Curated by Angela Rui and Maja Vardjan, and organised by the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana, 25th Biennial of Design FARAWAY, SO CLOSE responds to the observation that although the city remains the model within which the evolution of contemporary society is discussed and interpreted, we are recently witnessing a growing percentage of people that leave the city for other contexts and environments. The Biennial develops from the physical exploration of seven conditions all over Slovenia on which designers were invited to reflect. This is a contemporary phenomenon characteristic of our era: young, informed and emancipated people who have grown up within urban models bring their values into non-urban spaces.
The theoretical appropriation of the so-called Alter-urban within the context of BIO 25 has been made possible by the de-centralization of the biennial itself, together with the physical observation and response of the participants.
The framework of FARAWAY, SO CLOSE is an experiment in formats: the designers have been asked to think of a potentially novel interpretation of a Slovenian local dimension in order to investigate new questions that can also be seen as crucial in a broader context.
BIO25 develops at seven locations in Slovenia. International creative figures, named Translators, have been chosen for their ability to use design and architecture as tools to investigate contemporary issues. Alongside them, selected Slovenian individuals from various fields, named Profiles, offer their knowledge and originality as inspiration in order to articulate design practices and a speculative scenography to be presented at the Biennial. Divided into seven groups, participants are developing possible scenarios that enquire into local and global issues, using the existing Slovenian territory as a paradigm.
Translators and Profiles, together with selected participants, form seven teams or Episodes: UNDERGROUND RELEASE is set in the subterranean world of caves in the Mayor's Cave near Grosuplje; OCCUPYING WOODS at Rožni studenec near Kočevje, edge of virgin forest; AFTER UTOPIA responds to former mining infrastructure in Trbovlje; BRAND NEW-COEXISTENCE explores the failure of modernity in the urban context of Ljubljana; COUNTRYSIDE RELOADED researches a rural playground of Genterovci in the Lendava area; RESILIENCE OF THE PAST explores a quiet Alpine setting near the Soča river that was once a raging battleground; and NEW HEROES explores the theme of migration using the proximity of the sea off the Slovenian coast.