For its first individual pavilion, Lithuania has decided to embrace these contradictions through reflection on similar uncertainties at two scales beyond the Biennale. The first is at the scale of Venice, with its illusory image of unalterable monumentality threatened every day as aggressive tourism literally sinks the archipelago. The second is at the scale of the planet, with the global precarity produced by climate change, political instability, and economic inequality.
Curators and architects have chosen the Swamp, a pedagogical space and a platform for discussion located at the center of the Biennale area, temporarily situated at the interstices of so many other “landed nations.” The Swamp adds to the Biennale, to Venice, and to the global arena a new (wet)land open for discussion, experimentation, and research on the emergent condition of post-nationalism. The concept of the swamp incorporates many of the battlefields of postmodernity: conditions of hybridity, the idea of “nature,” questions of human and nonhuman agency, strata of history and of the possibility of a future. Rather than performing a draining criticality, it is instead dangerously additive.
The pavilion is the location for a Swamp School where workshops will be held on these and additional topics of immaterial materiality, such as Swamp Radio, new forms of cohabitation, Commonism, and sympoeisis. Echoing the spatially dislocated sensations of pirate radio or the international abyss just outside of passport control, the Swamp School will take advantage of participants’ jetlagged sensorium to impress a pedagogical experience of fermentation, deep time, olfaction, fecundity, filtration, and, among other things, the future.