The Happenstance was Scotland’s critically acclaimed contribution to the ‘freespace’ theme at the International Architecture Exhibition in 2018, delivered through Scotland + Venice.
The project was an active archive around a boardwalk-cum-climbing in the garden of Palazzo Zenobio. Read more about The Happenstance on the Scotland + Venice website.
Architecture and Design Scotland, part of Scotland + Venice, created a series of 12 ‘dispatches’ exploring the project’s themes and learning.
Through the dispatches, the story unfolds and explores the project’s inspirations, people, places, connections, and legacy. Click on the links below to skip to one that interests you.
- Issue 1: An introduction
- Issue 2: Venice reflective
- Issue 3: Into the mouth of the wolf
- Issue 4: My experience as a fellow at The Happenstance
- Issue 5: Venice context
- Issue 6: Play
- Issue 7: Tools of the trade
- Issue 8: One A to Z of making connections
- Issue 9: Participatory practice
- Issue 10: A conversation, a workshop and afterwards
- Issue 11: A lively Scottish-Venetian freespace
- Issue 12: The ongoing legacy
Issue 1: An introduction
The first dispatch, written by Morag Bain, begins with the back story of Scotland + Venice. It then introduces the work of The Happenstance artists’ and architects’ past work. It also summarises the project’s three phases: in Scotland, in Venice, and back in Scotland.
Issue 2: Venice reflective
Lee Ivett of Baxendale Studio looks at why a successful public space is one that suggests possibility and opportunity rather than dictates and instructs behaviour.
The armature in the garden of Zenobio provided a framework, both literal and metaphorical, that allowed curiosity, reaction, engagement and participation.
In this unique context, it was a support mechanism for people to take risks, try things out, fail, succeed, fail again, grow, develop and improve.
Issue 3: Into the mouth of the wolf
Anti-curator of The Happenstance Peter McCaughey tells the story of a day in the life of the project. He illustrates how, from the moment the Scottish team finds the garden, “the daily incidence of coincidence and good fortune is uncanny”.
The day is run through breathlessly, with a score of birdsong, singing, music, talking, playing and making resounding throughout the day.
The ‘expect to get lucky’ mantra leads to the chance encounter. This increases the serendipity and manufactures the magic (with some tension to add a bit of spice!), all happening in that one day, amongst days, in the Garden of Epiphanies.