Lithuania at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition –
La Biennale di Venezia 2023
18 May – 26 November 2023
2125 Campo Tana, Castello, Venice
(opposite the entrance to the Arsenale)
The Children’s Forest Pavilion is composed as a playscape and conceived to acknowledge the unique approaches of children to observe, draw conclusions, explain the forest, and demand agency in forming it. This project brings together works and findings developed in parallel to outdoor activities held with children in woodlands in Lithuania and Finland. Guided by environmental educators, activists, artists, architects, and foresters, they were introduced to think of forests as negotiated spaces where no single actor has a central stake.
Located directly opposite the entrance to the Arsenale, the pavilion’s installation is both an architectural object and a conceptual structure, meandering through a Venetian patio house, and allowing different formats of discussion, interaction and play. It is made out of timber from trees on the Curonian Spit that have, over several years, been collected in an archive at Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts as part of the project Neringa Forest Architecture. Combined with film installations, worktables and play structures, the architectural elements in the pavilion support the research and learning environment of the exhibition, which shows how the children that participated learned about ancient forests, primordial swamp landscapes and long processes of geological formations.
Through the outdoor activities, the children explored the forest at various levels of scale and perception, looking at the growth patterns of lichens, investigating chemical pollution molecules through augmented reality, and discovering sounds from reverberations of ancient and living timber, among other things. The exhibition includes an alphabet made of the branches of hundred-year-old mountain pines, a space with supersized shadows, as well as computer-generated spores and slime moulds in a myriad of shapes and forms, and invites visitors to play and learn about forests, as architectural and infrastructural spaces: environments of natural systems governed, exploited, and regulated by human interventions, technologies, industries, institutions and agencies, but also places of depleting biodiversity.
The Children’s Forest Pavilion is conceived as an educational tool with the potential to ‘branch off’ and connect to other spatial and thematic elements. At the end of the Biennale Architettura 2023, it will return to the woodlands of the Curonian Spit where it will function as a destination for forest walks and environmental education workshops. The pavilion is organised by the Neringa Forest Architecture project that was initiated in 2020 to reflect on the agency of cultural practices and institutions in framing environmental relationships. The project has its starting point in Nida Art Colony, a subdivision of Vilnius Academy of Arts, located in the Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit. As a continuous programme, Neringa Forest Architecture involves a growing assembly of collaborations and participants to read the cultural landscape of the area from multiple perspectives and practices as a case study in the context of the forests of the region.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday
19 May – 30 September: 11am – 7pm
1 October – 26 November: 10am – 6pm
Closed on Mondays (except 22 May, 14 August, 4 September, 16 October, 30 October, 11 November)
Admission to the pavilion is free of charge.
Contributors: Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Ancient Woods Foundation, Gabrielė Grigorjevaitė, Laura Garbštienė, Mustarinda Association (Tiina Arjukka Hirvonen, Michaela Casková, Robin Everett, Riitta (Nyyskä) Nykänen), Mantas Peteraitis, School of Creativity (Kristupas Sabolius), New Academy (Ikko Alaska, Nene Tsuboi, Tuomas Toivonen), Urbonas Studio (Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas), Kornelija Žalpytė
Curators: Jurga Daubaraitė, Egija Inzule, Jonas Žukauskas
Commissioner: Ines Weizman
Architecture: Jonas Žukauskas in collaboration with Antanas Gerlikas, Jurgis Paškevičius, Anton Shramkov
Graphic design: Monika Janulevičiūtė
Poster illustration: Izadora Daubaraitė Žukauskaitė
Moss hats and shalws: Banan Vedro, Circulation of Infernation, Doch, Heorhii Hohatadze
Video production: Eitvydas Doškus, Elis Hannikainen
Video editing: Ignė Narbutaitė
Lighting: Martynas Kazimierėnas
Coordination: Dovilė Lapinskaitė
Coordination in Venice: Marco Scurati
Communication: Stefanija Jokštytė, Anna Luise Schubert, Alexandra Bondarev
Translation and proofreading: Alexandra Bondarev, Gemma Lloyd
Project assistant: Vilius Vaitiekūnas
Accounting: Rasa Bliakevič
Legal consulting: Neringa Savickė, Kotryna Volodkaitė
Organised by: Neringa Forest Architecture
Implemented by: Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts
Partner: Centre for Documentary Architecture
Supported by: Neringa Municipality, Nordic Culture Point, Lithuanian Council for Culture, Baltic Culture Fund
Thanks to: Artnews.lt, Gražina Banienė, Adriano Berengo, Yulia Derenko, Gaetano di Gregorio, Aurora Fonda, Laura Gabrielaitytė-Kazulėnienė, Monika Kalinauskaitė, Dr. Mindaugas Lapelė, Laguna nel Bicchiere – Le Vigne Ritrovate, Marija Olšauskaitė, Rimantė Paulauskaitė-Digaitienė and Dr. Ainis Pivoras from the Ancient Woods Foundation, Viktorija Rybakova, Mindaugas Survila, Nida Forestry, Kretinga Forestry, the Curonian Spit National Park
Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts: Milena Černiakaitė, Vasilisa Filatova, Alberta Globienė, Giedrius Globys, Asta Jackutė, Dalia Jokūbauskaitė, Lina Koseleva, Aldona Lankauskienė, Elena Orlovienė, Daura Polonskytė, Ieva Skauronė, Yana Ustymenko, Katerina Vaseko, Tetjana Volosiuk
All the children, educators, and schools who participated in workshops in Lithuania and Finland
Puolankajärvi Comprehensive School (Puolanka, FI), Hyrynsalmi Comprehensive School (Hyrynsalmi, FI), Neringa Gymnasium (Nida, LT), Young Forest Friends (Kretinga, LT), Baltupiai Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Gerosios Vilties Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Emilijos Pliaterytės Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Pavilnys Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Sietuva Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Simonas Konarskis Gymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Simonas Stanevičius Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Vasily Kachalov Gymnasium (Vilnius, LT), Vilnius Sofya Kovalevskaya Progymnasium (Vilnius, LT)