What lies between walls and windows? For the exhibition on display at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, one of Berlin’s architectural icons, the answer is more complex than wood or brick. In their examination of architecture as an ideologically charged sculpture, ten site-specific works in “Between Walls and Windows: Architektur und Ideologie” provide their own response, some more convincingly than others.
Two standouts reversed the typical function of their materials, thereby destabilizing the conventional architecture-ideology nexus. On the roof of HKW, “Tile Theatre” critiques the rapidly homogenizing construction in China. Architects Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu demonstrate the impotence of a one-size-fits-all international style by using regional materials such as bamboo and 60,000 traditionally manufactured Chinese roof tiles recycled from their work at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. “Tile Theatre” inverts a shelter’s archetypal role as roofing tiles are used for flooring while the roof itself is open, thereby making it uninhabitable. So go take a stroll through the roof-on-a-roof, which is actually a floor. Did you catch that?
Visitor at “Tile Theater” on the roof of HKW
Meanwhile, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s “You Can Say Anything You Want For As Long as You Want” beckons you to record into a microphone anything you desire — declare your love, speak in tongues, sing a song. Since only silence is forbidden, speak up on the stage of the former auditorium of Congress Hall and explore the ways sound can be an ideological transmitter. However, don’t expect to have a live audience, as the microphone’s role is inverted: instead of amplifying sound, it absorbs and sends it to an Internet archive. This is your chance to voice whatever your heart desires to an invisible audience.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, “Between Walls and Windows: Architektur und Ideologie – Til September 30, 2012, Every day 10am-7pm