Spotlight: The Uzbekistan Pavilion Goes Beyond Art to Activate Connection and Learning at the Venice Biennale

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What You Need to Know: The Art and Culture Development Foundation (ACDF) of the Republic of Uzbekistan presents “Dixit Algorizmi—The Garden of Knowledge” at the Venice Biennale’s Uzbekistan National Pavilion, which is open through November 27. The architectural and research studio Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Camilo Oliveira, Sofia Pia Belenky, Francesco Lupia) curated and designed the show along with Sheida Ghomashchi, the Uzbekistan National Pavilion, transforming it into a site of collaboration, exchange, and learning—in effect, a true “Garden of Knowledge.”

The pavilion hosted extensive public programming and featured everything from salon-style group Brutally Early Club, which was founded by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and diverse, multidisciplinary workshops presented by Panoptic Garden. The inspiration behind “The Garden of Knowledge” was the work of scientist and polymath Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwārizmī, who largely undertook his research at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, a gathering place for diverse intellectuals to meet and exchange ideas. The Garden of Knowledge is based on the idea that the House of Wisdom centered on a formal garden as is common in Islamic tradition, and would be where these scientists and academics would meet.

Why We Like It: Where many entries into the Venice Biennale focus solely on the presentation of artworks, the Uzbekistan National Pavilion instead focused on the opportunity to directly engage with a diverse range of artists, architects, academics, and more, creating a place to meet new people, hear new ideas, and exchange knowledge. There is also still opportunity to experience the Garden of Knowledge as later this month, on November 12, as the programming continues with a public meeting curated by Antonio Irre featuring opening performances and talks. And on November 19, editor-in-chief Furqat Palvan-Zade of magazine will hold a presentation on forthcoming issues and hold a Q&A with collaborators and partners of the publication. Beyond what the Pavilion has and will present, a core aspect of the endeavor is the plan to reuse and recycle the physical materials that have created the built environment, prolonging the life and influence of “Dixit Algorizmi—The Garden of Knowledge.”

According to the Curator: “‘Dixit Algorizmi—The Garden of Knowledge’ is an ongoing research platform for conversation and performance. Conceived and curated by Space Caviar with Sheida Ghomashchi, it was the national representation of the Republic of Uzbekistan at Biennale Arte 2022: ‘The Milk of Dreams.’ The pavilion’s scenography, conceived to accommodate gatherings and performances throughout the course of the Biennale, builds on the history of Islamic gardens as sites of intellectual production and exchange. In the context of ‘The Milk of Dreams,’ the pavilion—defined as a Garden of Knowledge—functions as a place of reflection on the histories and layers of meaning embedded within contemporary technologies.
Following the final performative event to be held in the pavilion, the Garden of Knowledge will be dismantled, and all its material components will be destined to new uses, including the construction of future pavilions and artistic commissions. Materials will also be donated to emerging designers and artists for reuse in their artistic practice.” —Joseph Grima

See inside the Uzbekistan National Pavilion below.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

Installation view of the Uzbekistan National Pavillion, Venice Biennale, 2022. Courtesy of ACDF. Photo: © Gerda Studio.

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