May 28, 2016 - Nov 27, 2016


Romania - Biennale Architettura 2016

Selfie Automaton

Romanian Pavilion in Giardini della Biennale
Selfie Automaton talks about mechanisms and the role of the individual in their making and functioning. The exhibition has been assembled from three directions – architecture, puppetry and art – around a common core: automata.Uncanny and entertaining objects, automata are used as a pretext and a way of communicating, between the authors and the public of the Biennale. The mechanisms are animating the puppets: caricatures of characters and fantastic animals are assembled in predefined scenes, parts of a show in which the visitor is granted a special role. Placed on stage, he becomes dynamo and actor in a closed and cyclical scenario, a possible generic portrait of social relations, broken into pieces. Puppets become main characters but are deprived of their liberties in puppetry, where it is common for them to play with gravity or become aware of their own condition (to an extreme to free themselves by cutting the strings). Even though constructed with the necessary joints that would allow them the “freedom of movement”, the wooden puppets are unstrung and literally nailed into a mechanism that allows them nothing but one predefined repetitive movement. And the visitor is no exception. Seated as part of the automaton, he is given one choice only: to make it work, by his own repetitive action. Consequently, the comfortable bipolar stereotype of the manipulated (us) and the manipulator (them) – most often placing people’s actions at one end of the string, as humble and direct consequences of an unexplained exterior force responsible for them – is replaced by a system of closed choices. The visitor becomes an object without options – a giant ballerina in a micro-banquet, a victim of a commission, or a beggar of wishes. Handles and pedals make the various shows possible, when provided with human power. An apparent system of gearwheels transmit the motion to cyclical scenes: a bicycle is moving a circle dance, a cooking pot generates a “grand buffet”, a crank awakens a commission or a never ending fight, a turning handle moves a goldfish, or a flying bird – prisoner outside its cage. Selfie Automaton reflects on the characters and actions blocked in automatisms, and opens the topic of predefined patterns: do they really exist, are we part of them, their victims or their generators?
Romanian Cultural Institute
The Menagerie of Wishes, part of the same project, exhibited in the New Gallery of the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research, on one of the busiest streets in Venice, addresses to a public mostly formed of curious tourists in search of typical Venetian attractions. The exhibition comprises a series of installations that play with our desires, through known global symbols of characters with magical powers. The cliché creatures extracted from fairyland – the goldfish that fulfils wishes and the magic hen with its golden eggs, placed in a space surrounded by mirrors, take us back to essential questions, at the border between necessity and greed. The double role of the visitor, both as an observing participant and the subject of the proposed analysis, binds the elements of the exhibition together, and brings us back to the theme of the Biennale, inviting us to self-reflection and to focus on the importance of our individual contribution.
Making of Selfie Automaton
The exhibition was designed and built by a multidisciplinary team of architects, artists, puppeteers and graphic designers, working together in Stathis's (the puppeteer) workshop in Athens – Ayusaya Theatre, where the 7 automata, made of 42 built in marionettes were crafted, assembled and put in motion, to be then brought to Venice. 
Credits: Story

Exhibition concept: Tiberiu Bucșa, Gál Orsolya, Stathis Markopoulos, Adrian Aramă
Puppet design and construction: Stathis Markopoulos, Gál Orsolya, Tiberiu Bucșa, Andrei Durloi, Perényi Flóra, Oana Matei

Automata design and construction: Stathis Markopoulos, Kostis Zamaiakis

Painting: Adrian Aramă

Visuals: Ana Botezatu
Photography: Dacian Groza

Texts: Dana Vais, Stathis Markopoulos, Tiberiu Bucșa

Stories: Ada Milea, Cristian Rusu

Design: Raymond Bobar

Website: Dan Burzo

Communication & PR: Ina Drăgan, Ada Teslaru
Project management: Tiberiu Bucșa, Corina Bucea

Project detailing: Tiberiu Bucșa, Perényi Flóra, Oana Matei

Carpentry: Yannis Tsioutas, Aggelos Romantzis

Fantastic animals: Alexis Papachatzis

Curtains: Elmaloglou family

Metal works: Anastasios Kotsiopoulos

Tapestry works: Victoria Berbecar (Giardini), Creș Ana and Titieni Arefta (RCI)

Collaborators: Jácint Virág, András Vernes, Árpád Debreczeni, Konstantis Mizaras, Konstantina Mandrali

Print: Fabrik
Comissioner: Attila Kim
Representative of the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Romanian Cultural Institute: Cristian Alexandru Damian

Initiated by: PlusMinus Association, Romania
Organized by: The Romanian Ministry of Culture, The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Romanian Cultural Institute, Architects Union of Romania
With the support of: Crama La Salina, UniCredit Bank, Digi Mobil, Atelier RDV

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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