From sex toys to a roller coaster that ends in euphoric death, Lithuania’s national pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, Planet of People, imagines designs for a future of hedonistic human life in space.
Curated by the Lithuanian Space Agency, an organisation founded by artist Julijonas Urbonas, Planet of People’s stated aim is to expand our poetic imagination of a life outside Earth.
“The current crisis is a crisis of imagination,” says curator Jan Boelen. “The LSA presents prototypes that let us choreograph and dream together. The most ambitious prototype is a machine for an escape from Earth that catapults us into space, where we merge into an alternative planet,” he explains. “Scientific and architectural speculations are informed by social and technological constructs as much as they themselves inform those constructs. So, on this level, Planet of People is as real as the Eiffel Tower. The only difference between them is that one is yet to be built.”
Life in space will come with challenges, problems which Lithuania’s next generation of intrepid designers and architects are primed to solve. Among the art-installations-cum-technological-cosmic-advances is Cumspin, a metal disk designed to use artificial gravity to enhance human sexual pleasure. Meanwhile, the likes of Euthanasia Coaster has been created to tackle the eternal question of death head on. The seven-loop roller coaster gives its riders endless thrills before producing loss of consciousness and eventually one of life’s “most pleasant” deaths: cerebral hypoxia, or the loss of oxygen in the brain.
The Lithuanian show might be the strangest answer to the overarching theme of this year’s biennale, the question: “how will we live together?”