A Fragile Correspondence – Scotland + Venice

Scotland+Venice 2023 creative team consisting Amy McEwan, Aoife Nolan, Carl Jonsson, Neil McGuire, Mia Pinder-Hussein,  Kristina Enberg, Alissar Riachi, Alyesha Choudhury and Andy Summers.
Published: 19/04/2023

(April 2023) One month before the exhibition opens to the public, we are delighted to share a short film by Simon Forsythe, Lateral North, with project participants Raghnaid Sandilands, Dr Amanda Thomson, Andy Summers, Aoife Nolan and Neil McGuire on the Scotland + Venice website that reflect on the exhibition’s themes.

How can a closer relationship between land and language help architecture be more attuned to the environment in which it operates?

Highlighting cultures and languages that have a close affinity with the landscapes of Scotland, A Fragile Correspondence explores alternative perspectives and new approaches to the challenges of the worldwide climate emergency.

Taking inspiration from The Laboratory of the Future, the theme of the Biennale Architettura 2023, and curated by Scottish-Ghanian architect Lesley Lokko, writers, artists and architects, in correspondence with these landscapes, explore issues distinctly rooted in place but with global relevance to the cultural, ecological and climatic issues that we face. 

Commissioned by the Scotland + Venice partnership and curated by the Architecture Fringe, -ism magazine, and /other, A Fragile Correspondence will be on show 20 May - 26 November 2023 at the Docks Cantieri Cucchini (S. Pietro di Castello, 40, 30122) situated between the Giardini and Arsenale.

A Fragile Correspondence poster with the text above an AI generated image that includes the Scottish landscape and animals.
AI generated poster by A Fragile Correspondence

Our journey across Scotland

From the forests around Loch Ness, the seashore of the Orkney archipelago, and the industrialised remnants of the Ravenscraig steelworks, the project takes us on a journey through three Scottish landscapes across the Highlands, Islands and Lowlands. 

In Loch Ness with the Highlands as the genesis for modern, romanticised world tourism, the exhibition explores how internationalised capital and commercial extraction affects the biodiversity, cultural identity and environmental sustainability of the land in a local context. 

In Orkney the work examines how the local population have for centuries negotiated the forces of nature, in particular the dynamic and powerful sea, as an example of an evolving relationship between people and place anchored in a deep understanding of the natural environment and steeped in community resilience. 

At Ravenscraig, in the Lowlands, the exhibition presents the contemporary landscape, often unseen as a moment between somewhere and nowhere, as a place of authenticity and a resurgent natural landscape. 

Through these creative explorations, and by proposing a new lexicon of terms and definitions, the exhibition looks to see the potential in possible futures that sensitively work in correspondence with the land rather than simply upon it.

About the creative team

The project is a curatorial collaboration between the Architecture Fringe, -ism magazine, and /other. Their curatorial approach centres on a shared understanding and appreciation of diverse cultural nuance, lived experience, and a close reading of social, political, and environmental contexts. 

The Architecture Fringe is a self-initiated non-profit volunteer-run organisation which explores architecture and its impact within our collective public life. -ism magazine is an independent publication based in Glasgow with a desire for bold and critical reflection on the built environment and creating accessible writing for voices of diverse backgrounds. /other is a collective of POC (people of colour) creatives that centres the marginalised individual within architectural discourse. 

Representing each collective is Neil McGuire and Andy Summers for the Architecture Fringe, Kristina Enberg, Amy McEwan, Aoife Nolan, Alissar Riachi for -ism magazine, and Alyesha Choudhury, Carl C.Z. Jonsson and Mia Pinder-Hussein for /other (pronounced: slash other)

Exhibition participants include Dele Adeyemo, Prof. Donna Heddle, Aaron McCarthy, Frank McElhinney, Dr. Mairi McFadyen, Hamshya Rajkumar, Raghnaid Sandilands, and Dr. Amanda Thomson. Exhibition collaborators are Simon Forsythe for Lateral North, and Ann Louise Kieran for North Lanarkshire Council.

This will be the twentieth commission by the Scotland + Venice partnership (Creative Scotland, British Council Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland, V&A Dundee and the Scottish Government). Scotland + Venice provides artists and architects based in Scotland with a valuable platform to showcase their work on the international stage at the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia. 

Twitter: @scotlandvenice | Facebook: @scotlandandvenice | Instagram: @scotlandvenice 

For images, interviews and information please contact: 

Chris Boyd, Senior Publicist, The Corner Shop PR | chris@thecornershoppr.com 

Anja Ekelof, Communications Manager, Architecture and Design Scotland | anja.ekelof@ads.org.uk 

Header image photo by Mathew Arthur Williams

The creative team - from left to right: Amy McEwan, Aoife Nolan, Carl Jonsson, Neil McGuire, Mia Pinder-Hussein, Kristina Enberg, Alissar Riachi, Alyesha Choudhury and Andy Summers.