A threshold to the exhibition in the form of a sort of time capsule, this space presents crucial transformations of technology and culture with the single common thread of their date: 1997. The year the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was inaugurated appears not only as a turning point for architecture’s history, but also as a prophetic prism for emerging paradigms across the board—from post-digital life and emerging forms of esotericism, to the post-human and the development of other anthropologies.
The Airlock represents the techno-cultural condition in which the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was developed and into which it became a global symbol. A diagram including signs, photographs, books, and diverse objects defining 1997 culturally, technologically, and politically presides over the gallery. News footage and music from this year, along with photographic evidence of the drastic mutation of Bilbao, are also included. Extensive documentation from the Guggenheim Bilbao’s architectural project, designed by Frank O. Gehry and realized with a diverse team of adventurous collaborators from various fields, completes the experience of this introductory environment.
An active landscape of works by key artists and architects of our time, the Garden presents full-scale works in place of the usual drawings, models, and documentation that are customary in architecture shows. While architects manifest their involvement in debates that transcend edification, works by contemporary artists testify for the dissemination of architectural concerns beyond the realm of standardized, identifiable built space.
Animation, performance, post-humanism, artificial intelligence, and the search for the Deep Self, are key elements in this choral assemblage. Haunted by the predominant feelings of historical urgency and disorientation that characterize our existence in the present era, the works featured in this space also offer means of overcoming the pressures of our time.
The exhibition extends beyond its physical limits through a digital “Bubble,” an online collection of various forms of media that further contextualize and illustrate the works of the Garden and the Airlock. The Bubble facilitates multiple readings through which to navigate the show, alongside educational materials that expand information on the artworks featured. In addition, it also offers specific contributions by highly influential artists and thinkers.
Access to the Bubble is available to all visitors of the exhibition through the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao website and downloading a specific app created and developed specifically for the occasion. This environment will encompass and expand an array of functions typically assumed by traditional museum equipment: audio guide, exhibition catalogue, educational space, and microsite. Present in the exhibition as an additional level of activity will be multiple documents— guest contributions, curatorial essays, additional documentation on artists, and hyperlinked contents, made available simultaneously in various formats including automated voice-synthesis.
Download the exhibition app