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2016 Venice Biennale: Irish Pavilion, Losing Myself

Níall McLaughlin and Yeoryia Manolopoulou

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Morgan Day


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Project Description


The installation at the Arsenale imagines the Alzheimer’s Respite Centre in Dublin, Ireland as experienced by its occupants: people with dementia and their carers. Dementia erodes the ability to remember where you have come from and to plan where you would like to go. It becomes progressively harder to situate yourself and to navigate your way in the world: two capacities central to the experience of architecture.

The plan of any building is an architectural representation of the human need to be situated within an environment that provides orientation. Using time-based projection, we redraw the experience of this plan as collectively witnessed by sixteen people using the building over the course of one day. The coherent, fixed plan an architect depends upon can never be fully brought into being by the building's occupants: they cannot use memory and projection to see beyond their immediate situation and can no longer synthesize their experiences to create a stable model of their environment. This produces a fragmentary world; and, because there is still recourse to deep memory, a world that is filled with a phantasmagoric and unbidden procession of other spaces and times. The overlapping, perhaps conflicting, experiences of the inhabitants question the notion of the building as a singular conception, and by extension, those architectural representations that insist upon buildings as finite and whole objects.
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