The Australian Pavilion at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia explores colonialism and its legacy in an installation named Unsettling Queenstown.
Officially opened yesterday, the work is a multi-faceted and multi-sensory installation delving into the idea of a conceptual Queenstown through recreation of buildings and items from a Lutruwita (Tasmania) town named Queenstown.
Creative Directors Anthony Coupe, Julian Worrall, Emily Paech, Ali Gumillya Baker and Sarah Rhodes curated the work, saying, “There are Queenstowns all over the former British Empire: in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, and both the Americas. It is a place both local and global.”
“Unsettling Queenstown highlights Australia’s colonial inheritance at the end of the second Elizabethan era, treating Queenstown as an emblem for decolonial struggle the world over,” the curators said in a statement
The Australian Institute of Architects National President Shannon Battisson said the work addressed La Biennale Architettura 2023’s theme, The Laboratory of the Future.
“At the heart of the Pavilion is a 70 per cent scale model of the actual town of Queenstown’s Empire Hotel made from copper,” she said.
“Given the town’s heritage as a copper-mining community, the work acts as a colonial ghost, with immersive sounds, voices and images.
“We are pleased to once again take part in the Biennale Architettura as the premiere event in global architecture.
The Pavillion will be on display until November 26.