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Canada focuses on the country’s resources with the theme of ’’extraction’’ for 2016 Venice Biennale

Canada Architecture News - Dec 10, 2015 - 10:04   3542 views

Sardinia Geomineral Park (UNESCO) – 8,000 Years of Mining 1:1,000,000. image © OPSYS.

Canada Council for the Arts has announced its national theme for the 2016 Venice Biennale focusing on the countries complex ecologies of resources titled as ''extraction''. The national theme of Canada ''extraction'' has been selected through a competition as announced on 7th December by Canada Council for the Arts. The winning proposal ''extraction'' diggs into a cutting-edge, multimedia exploration of our extractive industries and mineral lives is set to represent Canada at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Provocatively called ''extraction'', the project will feature an installation, film and book addressing the ecologies and territories of resource extraction.

Gold Ore (Au, Cu, Pyrite). image © OPSYS

The project explores the architectures, histories and economies of Canada’s culture of resource extraction, to profile the rise of a “global resource empire” where, in the words of revered political economist Harold Innis, “Canada has emerged as a political entity not in spite of geography, but because of it.” Through the lens of the territorial infrastructures and political ecologies of resource urbanism, extraction engages contemporary and historic media across a range of cultural, spatial and industrial views. It brings together perspectives from business, history, art, activism and elsewhere, to radically rethink Canada’s global position, as home to 75% of our planet’s prospecting and mining companies.

A Brief History of Empire 2015-1215: 800 Years of Extraction. image © OPSYS

The team is led by landscape urbanist Pierre Bélanger and includes: OPSYS, a design and media organization managed by Christopher Alton and Zannah Matson, in collaboration with Geoffrey Thün, Kathy Velikov and Colin Ripley of the architectural firm RVTR, Nina-Marie Lister with Ryerson University’s Ecological Design Lab, and Kelsey Blackwell of Studio Blackwell, in the production of a multimedia exhibition project that features contributions from prominent Canadians including Michael Awad, Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky, Nick de Pencier, Eriel Deranger, Max Haiven, Thomas King, Alessandra Ponte, John Van Nostrand, Mel Watkins and Suzanne Zeller to name a few.

Extraction Empire 9,000 Projects Worldwide. image © OPSYS

As the Official Commissioner for ''extraction'', Catherine Crowston and the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) will support the launch of the project in Venice on May 27, 2016. The project will tour in 2017 during the 150th commemoration of Canada’s Confederation, with The Walrus Foundation as Official Media Sponsor. 

Ground Zero – Giardini della Biennale & Geographies of National Pavilions 1 : 10,000. image © OPSYS

Schedule of extraction is: May 26-27, 2016 (Venice Biennale Opening & Preview Days), June-November 2016 (International Exhibition), January-December 2017 (Canadian & North American Tour).

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