Victoria Art Center, Bucharest: Emotional Architecture 4

Book launch and exhibition. Emotional Architecture 4

Tuesday February 25th 2014, 19h00

Victoria Art Center, Calea Victoriei 12C

Călin Dan launches the 4th volume of the series Emotional Architecture, in a video installation especially designed for the event. Emotional Architecture is a project that investigates the relation between people and their habitat. The launching will be followed by a talk between the writer Bogdan Ghiu and the artist. On this occasion, the author will introduce his new project “Collective Authorship. Private Histories of Public Architecture.”

In the presence of the His Excellency Matthijs van Bonzel, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Nederlands in Romania.

Event organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Nederlands in Romania and Victoria Art Center. Partner: MNACLab


In the period February-March 2008 Călin Dan performed a research on the institutional, social and architectural functioning of the building of the Ministry VROM (Ministerie van Volkshuisvesting, Ruimtelijke Ordening en Milieubeheer – Ministry of Habitat, Territorial Systematization, and Environmental Management), in Den Haag / The Hague. The research was motivated by his long term interest in the relation between political power and architecture, combined with a fascination with the intrinsic design qualities of the building realized after the design of Jan Hoogstad in the period 1986-1992. The research unfolded with the support of Stroom Den Haag (who acted also as a financial sponsor), and of the Ministry’s hierarchic structures.

The book:

For two months Călin Dan was a full time ”intern” at the Ministry, working from a desk with access to intranet facilities, sharing the cantina food, mingling with the employees in numerous social events. For the research purposes, he has been granted unlimited access to professional meetings, debates, think tank activities, as well as to all spaces of the building. The encounters with the architecture and the people using it resulted in a large number of photos and notes that became the building blocks of a book reflecting on the complex ways through which institutions project their public image. Next to this, Emotional Architecture 4 is the diary of a constantly re-negotiated relation between the artist and the institution he brings under scrutiny.

The building:

The birth and consequent life of the MinVROM building is not a trivial one. Designed as a manifesto for transparent and sustainable governance, the architectural object met from the beginning till today sharp – even if punctual criticism from its users. Meanwhile, it became very quickly a pious relic to an era when the political agents still wanted a public profile charged with ideals. While the MinVROM building was still under construction, a decision was made that government instances will give up their position as initiators of architectural projects, and will choose their new venues from the offer of the real estate market. Designed at the end of the Cold War, inaugurated in the short period of euphoria from the beginning of the 90s, the MinVROM building is a unique opportunity to understand the mechanisms of image creation through representational architecture, and to compare that with the new corporate strategies adopted by governments under the pressure of globalization. Meanwhile, in the context of the global downturn inaugurated in 2008, Min VROM was dismantled and its functions redistributed to other government bodies. The building waits now to be filled with new functions.

Călin Dan, Emotional Architecture 4, Jap Sam Books, 2013

Text by Judit Angel; images by Călin Dan; layout Arnold Estefan. With a conversation between the artist and Adela Marcu.

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