the bathrooms built for cleanliness and the parks made for peacefulness, the modern city is cruised , dismantled and made into a drag of itself. The dungeon becomes playful, the labyrinth protective, and the baths erotic. If “architectural discourse is a deodorizer”, then cruising is the powerful human smell that haunts the dreams of Jean Genet.
The historical model of cruising is evolving and perhaps even dying. The contemporary combination of Grindr, urban development and the commodification of LGBT culture has emptied established cruising grounds and replaced gay bars with condos. Geosocial apps have generated a new psychosexual geography spreading across a vast architectonic of digitally interconnected bedrooms, thus disrupting the intersectional idealism that was at play in former versions of cruising. Today, class, race and gender might be as regulated by the erotic surface of the screen as the architecture of the city.
By featuring contributions from artists and architects, the Cruising Pavilion wishes to highlight the failure to consider Freespace as defined by this edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale, without questioning the hetero-normative production of space itself. Architecture is a sexual practice and cruising is one of the most crucial acts of dissidence.
The Cruising Pavilion is a project curated by Pierre-Alexandre Mateos, Rasmus Myrup, Octave Perrault and Charles Teyssou that will take place at Spazio Punch in Venice, Italy from the 24th May to 1st July, during the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. It is produced in collaboration with Spazio Punch.
Since 2011, Spazio Punch has been a non-profit Venetian organization on the Giudecca Island that promotes contemporary culture through events, exhibitions and talks.
Spazio Punch, Giudecca 800/o, Venezia 30133, Italia
25th May - 1st July, from Tuesday to Sunday, 2-7pm.
Official opening reception: Thursday May 24th from 2-4pm.
Special event at the Cruising Bar Friday May 25th from 7-12pm.
The Cruising Pavilion made a few urgent revisions to the statements on “Freespace” made by the curators of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara:
The Garden of Eden used to be the notorious Venetian cruising ground from the end of the Belle Époque until the Second World War which particularly marked French and Italian literature. It was visited by Anna de Noaïlles, Eleanora Duse, Baron Corvo, Walter Sickert, Jean-Louis Vaudoyer, Gabriele d’Annunzio; it was cruised by Rainer Maria Rilke, Henry James, Marcel Proust and Jean Cocteau; and has been fantasized about by Renaud Camus, the author of the famous cruising novel Tricks (1979) prefaced by Roland Barthes.