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Manifest Stafet - The Short Story of an Exhibition

Working on this year’s edition of Odense Architecture Festival has been a blast. Among many other things, I had the chance to collaborate in putting together a small temporary exhibition during the festival, to showcase manifestoes written by architects, academics, and other agents in the field of architecture, among others: Olafur Eliasson, Dorte Mandrup, Olav de Linde, Flemming Rafn Thomsen. 

The project was initiated by the Copenhagen Architecture Festival in collaboration with the Danish Association of Architects, who launched an open call for manifestoes for the architecture of today and of the future, following the festival’s overarching theme – Changing Ideals. The result – 48 texts that juggle vision, fiction, imagination, and changing ideals, all collected in a beautiful magazine. Individual ruminations kept in the original graphic format take on what a city is and should be, on alternative ways of designing and thinking about building, on the future of architecture and the role of the architect in the context of climate change, dramatic shifts in human migration, and transformations of societal structures. Of these, Odense Architecture Festival exhibited seven – originally delivered in a digital format.

The process of materialising the PDF files into exhibits was an interesting one, which took us through valuable moments of considering content and format, concept and object, heaviness of paper, best use of an immobile exhibition room, and further considering the manifesto in itself as a genre – its didactic, informative, visionary features. In the end, we settled on a rather conservative approach, one that allowed the texts to shine and stand on their own. We hoped for this exhibition to use its format rooted perhaps in a model of the past in a way that furthers its mission – to be a conduit for idealism, intellectual speculation, and to push thought to action.

Location: The Funen Art Academy, Odense - Denmark

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