Concerns about freshwater scarcity project Portuguese architecture at Venice Biennale

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The Portuguese participation in the Venice Architecture Biennale, taking place in this Italian city, between May 20 and November 26, will be represented by the project "Fertile Futures". This was presented on Thursday at the Reservatório Municipal, and was attended by the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, and the Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva.

From the outset, the Municipality of Porto has steadfastly supported "Fertile Futures", as mentioned in the press conference for the presentation of our country's project at the Venice Architecture Biennale, by Rui Moreira. "It is part of our mission and in doing so we are representing the alliance that the city has with culture", he said, believing that the project, curated by Andreia Garcia, will be "a success".

Also, for the Minister of Culture, Portuguese participation in events such as the Venice Architecture Biennale is crucial for the country and for the insertion of Portuguese professionals in large international networks. "Events such as the Architecture Biennale in Venice, but also the Art Biennale, Istanbul, São Paulo Architecture Biennial or the Prague Quadrennial are key moments for our presentation as a country, but also for the insertion of Portuguese professionals in the major international networks", said Pedro Adão e Silva.

With an investment of 800,000 euros – "which gives a good account of the importance attributed", he added -, the government acknowledged that "internationalization is a key element of culture policy. It corresponds to an opening, to a cosmopolitanism of how we project, today, the image of our country out there".

Referring specifically to the project that will represent our country in Venice, Pedro Adão e Silva is "a stimulus to reflection on new strategies for the management of water resources".

Thinking about the future of freshwater scarcity

"Fertile Futures" deals with the issue of freshwater scarcity and the search for solutions for the sustainable management of water resources, taking as a starting point the concrete experience of the national territory, responding directly to what is the invitation of the curator of the biennial this year, Lesley Lokko, which has the title "O laboratório do futuro".

The official Portuguese representation addresses the issue, based on seven national cases: "the impact of the Gigabattery in the Tâmega basin, the breach of the convention in the Douro Internacional, mining in the Middle Tagus, the imposition of interests in the Alqueva Albufeira, the anarchy in the irrigation perimeter of the Mira River, the overloading of the lagoons in Lagoa das Sete Cidades and the risk of floods in Ribeiras Madeirenses", as the curator said.

“It's time to become human again. We can no longer postpone our time. We are the cause of the conjunctural problems, but also their solution”, said Andreia Garcia, who will have Ana Neiva and Diogo Aguiar as adjunct curators in this project.

This proposal also involves a set of debate laboratories and will also be presented in the form of an exhibition at the Franchetti Palace, in Venice, between May 20th and November 26th, at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition. The thought meetings that make up the project will be open to the public, free of charge, and will also take place in Venice (May), Braga (June), Faro (September) and Porto Santo (October). In addition, an international seminar will be held in Fundão, with architecture students from diverse backgrounds.

But Portugal will not only be represented with the "Fertile Futures" project, since the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira will also be the author of the installation of the representation of the Vatican, which has Cardinal José Tolentino Mendonça as commissioner. For the Minister of Culture, the presence of Álvaro Siza Vieira "corresponds to recognition in the year he turns 90"