Venice Biennale’s ‘Lightbox’ Exhibition Explores Material Memory

Lightbox — Jorge Hernandez Architect in Venice 2018 from PLANE—SITE on Vimeo.

The European Culture Center’s Time Space Exhibition during the Venice Biennale 2018 features a new short film depicting the spatial qualities of light in architectural design, both as a material and metaphor.

This collaboration between architect and professor Jorge L. Hernández and photographer Carlos Domenech explores their endeavors in providing a lighting-based design solution for the Williamsburg, Virginia courthouse. Battling the issues of security and privacy of the court with the need for natural daylight, Hernández recreated the cupola, a vernacular roof turret intended for ventilation for illumination instead. Light, entering the courtroom from above, transforms the previously dull space and becomes, “an allegory for justice.”


Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

The film features glimpses of the exhibition including the diagrammatic models and images of the built project. The venue itself is curated to accentuate contrasts between light and shadow, drawing upon the architect’s study into the effect of light on material and space. As a cultural trope of truth and aspiration, light plays a significant role within the idea of memory and history in architecture. Its celestial effects, such as in Hernández’s church preservation projects in Santiago de Cuba, are further explored in the film.


Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

Courtesy of PLANE-SITE

Echoing Hernández’s interests in heritage, the Palazzo Bembo in Venice serves as an ideal exhibition venue for to showcase his work. “Lightbox” will be open to the public until November 25, 2018.

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