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Report from the 2nd Canary Islands Biennial of Architecture, Art and Landscape

'Silencio' (7 March–3 May 2009), the recently-inaugurated 'exhibition phase' of the 2nd Biennial of the Canary Islands, unfolds in various venues in both capitals of the archipelago: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (with the sub-theme 'Inmersions. Landscape of Networks: Systems, Meshes and Structures') and in Santa Cruz de Tenerife (with 'Scenes and Scenarios. Paradoxes of the wellbeing: The Consumption of the imaginary and the imaginery of consumption'). The exhibitions follow the 'documentary phase' that took place between the December 08 and February 09.

Directed by Canarian architect Juan Manuel Palerm Salazar, the exhibition takes as its starting point 'silence' "as the profound instant in which we can discover and analyse the noises of contemporary society". Dispersed through the many venues in Las Palmas (SEE SLIDESHOW ABOVE: INFECAR, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM), CAAM San Antonio Abad, Casa de Colón, Gabinete Literario, Sala de Arte Regenta) and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (SEE SLIDESHOW BELOW: Tenerife Espacio de las Artes (TEA), Espacio Cultural El Tanque, Sala de Arte Contemporáneo del Gobierno de Canarias, Museo de Bellas Artes, Sala Mac, Círculo de Bellas Artes de Tenerife and COAC Canarias), the biennial mostly spoke in architecture terms to the visitor, by means of maquettes; lightboxes filled with renderings of landscaping projects in sites including Porto, Salerno, Benidorm or Venice; slideshows in fancy flatscreens; A1-sized boards with drawings, photographs, data, etc. Each of the venues welcomed the visitor with a white board containing a seemingly complex diagram with interlinked key words (
landscape, perception, island, system, use/abuse...) that mapped out the core concepts intended to be developed throughout the sixteen venues – see image #5 of slideshow above.

The Biennial also hosts three linked exhibitions organised by external curators: "Periferia" by Rosa Olivares at CAAM (including slick photographic works from the 1990s and early 2000 by Olivares' favourites such as Montserrat Soto, Sergio Belinchón, Francesco Jodice, Gabriele Basilico...), "Coexistencias" by Orlando Britto at La Regenta (with Grego Matos, Moataz Nasr, Javier Caballero, Eberhard Bosslet and a clumsy piece by Antonio Díaz Grande including 45 portraits of people doing the slitty-eyed gesture accompanied by 100 chinese lucky cats waving their arms) and "Plain Air. Paisajes Extra-Ordinarios" by Christian Vivero-Fauné (with works by Ivan Navarro, Patrick Hamilton, Jota Castro, Graham Dolphin...).

The strength of this year's Biennial lies in nine specially commissioned works, which include the 5-screen video 'Sin Límite' (2009) by Julian Rosefeldt (though poorly installed at TEA) and the 2-screen video 'Maspalomas' (2008-9) by Dias & Riedweg (though only one screen worked at the opening), as well as a 3-screen video 'Atlántida' (2008) by Olga Mink + Scanner (images here).

The exhibition opening is followed by an impressive calendar of public programme with one or two-day seminars (15 in total), keynote presentations (9 in total, including Kengo Kuma, Peter Greenaway, James Turrell, Paolo Burgi, Mark Gisbourne), workshops, theatre performances, open-submission competitions and round tables, mostly aimed at involving the architecture practitioners and students.


Read of the Second Biennial here (Elena Vozmediano, 'Contradicciones y confusiones de la bienal de Canarias, El Cultural, 20.03.09); here (Fietta Jarque, 'Cacofonía del Paisaje', suplemento Babelia, 21.03.09) and here (Fredy Massad, 'Buscar su lugar', ABCD, 22.03.09).

Click here to watch a 30' documentary broadcasted on the Spanish TVE 2's programme
Metrópolis on 30.03.09
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