Elise Misao Hunchuck
Clara Kraft Isono
Linn Phyllis Seeger
RELAY was a 24-hour global conversation hosted by the Biennale Architettura 2021. Chasing the hour between noon and 1pm around the planet in a global act of transfer— RELAY was a performance in holding time and space for one another, passing ideas on, and on, and on— moving across time zones while continually staying in the present.
In response to Biennale Architettura 2021 curator Hashim Sarkis’ framing statement ‘How will we live together?’ RELAY gathered over 50 architects, artists, activists, curators and designers around questions of building a collective voice: ‘How can we speak to one another? How can we speak together?’
Participants included Onyeka Igwe (UTC+00), Himali Singh Soin (UTC-02), Zoé Samudzi (UTC-05), Raja Feather Kelly (UTC-05), DJ Lynnée Denise (UTC-07), Nicholas Galanin (UTC-09), Kapulei Flores (UTC-10), Adrian Lahoud (UTC-11), John Carty (UTC+12), Daniel Boyd (UTC+11), Abdul Abdullah (UTC+10), Ellen Pau (UTC+08), Sahej Rahal (UTC+08), Anna Engelhardt & Sasha Shestakova [Distributed Cognition Cooperative] (UTC+05), Stella Mutegi and Kabage Karanja [Cave Bureau] (UTC+04), Tabita Rezaire (UTC+03) and many, many more illustrious figures around the world who generously gave of their time, all of whom can be seen here.
Alongside RELAY was a parallel broadcast of live performances and discussion by members of FFF, including:
16 July | 4pm: Pastoral Complex
FFF contributors Benjamin Reynolds and Valle Medina with Zairong Xiang and including excerpts of a letter written by poet Daisy Lafarge. Pastoral Complex compiled slices from a film of “Pastoral Complex”, a drawing room completed by Valle and Benjamin of Pa.LaC.E that reproduces the conditions of a single contour line on the sub-alpine peak “Culan” where there is 14.3% oxygen available.
16 July | 7pm: Μηδέν (Miden)
A performance by Korina Zaromytidou (FFF) and NoYo Studio and Associates as a blending of the dimension of physical presence with the co-habited formed space of digital existence, utilising space, sound, body, motion, words and shapes, exploring the possibility of a hybrid dialectic.
17 July | 12am: The How (the howl)
A semi-scripted exploration of the both limited and infinite realm of virtual communication by Linn Phyllis Seeger (FFF) + Gianni Something. ‘The How (the howl)’ revolved around the contemporary strife for synchronicity between two strangers conversing across time zones.
17 July | 4am: Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidentally searched
A performance that stitched together seemingly disparate and out-of-context visual material from the British Library Flickr collection into a fictional narrative co-created and improvised in real-time. Any similarity was performed by Keren Kuenberg (FFF) and Sean Cham.
17 July | 7:30am: Weaving Networks, Traversing Scales
In this “process-in-thinking” conversation, Lana Judeh (Birzeit University) and Mirna Pedalo (FFF) wove a dialogue, forging a link between histories, contemporary realities and potential futurities in Palestine and Bosnia & Herzegovina; two contested geographies where the question of the nation state project remains either unsolved, obstructed or severely challenged.
17 July | 10am: Bringing Water to Venice
A sonic exploration of submerged soundscapes. Through interviews, hydrophone and field recordings, Heather Contant and Ifor Duncan performed encounters of two forms of watery interaction afloat the Venice lagoon: first, the historic labour of rowing fresh drinking water from the river Brenta to the city of Venice, and second, the submerged choruses and vocalisations of fish species within the lagoon.
RELAY was streamed online and broadcast at satellite events in Accra by the African Futures Institute and hosted by Prof Lesley Lokko, the next curator of the Biennale Architettura, and in London at Filet Space. RELAY was also live tweeted by a host of alumni and current students of the RCA School of Architecture including: Ayanna Adannay Blair Ford, Monica Patel, Wilza Silva Mendes, Michelle Sinn, Xiaohan Xie, Alistair Napier, Nathan Quainoo, Colin Polwarth, Matthew Darmour-Paul, Agata Nguyen Chuong and Bruna Montuori. And expert production for this gargantuan project was supported by Matthew Darmour-Paul.
RELAY ended with a conversation between Hashim Sarkis, and FFF’s lead curatorial team for RELAY Adam Kaasa, Thandi Loewenson and David Burns. As Venice began to reach its midday heat, we returned the baton to the place it had begun.
After 24 hours of furious, gentle, intimate, humorous, heartfelt and frank discussion across the globe, we have no single answer to the questions of how we will live together, how we will speak to one another, and how we will speak with a collective voice? Instead, perhaps more productively, we have a plethora of possible answers, negotiations and experiments towards how this can be done, and a host of new questions to take us forward.