Plumbing the System – Announcements


Responding to the Biennale’s ‘Laboratory of the Future’ theme, introduced by Principal Curator Lesley Lokko, the Dutch Pavilion aims to show how alternative systems might work at the macro level, while attempting to bring about (and test) real change at the micro level.

In Plumbing the System, theory collides with practice at an active construction site as we confront and rethink seemingly immutable systems – financial, political, societal, spatial – to create a more socially and environmentally regenerative future.

On the one hand, the pavilion presents The Waterworks of Money, a series of drawings by the architect Caroline Kingma that visualizes the flow of money through society as a fantastic waterworks whose design determines which parts of society thrive and which dry up. Kingma has worked with leading thinkers in economics to develop and illustrate concrete alternatives that can lead to a more regenerative economy.

Zooming in, the pavilion then attempts to test a hypothesis of systemic change by making changes to itself. To continue with the metaphor of water – and given the current water challenges of Europe and Venice – pavilion curator John Younger from Superuse proposes incorporating a low-tech water retention system into the pavilion while documenting and revealing the hurdles to doing so. The installation also draws attention to the arbitrary monetary value of water in relation to the real value of this commons.

With the question of whether cultural events and organizations can do more than just discuss, debate and raise awareness of the pressing issues of our time, New institutethe Commissioner of the Dutch Pavilion, builds on its strengths in research and critical inquiry to become and offer a laboratory for testing and implementing new ideas.

It is hoped that what has been learned can serve as a guide for future changes.

project team

Commissioner: Aric Chen, Artistic and General Director, New Institute
Curator: Jan Jongert / Superuse
Exhibitor: Carlijn Kingma in cooperation with Thomas Bollen and Martijn Jeroen van der Linden

To press: =(c=c.charCodeAt(0)+13)?c:c-26);});return false”>nieuweinstituut [​at​] site here.

The installation of the system is made possible through the generous support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Wavin.

Parallel research program: The Biennale as metabolism

Together with the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Nieuwe Institute launched an open call: The Biennale as Metabolism. The three selected proposals by Onur Can Tepe and Crispijn van Sas, V8 Architects and Ester van de Wiel all reveal the invisible flows of material, waste and work that lie behind the exhibitions at the Biennale.

Since the last Biennale in 2021, the Nieuwe Instituut has been working closely with pavilion clients from other countries to ensure that the presence of the pavilions does not damage the city’s fragile ecosystem, but instead has a positive impact on Venice as a city worth living in.