“Priests & Programmers – A Perfect Balance” at the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2019United Arab Emirates
November 9, 2019
Sharjah Architecture Triennial Opening
At the invitation of the Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2019, the Swiss contribution will be curated by Adam Jasper (ETH Zurich). “Priests and Programmers” (working title: “A Perfect Balance”) is a multi-national collaboration between prize-winning Swiss architects and artists, Californian scientists and Balinese composers. Within the exhibition, the language of architecture is employed to explore the challenges of global change and the rights of future generations.
“Priests and Programmers” takes its point of departure from a conflict in the 1980s over the survival of traditional Balinese rice farming, threatened by the industrialization of agriculture. It emerged, thanks to the research of activist scientists like Stephen Lansing, that the traditional irrigation system was functioning as a complex adaptive system with emergent computational properties: An ancient computer, the size of a volcanic island. This delicate infrastructure was built without financial capital, and without a system of centralized control. As such, its survival presents a direct challenge to accounts of economic development that favor corporate and governmental systems of ownership and control.
The contribution consists of an installation in three parts: a haunting video and sound installation (Vivian Wang, Dewa Alit, Singapore / Indonesia, and the artist collective U5, CH), a large scale landscape model, (designed by the same team that won the Golden Lion for Switzerland at the Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2018 – Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor and Matthew Van Der Ploeg.) and a robotic installation by Li Tavor and Max Kriegleder. It is installed in an unrestored vegetable market in the heart of Sharjah. In vitrines found within the shops, documents are displayed that corroborate the installation. The project is a potentially transformative example of local collaborations with far-reaching impacts.
Sharjah Architecture Triennial
Led by a guest curator selected by Sharjah Architecture Triennial, each edition runs for three months every three years. Local, regional, and international architects and researchers are invited to participate in an exciting calendar of exhibitions, conferences, and publications.
The Triennial editions aim to highlight topical aspects of architecture and urbanism that have local relevance, and to engage Sharjah’s existing built environment and social fabric. The focus of each theme, the involvement of diverse participants, and the range of events that take place during each edition provide opportunities for the production of new knowledge that we hope will resonate well beyond Sharjah.
The inaugural edition of Sharjah Architectureal Triennial is scheduled for November 2019, curated by Adrian Lahoud with the theme of Rights of Future Generations.