The City Who Had Two Navels

Venice Architecture Biennale 2018, 26 May to 25 November 2018

Philippine Pavilion
Artiglieri, Arsenale – Venice

Representing the Philippines at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, is the exhibition The City Who Had Two Navels conceived by Edson Cabalfin as a two-themed exhibition: “(Post)Colonial Imaginations,” and “Neoliberal Urbanism.”

The Philippine Pavilion showcased works by a think-tank consortium composed of artists, 4 architectural schools, and a non-governmental organization. They are:

  • Yason Banal’s multi-channel video installation entitled Untitled Formation, Concrete Supernatural, Pixel Unbound
  • Futures of a Past by the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts Architecture Program
  • HyGrids: Projecting the Future of Philippine Cities by the University of the Philippines-Diliman, College of Architecture
  • Badjao Eco Village: Empowerment through Indigenous Architecture by the University of the Philippines-Mindanao
  • Sulog: Currents of Unity by the University of San Carlos School of Architecture, Fine Arts and Design
  • Architecture as Participatory Design featuring TAO-Pilipinas, a women-led non-profit NGO composed of technical professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, environmental science, social development and humanities

Public program in Italy

November 2018
A series of lecture-workshops by Philippine Pavilion curator Edson Cabalfin, conducted in different cities in Italy:
November 17: in Padova, at the Sanctissimae Trinitatis Church compound
November 18: in Milan, at the Office of the Philippine Consul General
November 20: in Venice at the Fava Church
November 25: in Treviso
The audience learned the basic details about Philippine architecture and listened on the following points: (1) Architecture as Response to the Environment; (2) Architecture as Placemaking; (3) Architecture as a Process of Creativity; (4) Architecture as a Production of Meaning; and (5) Architecture as Reflections of Society.

August 2018
As part of the Meetings on Architecture of La Biennale di Venezia, the Philippines presented “Exhibiting Architecture: Display in the Age of the Postcolonial and Neoliberal,” an afternoon of lectures, screening of films and a panel discussion with the speakers:

  • Lecture 1: “Nation as Spectacle: Philippine Pavilions in International Expositions, 1887-1998” by Edson Cabalfin
  • Lecture 2: “Spatial Reclamation as Resistance,” and screening of the short video Occupy Pabahay: Bulacan and Maduw no Pagdutong by Lisa Ito-Tapang
  • Lecture 3: A talk on deconstructing ‘architecture’ as an expanded and discursive field with the presentation of various videos from YouTube, by Yason Banal (participating artist of the Philippine Pavilion)
  • Screening of the film Bontoc Eulogy directed by Marlon Fuentes

This activity was hosted in three different venues: on 24 August in Venice at the Teatro alle Tese, on 25 August in Milan (Philippine Consulate Office), and on 26 August at the Fava Church in Venice.

Homecoming Exhibition – Manila, Philippines, 2019

The homecoming exhibition of The City Who Had Two Navels, the Philippines’ entry for the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale, took place at the Tall Galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET), located at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas complex, in Manila.

The exhibition was inaugurated on July 2, and is on display until October 19, 2019.

Public programs held at the MET:
29 August 2019
MET in a Day: Contemporary art for Tour Operators
A guided tour of all the exhibitions on display at the museum, followed by an open discussion on the museum’s activities and programs.

20 July 2019
METReads: Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels
A book reading and discussion led by Prof. Francezca Kwe, joined by exhibition curator Edson Cabalfin, on the concepts and ideas behind Nick Joaquin’s oeuvre in relation to the exhibition themes.

2 July 2019
A primer lecture on “Curating and Designing the Pavilion” by exhibition curator Edson Cabalfin.

Pavilion Website: