© Francisco Nogueira
Open Call: In Conflict – Venice Biennale 2020
Extended Deadline: 30th August 2020

1. About
In Conflict is the Portuguese Representation at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The Portuguese Representation in 2020 is commissioned by the Directorate-General for the Arts and curated by depA architects, which is also responsible for the exhibition project.
With the support of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and Mira Forum, In Conflict launches an open invitation to select three proposals for debate to be part of the official program. The three selected proposals will be part of an international cycle of six debates, hosted in: Venice, at the Portugal Pavilion; Lisbon, at the headquarters of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale; and Porto, at Mira Forum. This cycle will take place from August to October 2020 with two events held in each of the three cities.
In each city, a pair of guests invited by the curators will coordinate one of the debates, and another debate will be the result of a proposal chosen via this open call, producing a cycle with six acts. A second volume of the catalogue of the official Portuguese Representation will be published on these six debates, with contributions from all participants.
The aim is to extend the reach of In Conflict by calling for proposals for debates that promise to bring together the agents of the transformation of city planning and design – including people linked to activism, politics, journalism, research, architecture and the arts, for example – both locally and internationally, and in an open and cross-disciplinary dialogue.
The proposals sought should promote a plural discussion without false consensus about some of the challenges posed by the need to live together, contributing to the response of the Portuguese Representation to the challenge launched by the curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020, Hashim Sarkis.

2. The Portuguese Representation
City and Territory, as collective constructions, are the primary arena of conflict, understood as the action of opposing forces translated as dissension. This condition, implicit to a pluralistic democratic space, shapes architectural production.
In Conflict responds directly to the question How will we live together? – posed by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Biennale Architettura 2020 – by learning from processes that question the issue of dwelling in its physical and social dimensions, and where conflict plays a crucial role. Public resilience and reflection transform these processes, which are still stirring, into valuable learning moments, to better understand architecture’s transformative and political power.
Recalling the portrait drawn of Portugal in the film Non, ou a Vã Glória de Mandar by Manoel de Oliveira, In Conflict proposes a vision built upon a series of struggles that have yet to be overcome. The Portuguese Pavilion challenges the public to participate through two complementary moments: exhibition and debate.
The exhibition, at Palazzo Giustinian Lolin in Venice, provides a narrative of Portuguese architecture through democracy, based on seven processes affected by material destruction, social relocation and popular participation. All of these were the subjects of broad media coverage, their struggles amplified by the press – taken here as a barometer of action and public involvement.
These processes are testimonies of a democracy that began with an impoverished Portugal, facing deep housing failures, which were aggravated by the demographic urgency of decolonisation. Today, more than four decades of democracy later, this reality remains fragile, marked by the persistence of informal neighborhoods, by urban growth based on speculation in urban centres and by the abandonment of the interior of the country.
These cases constitute milestones along the exhibition journey. Based on each one of them, other projects with affinities to the problematic, scale or modes of action are called up for discussion. By bringing together their clashes – which remain in the Portuguese collective memory – these processes build a broad and cross-cutting portrait of the first 45 years of Portuguese democracy viewed through its reflection in Portuguese architecture.
In Conflict seeks, through an exhibition and debates, to consider the role of architecture as an artistic, public, political, and ethically-bound discipline. Faced with the impossibility of solving all contingencies, it is urgent to consider how to create places where everyone has a seat at the table, to imagine how we will all project a common future.

3. Aim
The aim of this call is to select three different proposals for the design and development of a debate, in a free format (e.g., assembly or round table), for each of three moments: Venice, Lisbon and Porto.
The proposals must state clearly the reason behind the debate that will be organised, the group of conference-goers and the respective moderators. A specific theme is required, along with a broad set of participants and a detailed model of the event.
These debates will be promoted and included in the In Conflict program and will have the logistical support of the curatorship and of production teams of the Official Portuguese Representation, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and Mira Forum. The Directorate-General for the Arts – Ministry of Culture of Portugal and the La Biennale di Venezia Foundation also support this open call. The events in Porto and Lisbon may be in Portuguese or English. In Venice the event must be in English.

4. Elegibility

Applications may be submitted by an individual or collective applicant. No applicant, as an individual or part of a collective application, may have a family relationship with any member of the jury, under penalty that the proposal may be deemed inadmissible. The proposal will be eligible provided that it cumulatively meets the following requirements:

  • The candidate person or team is the author of the original proposal.
  • The proposal is original and unique.
  • The proposal is not, in any way, defamatory, obscene or illegal.
  • The formal requirements listed in the subsequent provisions of this regulation are met.

Each applicant may submit one or several proposals, in which case only the proposal with the highest score among the various proposals submitted by the same applicant entity shall be considered.

5. Dates
Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 pm on 30 August 2020, mainland Portugal time, by email, sent to the official email of this call: call@inconflict.pt.
Multiple individual or collective entries are permitted and a registration fee shall not be charged under any circumstances.
Any additional clarification may be addressed to call@inconflict.pt. The results will be announced via email based on the contacts provided by each proposal and published later at an opportune time.

  • 14 May 2020 – Announcement of this open call.
  • 13 July 2020 – Deadline for submission of questions..
  • 27 July 2020 – Deadline for responding to the questions.
  • 30 August 2020 – Extended Deadline for submission of the application (instead of 28 June 2020 previously announced)

For more information, please go to Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa website.