fbpx Biennale Architettura 2021 | modem
La Biennale di Venezia

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Space Suit

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Nicholas de Monchaux (American, b.1973) and Kathryn Moll (American, b.1978) of modem (USA, est.2017)



A spacesuit bridges the most extreme scales, from that of the body to the planet, revealing the intimacy and fragility of human life that connects them. A spacesuit enables humans to reach a vantage point from which we can understand the subtle truth of Earth’s geometry. We live on Earth, sustained by a thin atmosphere that rests as lightly upon the globe as fabric might. Within this tissue-thin membrane, humans’ carbon emissions have caused a climate crisis. And aerosols and global airflows have brought us, this past year, into contagious contact around the world. (A “pandemic,” from pan-demos, or “all people.”) This installation displays fragments of spacesuit history within objects that are also environments. Cross-hatching the language of reliquary and care, they are an apparatus of protection as much as of display. What is most sacred here is the careful, adaptive, and practical role that architecture must perform, intimately and effectively, across every scale of our human ecology.

Biennale Sneak Peek

Image 1 – How will we live together?
The movement of human life into Space is held out by techno-gurus from Elon Musk to Peter Thiel as a way to both fulfill our full human and technological potential, and to rise above the complex, shared realities of life on Earth. But these are fantasies, in the end, about how we can not live together; how an elite can depart, opt out, and choose not to repair our relationships with each other, across both societies and species here on Earth. The spurious assumptions at the base of such ideas are belied, most poetically, by the fragile realities of the interface between the body and the heavens.


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
Hands are a unique challenge in pressure-suits because their nature is so far from the hard, immobile spheres that pressurized environments want to be. Ironically, many buildings and architectures that try to represent the world do so by creating hard domes and spheres, and putting our bodies inside of them.

Production credits

Glove prototypes: manufactured by ILC Dover, Courtesy Bill Ayrey
Exhibit fabrication: with Davis Griffith

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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura