Images by the winners of the 2019 Milano Triennale

For the 7th Aus-Spa Research Forum, SRAP-IEAP has the privilege of having the winners of the inaugural Golden Bee Award at the XXII Design and Architecture Triennale di Milano: Broken Nature (Design Takes on Human Survival).

The work, entitled ‘Teatro della Terra Alienata’, represented Australia at the Milano Triennale in 2019. The project makes public the mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, unveiling the political actions and economic interests that have underlined the brokenness of this environment.

Still from ‘Teatro Della Terra Alienata’. Act 1. Kaleidoscopic composition of a ‘Crown of Thorns’ starfish next to a bleaching coral.

The Pavilion consolidates two years of research and pedagogical projects by Amaia Sánchez-Velasco (in collaboration with academics and students from the schools of Design, Architecture and Life Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney), with the critical body of work of the architectural ménage à quatre Grandeza/Bajeza (Amaia Sánchez-Velasco, Jorge Valiente Oriol, Gonzalo Valiente and Miguel Rodríguez-Casellas) which engages with the crisis of the political imagination as a form of institutional critique.

Teatro della Terra Alienata’ curates the voices and testimonies of scientists, artists, designers, and thinkers complicit with the premise of the project. The audiovisual collage could not have been made without the invaluable contribution of the artists and scientists involved: Cigdem Aydemir, Liam Benson, Madison Bycroft, Shoufay Derz, Janet Laurence, Patricia Reed, James Morgan, Diego Lipnizky, George Shaw, Feras Dayoub (QUT) and Brett Lewis (QUT).

Still from ‘Teatro Della Terra Alienata’. Act 4. Infrastructural perspective of a mining landscape repurposed into an ‘unnatural park’ after the alienation and takeover of the Great Barrier Reef territorial hinterland by the International Xenofeminist Corporation.

GRANDEZA+BAJEZA is an architectural ménage à quatre conformed by Amaia Sanchez-Velasco (MArch, ETSAM, 2011), Gonzalo Valiente (MArch, ETSAM, 2012), Jorge Valiente (MArch, ETSAM, 2013) and Miguel Rodriguez-Casellas (MArch, Princeton University, 1991). They share a commitment to linking pedagogy, research, critical thinking, and creative practice as complementary tools for political emancipation. Their work studies late-capitalist space and narratives to identify (through critical analysis) and neutralise (through political imagination) the mechanisms that veil and normalise neoliberal violence. Since 2015, the team has presented works in several international events and exhibitions across Australia, Chile, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. Their project, ‘Teatro della Terra Alienata’, was commissioned as the Australian pavilion for the XXII Triennale di Milano. The project received the Golden Bee Award to the best national contribution. Amaia, Gonzalo, Jorge and Miguel are currently Lecturers of the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, at the University of Technology Sydney.