XML contributes to monditalia at the 14th venice architecture biennale
XML contributes to monditalia at the 14th venice architecture biennale XML contributes to monditalia at the 14th venice architecture biennale
jun 19, 2014

XML contributes to monditalia at the 14th venice architecture biennale

XML contributes to monditalia at the 14th venice architecture biennale
all images courtesy of XML




in the contribution ‘theatres of democracy,’ XML brings together its ongoing research analyzing the typology of the semi-circular greek theatre as a device for governmental institutions. even though today’s representative democracies face different forms of crisis, many houses of parliament still draw upon an ancient architectures. structures such as siracusa’s ‘teatro greco’ in sicily remain to be the dominant model for spaces of political congregation.


video courtesy of XML




by exploring citizenship as a form of spectatorship, the installation in the corderie of the arsenale contrasts the inclusive, open-air auditorium and the feeling of exclusion that many associate with today’s mediated politics. on one side of a wall, visitors can look through a series of peepholes into today’s halls of parliaments. the other side of the wall presents a wallpaper with a genealogy of the semi-circle that shows how the shape has travelled to modern times – whereas the form as a symbol of democracy persisted, the reality of democracy has changed significantly.

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
people gather to look at the graphics explaining the transformation of the semi-circle




over the last two years, XML has visited and documented spaces of bureaucracy across the world. part of that research is presented in this installation that contrasts the interiors of contemporary legislative offices with an analysis of the history of the semi-circle: from the inclusive space of the archaic theatres of greece to present-day parliaments built as television studios. as people pass through the exhibit, they are constantly posed with the questions, ‘how did the meaning of the semi-circle change from an architecture of collectivity, to a mere symbolic architecture that leaves the task of shaping politics to media? and how can our spaces of political congregation be modernized while taking the genealogy of the semi-circle fully into account?’

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
6 peepholes are available for the public to look through

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
within the peepholes are photos of present-day parliaments

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
the installation is in monditalia, corderie of the arsenale

xml monditalia venice architecture biennalexml monditalia venice architecture biennale
circulation brings visitors past a series of columns to view the exhibition

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
the exhibitions features two years of research documents

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
teatro greco, siracusa

xml monditalia venice architecture biennale
teatro greco in siracusa with a performance of medea 
scenography by enrico job (1996)

diagrams of political congregation spaces from left to right
first row: tweede kamer (netherlands), l’assemblée nationale (france), riksdag (sweden)
second row: house of representatives (united states), teatro greco (siracusa, italy), diet (japan)
third row: bundestag (germany), european parliament (strasbourg, france), jatyo sangshad (bangladesh)

overview of spaces of political congregation presented on a world map that indicates the state of democracy according to the economist intelligence unit (2012)



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

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