Taking a deeper look at the role of aesthetics and how it should be approached by looking beyond rationality.
Statistics, law and good arguments are challenged by butterflies, poetry and dirt at the Danish pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition being held at the Venice Biennale from 7June through to 23 Nov. The Danish pavilion reintroduces the forgotten power of aesthetics as a challenge to the dominant rationalistic approach, not only to architecture but also to literature, art, nature and science.
Stig L. Andersson, Danish Landscape Architect and Curator of the Danish pavilion, argues that the aesthetic approach and the forgotten modernity it represents are essential for a common road into a sustainable future. The Danish pavilion reintroduces the power of aesthetics as a complement to the rational.
This specific pavilion invites guests to use their senses, explore their curiosity and reflect on their experience: being introduced to the smell of dirt; hearing the sound of poetry; watching a butterfly; burying their toes in pine needles. These sensuous, poetic and tactile elements challenge paragraphs from Denmark’s planning laws, which are also on display in the pavilion.
“For far too long, whenever we had to make a case for what our future should look like, we have focused only on the rational aspect,” explained Stig. “We have not understood that the aesthetic aspect complements the rational. This means that we must find an entirely new language to talk about the value of aesthetics: a language in which the sensuous amenity value of a tree is as important as the tree’s usefulness in terms of soaking up rain water, absorbing carbon dioxide and making our house prices soar.”
The exhibition, Empowerment of Aesthetics, reflects on the fundamentals of modern Danish society, which emerged in the mid-19th Century. During this short period of time, after the collapse of Romanticism but before the much-lauded Danish welfare state fully emerged, the poetic interaction between architecture, literature, art, nature and science liberated an unprecedented energy and a belief in a dynamic society hitherto unseen in Denmark or elsewhere.
The Danish pavilion forms part of a larger project, the DK2050, focused on debating the future of Denmark. DK2050 poses a whole range of questions, for example, how cities, politicians and individuals will influence decisions in terms of achieving a sustainable future.
”We need to dare to look into the future and face some of the tough dilemmas,” highlights Commissioner Kent Martinussen, CEO of the Danish Architecture Centre. “This new project, DK2050, is a unique collaboration between the public and private sectors, scientists and the Danish population. Together they develop and debate the dilemmas facing us, when we look at climate change and the necessary green transition ahead of us.”
For more information visit www.dac.dk