This interview with Beatrice Galilee appeared, and did not appear, in Flash Art:
AGNIESZKA GRATZA: Can you comment on the chosen theme or title – “Close, Closer”– for the third edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale?
Beatrice Galilee: The title is designed to convey an idea of intimacy but also of momentum, the sense that we’re moving towards something but that we’re not quite there yet.
AG: And what might that something be?
BG: An understanding of architecture as something much larger and more expansive. It’s a widening out of what architectural practice tends to be understood as.
AG: What part will performance play in the Triennale?
BG: The Triennale has three major exhibitions and one public program. For me they represent very different strands of architectural practice: “Future Perfect” is about speculation; “The Real and Other Fictions” about intimacy; “The Institute Effect” about institutions and the dissemination of architectural practice; whereas the “New Publics” is about agency and pedagogy. These themes have nothing in common, apart from the way they are executed. Each of the exhibitions has a performative, narrative-led approach.
AG: One of the remits of this Triennale is “to explore architecture as a practice of construction as opposed to building”. Could you elaborate on that?
BG: Architecture has always been about more than building; it only solidified into a profession in 1900 or so. Collectives like Archigram or Superstudio in the 70s totally demolished this idea of architecture as a built form and talked about architecture as a city, a political tool, a social project and a means to an end as opposed to an end in itself. It’s important to remember that there’s a history to this. We’re not presenting something entirely new, but rather putting the spotlight on it and saying that it’s the only thing we’ll be discussing. I know that architecture consists of many other things but we’re not going to go there. If you accept to have construction as well as models and drawings, you dilute the message.
AG: I’m intrigued by the six digital publications you’re putting together in lieu of a traditional catalogue.
BG: They’re meant to contain the intellectual background for the exhibitions because the exhibitions themselves are both ephemeral and elusive. What’s nice about e-books is that they’re distributed digitally. This means we can hopefully reach more people around the world. They have a global appeal.