CFP: PhoneHome: 2017 XX Chile Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism: UNPOSTPONABLE

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Call for Papers:

PhoneHome: 2017 XX Chile Biennale of Architecture & Urbanism: UNPOSTPONABLE

How can art, architecture and design engage with issues of involuntary expulsions and incarcerations that demand critique as well as active and empathetic engagement? What does it mean to inhabit such limits and limitations?

P-Lab (Performance in practice Laboratory) of CXI (UTAS Creative Exchange Institute) in association PSi P+Dwg (Performance Design Working Group of Performance Studies International) seeks video submissions for PhoneHome, a curated exhibition at Chile’s XX Architecture & Urbanism Biennial (Valparaiso: 26 October – 10 November, 2017)

We live in an age where those crossing borders, experiencing conflicts and seeking refuge/asylum become unhoused and confined in the punitive and un-homely environments of detention centres and refugee camps, which have been created in the name of ‘safety and security’.

In the 1982 movie E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial needs to “phone home” in order to be rescued, and constructs a communication device from electronic components found around its hosts’ house. Exemplifying a stranger in a strange land – exiled from its own home – the detained alien (hailing from beyond the known world) is yearning to return and make connection with family, community and domicile.

35 years later we inhabit an age where countless humans are forced to leave their homelands and seek asylum elsewhere: finding themselves defined as ‘aliens’ and confined in unhomely refugee camps and detention centres. What does this mean for those of us who are relatively secure in our location, for whom locale is critical to our research and practice?

This installation incorporates videos, created by artists, architects and designers, which play on mobile phones embedded within replica models of a refugee cabin. These ubiquitous devices, no longer tethered to place (such as home), are now linked to individuals who transmit globally. As a body extension, such portable phones are also a means for situating, orienting, documenting, representing, conveying and resisting a life lived: inherent to what Lebanese artist, Rabih Mroué, calls the ‘Pixelated Revolution’.

The notion of ‘phone home’ as a spatially improvised communication device, provides the means for integrating issues of mediation, alienation and detention in performative statements that aim to be actively discursive. The selected projects (peer-reviewed by an international  panel) will be arranged within the exhibition space so as to impact on the observer’s body: itself viewed as inherent to the installation.


Exhibition Design

The concept is to have a row of uniform structures each with its own interior world responding to the brief.

A row of identical architectural models of emergency housing cabins, based on those housing Syrian refugees in Jordan, sit within a mirror-lined niche recessed into a wall in the gallery, which reflects the cabins in a mise-en-abyme, while also reflecting the viewer who has to peer closely in order to gaze at the videos inside.

Each of the selected works will be exhibited within one of the architectural models, which are scaled around a mobile phone and constructed from white acrylic. Inside is a mirror box framing the phone screen upon which a looped video plays. The spectator peers in through the barred windows to see the video reflected within as a distinctly constructed world.

 The cabins are viewed by those who are compelled to kneel in order to peer through the bars and comprehend the moving images accompanied by a soundscape heard on headphones. While seeing their own eyes reflected, the viewers are simultaneously observed as figures forced to bow to the particular positioning of the cabins.

Artists who wish to be included should submit the following information by 4 August:

  • The artist(s) full name, role in the project (e.g.: architect, designer, composer) and any institutional affiliation.
  • A Title and 100-150 word description of the proposed video.
  • Initial footage and/or storyboard to demonstrate the intent for the visual and sonic contribution in the exhibition.
  • A website and/or portfolio of creative work

Proposals will be refereed by an international panel.


  • Call for Proposals Opens: 10 July
  • Proposals from Artists/Architects/Designers due: Friday 04 August
  • Peer Review Process (part A): approx. 07 – 21 August
  • Artist Initial Acceptances sent: 28 August (final approval dependant on submission)
  • Artist Submissions due: 25 September

All submissions by document transfer (such as to and

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