“New Forms for Citizenship: Redefining Extraordinary” in Form N-X00 series at 2018 Venice Biennale
In collaboration with renowned San Antonio artist Vincent Valdez, Dr. Antonio Petrov of the Urban Future Lab at UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning participated in the 2018 Venice Biennale with a contribution to the US Pavilion, Dimensions of Citizenship, as part of the series Form N-X00.
From Dimensions of Citizenship: In a time when the expansion of the United States-Mexico border wall looms over more nuanced discourses on national citizenship, it is urgent for architects and designers to envision what it means to be a citizen today. Questions of belonging, of who should be included and how, are posed with every athlete taking a knee, every #metoo, every presidential tweet, and every protest sign or fist raised. Yet as transnational flows of capital, digital technologies, and geospatial transformations expand, conventional notions of citizenship are undermined. We define the term as a tangle of rights, responsibilities, and attachments linked to the built environment. And so we ask: How might architecture respond to, shape, and express rhizomatic and paradoxical conditions of citizenship?
Petrov and Valdez exhibited “Redefining Extraordinary” in the series Form N-X00: New Forms for Citizenship. The images and texts in the series respond to contemporary understandings of citizenship. Revisiting the bureaucratic application for naturalization to the US, Form N-600, this series asks an international group of architects, designers, writers, artists, and thinkers to contribute their thoughts on how inclusion and exclusion are spatially constructed. By interrogating, speculating, and reflecting on different scales of belonging, this growing collection provokes and expands our current understanding of citizenship.
The statement “San Antonio, Texas, is Puro” is possibly a provocation. The seventh-largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation — San Antonio will grow by an estimated 1.4 million people in the next 25 years — is much more than one term can describe. But yet, Puro exemplifies something ubiquitous reflected in rituals, art, tastes, values, craftsmanship, aesthetics, and authenticity. It is a quintessential participation in civic life beyond its (current day) political and ideological divisions. Lawrence Wright argues “America’s Future is Texas.” He posits, “Texas is a distillation of the nation’s best qualities, though it also reflects our deep divisions.” Puro is an entrance into this conversation. Breaking free from the avantgardisms and meta-discursive narratives it sets terms and entry points representing those who are unable to sit at the table where decisions are made. As San Antonio strives for new definitions of the future Puro transcends myopic histories, generating new vectors for action, aesthetics, generosity, equality, materiality, genuine debate, and public engagement.
“Pride of the South Side.” pastel/paper, 2004, 42″ x 72.” Collection of The El Paso Museum of Art.