The project Seguint el peix, by Leve Productora and Top Manta (Popular Union of Street Vendors), has been selected to represent Catalonia and the Balearic Islands at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, as part of the Eventi Collaterali. Through the vision of the manters, the project will address issues such as migratory transits, the privatization of public space, feminism, the fight against racism or food sustainability. It is a joint work between anti-racist activism and architecture, in search of clues for the future of cities. The production will be carried out by the Ramon Llull Institute.
The expert committee of the selection process convened by Llull states that: "We unanimously selected the project not only for its formulation of architecture as a project of social production at the exhibition level, but also as a project of transformation and vindication of the right to the city for everyone. The proposal erases the division between curator and participants, being a collective work in its conceptualization, process and formalization. The proposal will make available methodologies, shared knowledge and common ecosocial struggles both in the physical space of the exhibition in Venice and in other spaces such as the web and open access publications in Catalan, English, Italian and Wolof The jury values the courage, forcefulness and quality of the proposal that embraces practices necessary for a present in emergency that are a laboratory of the future".
The president of the committee of experts was Eva Franch i Gilabert, architect and co-artistic director of Model. Barcelona Architecture Festival, and the members have been Guim Costa i Calsamiglia, elected dean of the College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC) and Inés de la Rivera Marinel·lo, member of Research, Education and Universities of the COAC, with a single vote, Elvira Dyangani Ose, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA), Jaume Mayol, architect and co-director of TEd'A arquitectes, Olga Subirós, architect and curator of the Catalan exhibition at the Biennial Venice Architecture 2021 (AIR/ARIA/AIRE) and, with voice but no vote, Maria Lladó, director of the Llull Creation Area.
As in previous editions, the Ramon Llull Institute will present this proposal to the curators of the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture, which, in the coming months, will announce whether Following the Fish is included in the Collateral Events.
The 18th edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale will take place from May 20 to November 26, 2023 and the theme chosen by its artistic director, Lesley Lokko, is The Laboratory of the future, with Africa as the protagonist: “ There is one place on this planet where all these concepts of equality, race, hope and fear converge and unite: Africa. Anthropologically, we are all Africans. And what happens in Africa happens to all of us". The Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic and novelist also states that “the vision of a modern, diverse and inclusive society is seductive and persuasive, but if it remains only in an image, it is a mirage. Something more than a representation is needed, and architects are historically key players in translating images into reality”.
Top Manta is a project created within the People's Union of Street Vendors. This union was born in Barcelona in 2015 and is a social and solidarity project that fights against the difficulties of migrants and Afro-descendants, racism and the violation of human rights in general.
The Popular Union of Street Vendors has participated in cultural and political activities at national and international level, weaving networks with different struggle organizations, and has served as an inspiration for other collectives such as the Union of Manters and Canners of Madrid or similar entities in Zaragoza or Valencia.
In 2017, they created Top Manta, a brand of fashion and accessories - ethical, social and solidarity - that is a symbol of self-determination and a global benchmark that responds to the needs of people vulnerable to the system and the search for social justice
Leve is an architecture and film studio from where projects are formulated and developed in an interdisciplinary manner. Each project is conceived as a management, networking and unitary management experience, dealing with the what and the how in an integrated way, exploring the bordering territories - the seams - of what is considered architecture, reinforcing its social vocation from creativity and activism. Its members are the following: Eva Serrats, who has worked in the fields of photography, cinema, architecture and cultural management and is also a professor of projects (ETSAB-UPC); Francesc Pla, architect, member of the Environmental Sustainability Plan team in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and professor of projects at the Vallès School of Architecture (ETSAV-UPC); Daniel Cid, Leve's collaborator on the research projects, is Associate Professor of Design Studies at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton (United Kingdom).