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Modernity implies a temporal conflict with its previous past, a breach operated into the continuity of time, marking the abrupt passage from a time forever past to a present of novelty, the contemporary. The modern times, while actually resulting out of a complex process, are often seen as radical change, connected to events of massive impact, such as the break of WWI. In the aftermath of these powerful events, the urge to start anew pushes aside the past, in a state of suspension that makes room only for things to come, new and purged of the weight of history.

Furthermore, modernity relies on the idea of progress, stating the positive belief that the new is necessarily better than the old. Hence, the modern individual is permanently confronted to a present time when one has to prove oneself better than the day before and to adjust to the dynamics of change to the extent of anticipating it. In a lecture on contemporaneity, Giorgio Agamben is citing Nietzsche in order to define what the contemporary means: to be untimely, to distance oneself from present time, to be already further gone in the future. “Making Room: a Practice of the Contemporary” intends to reveal this obsessive pursuit of novelty, a constant throughout modern history.

The current exhibition presents ten isolated moments of the last hundred years which may be regarded as momentary embodiments of the contemporary, ten turning points in the Romanian architectural history. The selection shows how Romanian architecture was marked by expressions of personal experiments, but also by grim political events, that massively operated into the city’s appearance, without necessarily representing progress: the contemporary is not only about perceiving the lights, but also about perceiving the darkness of time.

The items of novelty are displayed on a white table, each and every one of them moulding the surface with its own particular figure. The appearance of the table is sharp, almost abstract and bright, representing the novelty that took place and blurred away the past. As for the latter, it is represented by old furniture painted in black, pushed randomly against the walls and covered with a translucent veil, as in a state of suspension. Thus, the history is regarded as a process of accumulation, a crystallized body, always present, a permanent witness at the birth of novelty.

 

Authors
Dordea Dragoș Mihai
Raluca Sturzu
Flavia Maria Radu

Facts + Figures
client: Romanian Cultural Institute
address: Palazzo Correr (Campo Santa Fosca) Cannaregio 2214, 30121 Venezia
area: 69,5 m2
status: competition
year: 2014