art, gentrification, and architecture: ÅYRBRB X Frieze Project

Frieze Projects will present seven new commissions at Frieze London 2015, with the support of the LUMA Foundation.
This year’s program is inspired by Frieze London’s temporary structure in The Regent’s Park and explores propositions for mobile architectures and alternative realities. Nicola Lees, Curator of Frieze Projects, has invited practitioners and collectives from disciplines including architecture, publishing and theatre design to interact with the social, structural and cultural dynamics of the fair.

One of the most vocal to present during Frieze Project is ÅYRBRB, the collective formerly known as AIRBNB Pavilion, an art collective based in London whose work focuses on contemporary forms of domesticity.  Founded by Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava, Luis Ortega Govela and Octave Perrault, the collective was first formed on the occasion of an exhibition during the opening days of the XIV Architecture Biennale in Venice, which took place in apartments rented on Airbnb. It changed its name to ÅYRBRB in 2015 following legal pressure from the San Francisco/Ireland based company. ÅYRBRB tackles the evolution of the contemporary home and its transformations from the fortress of the family to a commodity traded online with performances, site-specific installations, events and writing. Their work focuses on the relationship between objects and their environments, and the effects of the internet on the city.

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The AYRBRB Frieze Project is large-scale interactive installation that will tackle the question of the ‘Smart Home’, curating a collaboration between cutting edge interior design and technology companies. The Smart Home is the first victim of the colonization of real space by digital space and has swiftly come to occupy a central position in debates around Big Data and its impact on contemporary forms of life. If, on the one hand, recent technological developments sustaining the Smart Home are framed as the latest advancements towards a smarter, technologically optimised world, they are also raising escalating concerns around privacy and control in an increasingly quantified world.

In an article written by I-D Magazine titled

“art, gentrification, and architecture: exploring art’s role in the 21st century city”

AYRBRB explain that “Public space is [becoming] ever more private, and the real struggle happens when your private space becomes public,” ÅYRBRB explain. The projects actively reflect upon the current political and economic situation in Peckham–how technology and capitalism work together in gentrifying an urban space, and imagining the uncanny similarity interiors of a post-gentrified world.

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Why is this important?  The Megacity.  With the growth in the global population the appearance of 17 megalopoleis at the beginning of the 21st century—each one with more than ten million inhabitants—represents a significant transformation of the planet’s physiognomy. Paradoxically, the global urban space is concentrated into just two percent of the total territory, while almost half the total population is precariously congregated inside or on the outskirts of cities, often in extreme living conditions.  The result of the dynamics of urban growth, megalopolization, and demographic overcrowding in many of the cities of the so-called Third World has been the increase in the processes of “favelization” or “slumization” of inhabited space, often extensive suburbs lacking basic services.  This raises concerns regarding the approach of urban planning to megapoleis and the expectation of the gentrification of the underdevelopment that neither the state, nor architecture, nor public policy seem to be rationalizing democratically.

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