A Fragile Correspondence returns to the V&A Dundee

A Fragile Correspondence to the V&A Dundee
Scotland+Venice 2023 Amy McEwan Aoife Nolan Carl Jonsson Neil McGuire Mia Pinder Hussein Kristina Enberg Alissar Riachi Alyesha Choudhury Andy Summers Credit Matthew Arthur Williams

A Fragile Correspondence will return to Scotland in November 2024 where it will be showcased at V&A Dundee after its May to November run this year in Venice.

Commissioned by the Scotland + Venice partnership and curated by a creative team consisting of the Architecture Fringe, -ism magazine, and /other, A Fragile Correspondence has run from 20 May to 26 November 2023 at _docks_cantieri cucchini (Cantieri Cucchini, S. Pietro di Castello, 40, 30122) situated between the Giardini and Arsenale as part of the 18th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia.

A Fragile Correspondence returns to the V&A Dundee
A Fragile Correspondence Orkney introduction Work on display in Orkney section
photo by Daniele Sambo

From May to November this year, the exhibition attracted over 15,000 visitors with feedback from exit surveys showing that 100 % of visitors would recommend the exhibition to others. The exhibition has been praised by visitors for its poetic expansion of what architecture can be, highlighting how we can better understand the landscapes of Scotland by paying closer attention to the natural world through various different languages such as Gaelic, Norn, Scots and English.

Visitors also praised the beautiful displays and how the project presented a wider picture of Scotland, often reflecting upon significant moments in the nation’s collective memory such as the closure of the Ravenscraig steelworks.

From May to November 2023, the exhibition hosted eleven events including events and workshops organised as part of the professional development programme which has supported young people from across Scotland. Outside of Venice, events also took place in Scotland and Ireland to support the exhibition with a total of 19 collaborators taking part.

A Fragile Correspondence returns to the V&A Dundee
Birch trees of Ravenscraig Work on display in Ravenscraig section photo by Daniele Sambo

A Fragile Correspondence asks how a closer relationship between land and language can help architecture be more attuned to the environment in which it operates. In doing so, the exhibition explores alternative perspectives and new approaches to the challenges of the worldwide climate emergency. From the forests around Loch Ness, the seashore of the Orkney archipelago, and the industrialised remnants of the Ravenscraig steelworks, the project takes us on a journey through three Scottish landscapes across the Highlands, Islands and Lowlands. 

Through creative explorations including artworks, photography, sculpture, installation work, film, audio and sound, and by proposing a new lexicon of terms and definitions, the exhibition looks to see the potential in possible futures that sensitively work in correspondence with the land rather than simply upon it.

About the creative team 

The project is a curatorial collaboration between the Architecture Fringe, -ism magazine, and /other. Their curatorial approach centres on a shared understanding and appreciation of diverse cultural nuance, lived experience, and a close reading of social, political, and environmental contexts. 

The Architecture Fringe is a self-initiated non-profit volunteer-run organisation which explores architecture and its impact within our collective public life. -ism magazine is an independent publication based in Glasgow with a desire for bold and critical reflection on the built environment and creating accessible writing for voices of diverse backgrounds. /other is a collective of POC (people of colour) creatives that centres the marginalised individual within architectural discourse. 

A Fragile Correspondence returns to the V&A Dundee
The Ravenscraig section of A Fragile Correspondence Work on display in Ravenscraig section photo by Daniele Sambo

Representing each collective is Neil McGuire and Andy Summers for the Architecture Fringe, Kristina Enberg, Amy McEwan, Aoife Nolan, Alissar Riachi for -ism magazine, and Alyesha Choudhury, Carl C.Z. Jonsson and Mia Pinder-Hussein for /other (pronounced: slash other)

Exhibition participants include Dele Adeyemo, Prof. Donna Heddle, Aaron McCarthy, Frank McElhinney, Dr. Mairi McFadyen, Hamshya Rajkumar, Raghnaid Sandilands, and Dr. Amanda Thomson. Exhibition collaborators are Simon Forsythe for Lateral North, and Ann Louise Kieran for North Lanarkshire Council.

Amanda Catto, Head of Visual Arts for Creative Scotland and Chair of the Scotland + Venice partnership said: “The Scotland + Venice partners are delighted that our contribution to this year’s Biennale Architettura has been so positively received by visitors from across the world. 

A Fragile Correspondence has enabled us to strengthen Scotland’s reputation as an ambitious and innovative centre that is internationally open to new ideas and partnerships. With plans confirmed with V&A Dundee, we’re looking forward to sharing this important and thought-provoking work with audiences from across Scotland, and further afield. Our thanks go to the creative team and their collaborators for bringing such a breadth of vision and depth of research to the project.”

©2023 V&A Dundee