Open for Maintenance is not an exhibition. It is an action framework for a building culture beyond the prevailing model hinging on the exploitation of resources and humans. The spotlight is put on previously used materials gathered from over 40 national pavilions and exhibitions at the 2022 Art Biennale, as well as on a broad network of Venetian and German activist groups. By carefully working with the existing—in material, social, and urban terms—the German Pavilion renders visible processes of spatial and social care work which are usually kept hidden.
Open for Maintenance squats and maintains the German Pavilion “as found,” including Maria Eichhorn’s contribution Relocating a Structure for the 2022 Art Biennale. In this way, the Art and Architecture Biennales become spatially and programmatically interwoven for the first time. The new architectural interventions are oriented towards local needs and include a ramp for accessibility, an ecological and nondiscriminatory bathroom, a space for meetings, a kitchenette, a material repository, and a workshop. The interventions, made entirely with materials salvaged from the 2022 Art Biennale, address questions of social and spatial inclusion in addition to resource issues.
Open for Maintenance transforms the monumental German Pavilion into a living place of (re)production. Assisting various groups from civil society, university students and crafts apprentices will help to maintain, repair, and care for social infrastructures across Venice as part of the Maintenance 1:1 workshop program. Designing with the unpredictable—be it the unknown availability of materials or the open-ended participatory processes—generates creative possibilities that spell an optimistic outlook for architecture while simultaneously contributing to its regeneration as a social practice.