The upcoming edition of the Venice Design Biennial will open from May 19 to June 18, 2023. This year's theme is Auto-Exotic.
The exotic is dead - long live the exotic. They stole from us elsewhere! What is to be done? There will be a self-elsewhere somewhere else. Designers from all over the world unite, self-colonize, self-appropriate!
In his seminal essay Orientalism (1978), Edward Said showed how since the eighteenth century the cultural investigation of the East, understood as the physical and mental space of exoticism, revealed conceptual connections with colonialist practices. Elsewhere, populated by odalisques and caliphs, full of mysteries and sensuality, exercised a fascination in Europe that was intertwined with the practices of political, military and commercial hegemony. Exciting passivity, femininity, indolent sensuality-sexuality, immobility, traditionalism, irrationality: all distinctive traits projected on the East to obtain in negative the mold where to pour the incandescent material - virile, progressive, rational - of Western identity.