With its enormous budget, ambitious designs, and dogged controversy, Milan’s Expo has captured the architectural community’s attention. But urbanists are increasingly looking towards the Austrian capital of Vienna for inspiration. Earlier this month, Vienna's array of world-famous museums and design studios threw open their grand doors for the Vienna Biennale, which is operating for the first time in its history as an interdisciplinary exposition.
Inspired by the motto, “Ideas for Change,” the Vienna Biennale seeks to combine art, architecture, and design in order to bring about positive changes for society. The organizers highlight “the development and design of the necessary real and virtual concepts and tools” as being intricately linked to human creativity.
“This means that the creative disciplines of design, architecture, and art have a particular responsibility to develop new paths for positive change. While the applied disciplines of design and architecture are expected to produce directly applicable ideas, fine art does not need to be directly useful; instead, it can offer other kinds of impetuses.”
Under the broad umbrella of linking the three disciplines in creative ways, the organizers chose to focus specifically on the challenges and opportunities presented by the “Digital Age,” citing technological developments as both the cause and the solution of most issues affecting society. Amongst others, rapid urbanization and subsequent gulfs of inequality are playing a prominent role in the exposition.
This can be seen in the diversity of the projects on display, which range from exhibitions on expanding megacities – and how they need to employ “tactical urbanism” – to obscure art performances which encourage public participation.
The venues hosting the events include the MAK (Austrian Museum of Contemporary Art), the Kunsthalle Wien, the University of Applied Arts Vienna’s Applied Innovation Laboratory, the Architecture Centre of Vienna, as well as various public parks, squares and courtyards. All of these cultural spaces have gained international recognition for their contributions to the art and design world.
With its unique blend of disciplines and heavy-weight cultural backing supporting it, there can be little doubt: the Vienna Biennale will shine new light on the links between art, design and architecture – and highlight how important such research is.
Are you planning on visiting the Vienna Biennale? Have you been to similar expositions? Would your city benefit from hosting a Biennale or World's Fair? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Credits: Images by Vienna Biennale. Data linked to sources.