Faraway, So Close

25th Biennial of Design
Ljubljana, Slovenia
25. 5.–29. 10. 2017

Slo· Eng

- Curatorial Statement -

If the city continues to be the paradigm within which the evolutionary effects of society are interpreted – as well as its dreams and failures - a new society that has grown up in an interconnected, emancipated and informed urban model, is now beginning to look towards the extra-urban dimension as an innovative planet to inhabit: a neutral gap in history with no codes or roots and without any clear-cut historical connotations.

We have become accustomed to discussing worldwide issues, we have become aware of the ethical importance of global events and changes, yet many places that are close to our own living environments remain ignored, untouched, disregarded. Places that ask to be given a meaning and a context.

FARAWAY, SO CLOSE investigates what is distant, but not yet remote enough to penetrate our memory because it is still waiting for a semantic connotation.
FARAWAY, SO CLOSE turns its attention to what is close, but so close in space and time that it neither catches our attention nor our intention.
FARAWAY, SO CLOSE looks at the commitment to an innovative framework that binds humanity to a new common history starting with local resilience and the traces of a not-yet-distant-past.
FARAWAY, SO CLOSE is based on the possibility of imbuing the disused and the banal with a human dimension.

New frictions emerge from the cohabitation of remote meanings and contemporary habits as we look for new territories to give meaning to, places to re-inhabit, ancient relations to re-enact, basic coexistences to re-imagine. Can this friction between these diverse conditions produce new scenarios for a different present time?

Slovenia will act as a charter for stimulating, discussing and testing this theoretical approach by taking into consideration its geography which comprises 60% forest, 40% cultivated land, 11.000 registered caves, 28.000 km of watercourses and other natural phenomena that are suffering under the harsh spotlight of tourism. Closing mines and the symbols of a faded dream, contemporary urban ruins caused by the economic crisis and now taken over by wilderness, protected areas of extraordinary natural beauty that 100 years ago were sites of horrendous battles and now used as training spots by international extreme athletes.

In order to articulate spatial and design practice starting from the existing Slovenian environment, and by using the dislocation of the Biennial as a production platform and a speculative scenography, FARAWAY, SO CLOSE has selected seven Slovenian individuals (Profiles) well known for their unique personal and professional projects outside the field of design. Their originality and their knowledge will be interpreted by seven international creative figures (Translators), chosen for their ability to use design and architecture as tools for investigating contemporary issues.

Each pair will act in a specific location that becomes a setting for a screenplay to be developed. UNDERGROUND RELEASE in the subterranean world of caves, OCCUPYING WOODS in the omnipresent forest, AFTER UTOPIA in a soon to be closed mining landscape, BRAND NEW-COEXISTENCE inside a contemporary urban ruin, COUNTRYSIDE RELOADED in a rural playground, RESILIENCE OF THE PAST in a quiet alpine setting that was once a battleground, NEW HEROES on the looming sea.

By testing disciplines outside their comfort zone, FARAWAY, SO CLOSE will present possible scenarios in the form of seven episodes that will attempt to enquire into global as well as local issues.

Angela Rui and Maja Vardjan