The ghetto of Grand Rue in Port-Au-Prince in Haiti is the host for each instalment of Ghetto Biennnale.
A shanty town at best; the ‘streets’ of the ghetto are more like zigzagging alleyways; absent of planning laws or official land titles/plots. Various artists- both local and foreign- install their work within the few weeks spent at the Biennale. There is an inherent beauty to this ghetto.
The design of the show at Documenta aims to show the compression and decompression of space and the cacophonic nature of ghetto as a 5th elevation – a ‘floating ghetto/floating city’ ceiling (essentially an extruded site plan of the Ghetto Biennale site) adding to the chaotic nature of the experience as the viewer traverses the length of the Church through the exhibition.
The sea of building volumes looming above; letting in slivers of light (streaming from the high-level church bay windows) through; informs the placements of key artworks and exhibits; delineating voids from solids- providing a shifting movement of shadows across the church floor as the day progresses and is indeed reflective of how artworks are interweaved within the fabric of the Ghetto at the Biennales.
*Based on some initial research by Ghetto Architects (Vivian Chan, Maccha Kasparian & Yuk Yee Phang) at the 2011 Ghetto Biennale
Photographs: Yuk Yee Phang