The project

Migrating Landscapes was selected by a national juried competition as Canada’s official entry at the 2012 Venice Biennale in Architecture.It will be presented by Winnipeg-based 5468796 Architecture and Jae-Sung Chon, who joined together for this project to form a new entity: the Migrating Landscapes Organizer (MLO).

Increasingly, contemporary design is produced within a context that is globally, rather than regionally, situated. The work of emerging designers is influenced by glossy and well-presented images that blur design context and authenticity. Within this framework we ask: how might specific cultural memory be captured and rendered, informing the ways we generate design? How do divergent perspectives come together and thereby create new contextual landscapes? Can the juxtaposition of personal vernacular memories and questions of context and content provide insight into contemporary architectural production? Migrating Landscapes asks that Canadian designers from diverse backgrounds, each with their own unique ethnic and cultural memories, respond to these questions.

Cultural memories migrate with people. Whether we are first, second, third or more generation Canadians, each of us brings unique memories of living from around the globe. These migrated memories modify and transform as we settle into unfamiliar landscapes and architectural contexts. The resulting forms are neither of our memory nor of our present. They are unique forms of dwelling-landscape that resonate with both local condition and personal cultural memory. MLO (Migrating Landscapes Organizer) is fascinated by this ‘settling-unsettling’ dynamic as a form of contemporary living.

Migrating Landscapes will act as a forum for Canadian architects and designers to investigate, provoke, document and expose the unique manifestations of cultural memory that overlay Canada today and how it  might emerge in the future. MLO will design a ‘new landscape’ – an abstract exhibition infrastructure – and will invite, through a national competition, young Canadian architects and designers to design ‘dwellings’ based on their cultural memories. The invitation is an enactment of ‘settling-unsettling’, and the dwellings will discuss various forms of migrated memories ‘settled-unsettled’ into the ‘new landscape’. The dwellings and the landscape, together, will form the exhibition at Venice 2012.

During the three-month stay in Venice, Migrating Landscapes will offer visitors a view into how migrated memories - their own and others - are registered as part of Canada’s topography, a unique view into Canada’s past, present and future. After Venice, parts of Migrating Landscapes will be disassembled and sent out into the world, embarking on future migrations. This ongoing dissemination will be documented and tracked through MLO website and a follow up publication.