The black and white horizontal and vertical lines represent current town planning. Colorful round shapes in between, symbolizing the desired diversity. The fabric labyrinth is intended to answer the question: Who are we?
There was little to do in the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The grounds for the biennale were already quiet – the crown sometimes offers an advantage, the Dutch exhibition is quieter than the other pavilions. Not surprisingly, because the Biennale offers more than you can comprehend in one day, with moderate work you can quickly get on.
Something is at stake in Danish design. The Danes flood their pavilion. For months all the rainwater was collected to be filtered, purified, and boiled into tea for all visitors meandering and dripping – teas made from lavender and verbena that grow in high shelves in the same pavilion. As water runs through the streets in the Netherlands and Germany, a radical answer is sought here to the question of how we will live in our cities in the future: with water. Such an effect would have suited the Designland Netherlands well: bold, innovative and, of course, all that water.
But the Netherlands took no risk. He chose the lousy security of a politically correct answer. The complicated texts accompanying the installation amounted to: Architecture is a product of white men. Also have towns built by women of color. This emphasis on identity politics leaves the real question unanswered: what qualities should the diverse city of the future have? The theme that the Netherlands generates, but does not develop, is also interesting: How does a city do justice to other forms of life than humans?
For example, thinking is crippled by color or gender politics (they like to overlap in discussions). The struggle for equality suffers from fundis in their own circle. Once NRCColumnist Clarice Gargard has been harassed for years by white men who poured racist and sexist excrement on her because she had to defend herself against attacks from her own anti-racist camp last week.
Gargard turned out (still) to follow JK Rowling on Twitter. The Harry Potter writer has been canceled on social media for “transphobic” comments. She had wondered what other word was used for “menstruating”. By sticking to the word “woman”, she would discriminate against transgender people. Now Gargard had failed to stop following Rowling and she too was done.
The same witch hunt affects American Harvard lecturer Carole Hoven. The evolutionary biologist refuses to speak of “pregnant people” instead of “women”. “This ideology has crept into science and into my lecture hall for the past five years,” Hoven said. Consider the trend in obstetrics to replace “breast milk” and “mother” with “human milk” and “birthing parent”. In the VPRO series monthly commitment about menstruation, they speak of a “person with a cycle”. When program director Marlijn Aarts spoke about it on the radio, it escaped her: “you are in a group with women”. She put a hand to her mouth and corrected herself, ‘Uh sorry, I mean women again.’
But science is based on fact, said Harvard researcher Hoven, “and the point is, there is a biological difference: men produce sperm, women produce eggs.” Fellow researcher Laura Lewis responded: “I am shocked and frustrated by transphobia and the hurtful comments from a member of my department.”
There is an important battle to be fought, but the emancipation of color and all that is not straight becomes a revolution that eats its own children. Awakened, sexist radical activists form an aggressive linguistic police force that enforces purity. It doesn’t matter that the American poet Amanda Gorman chose Marieke Lucas Rijneveld to translate The hill that we climb. Rijneveld is not black, therefore unsuitable. Bij1, the political party founded for this emancipation, is being demolished by its own Jacobins.
When awakened tyranny takes hold of other political parties, the left will shrink yet another negligible quantity. Because this craze for cancellation is pushing moderate progressives to the right. And all other leftist ideals have disappeared.
The Art Biennale will be in Venice in a year. Again, the central question is: how are we going to live together? The Netherlands can take revenge. Create a bold pavilion that is truly thought-provoking.
Marcia Luyten is a journalist and writer.
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