“Belonging,” the curatorial quintet of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale, After Belonging, argue, “is no longer something bound to one’s own space of residence, or to the territory of a nation.” For this group of Spanish-born architects, academics and theorists—Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco, Ignacio Galán, Carlos Minguez Carrasco, Alejandra Navarrese Llopis and Marina Otero Verzier—the very notion of ourbelongings and what it means to belong is becoming increasingly unstable.
After Belonging is the sixth incarnation of the Triennale and the first one in which a single curatorial thread has woven all of the festival’s activities together, including the international conference. The goal of the two primary exhibitions—On Residence and In Residence, including a series of Intervention Strategies—is to develop platforms with the aim of “rehearsing research strategies,” providing new ways for architects to engage with “contemporary changing realities.”
While the European Union and the Schengen Area (the first successful transnational non-federal agreement for free movement of people) is becoming increasingly strained by nationalist rhetoric and a growing fear of open borders, development of an all-African passport will, in the words of After Belonging’scurators, “allow many to expand the territories they can call home.” As such, being “at home” today has different definitions. The ways and places in which we reside—be it a rural farmstead, a studio apartment, or simply a room—are changing, and rapidly so. Our relationship to the objects that we “produce, own, share and exchange” is fundamentally tied to the question: “where do we belong?”