"Design always presents itself as serving the human," state Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley, "but its real ambition is to redesign the human." Their curatorial statement for the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial, which will open later this year and is themed around the title Are We Human? The Design of the Species: 2 Seconds, 2 Days, 2 Years, 200 Years, 200,000 Years, brims with reflective and often prescient statements such as this. All that will be encompassed by this Biennial, they say, will revolve around one pressing provocation: that design itself needs to be redesigned.
If one thing is certain, this Biennial will not come off as a 'trade show'. Wigley (New Zealand) and Colomina (Spain)—both Professors of Architecture at US institutions (Columbia and Princeton, respectively), theorists, writers, and critics—have exerted a profound influence on architectural discourse and pedagogy over the course of their careers. This Biennial, on the other hand, serves as their first formal foray into the world of 'design' – a field which few architects actively engage with.
In this exclusive interview with ArchDaily the curators discuss their intentions, criticise the traditional 'Biennial' model, and describe how they—alongside Andrés Jaque and the Office for Political Innovation—intend to spatialise the show against the backdrop of Istanbul – one of the great nexus of the world. Here, they also formally announce the launch of an Open Call for two-minute films.