Hosted by the Australian pavilion creative directors, four Flash Formations pop-up talks were held at different bars in Venice across the two Vernissage days.
The Flash Formations saw the coming together of renowned Australians and international speakers continuing the architectural discourse begun by the start of Venice Biennale. Hosted by the Australian pavilion creative directors, these intimate pop-up talks were held at four different bars in Venice across the two nights of the Vernissage.
Topics ranged from government involvement to fabrication processes and education in architecture, with vigorous and on occasion heated debate between speakers and their audience – and the lack of microphones made the whole experience of the talks a more personalized one.
Keeping the location of each talk a secret reinforced their impact as seemingly spontaneous discussions. It also meant that attendance across the four talks ranged from over a hundred people to around twenty. Some unsuspecting passers-by speculated if there was a wedding anniversary party going on – as they would see a large crowd sitting and listening intently to that nights’ speakers enjoying a spritz.
At the start of each talk, a “Formations” rug (four x three-metre) would ceremoniously arrive on site from the previous talk, couriered by water taxi or Richard Goodwin’s boat. The rug was used as the signifying locator for the talks and offered a soft perch for the speakers and audience – compared to the cobblestone paths of Venice.
Second to the rug, participants and onlookers wore a small red LED light as they travelled to and took part in each Flash Formations talk. These lights became a signifying beacon for Australians and attendees of the Australian pavilion, so as we roamed the streets of Venice at night (usually lost en route to the next bar), you could see and connect with strangers also wearing a Formations light, and in that way, create your own formation.
The Flash Formations talks were just as they had intended to be – short, sharp and fleeting in their enactment, with perhaps some lasting effects.