University of Manitoba students and professors contribute to the Venice Biennale

The Theatres of Archimagination event series at the Virtual Italian Pavilion proposes "a renewed praxis of architecture in the wake of a troubled world.”

A team of University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture students, local artists-architects, and associate Dean Research and Associate Professor Lisa Landrum are contributing to the Venice Biennale  – via the ‘SunShip’ exhibit at the Virtual Italian Pavilion.

The team created the Theatres of Archimagination, an ongoing event of Five acts “toward a renewed praxis of architecture in the wake of a troubled world.”

The event kicked off with an immersive multimedia polyphony, layering sights, sounds, echoes and rhythms of a city in lockdown called Sonic Trails: Lockdown. The installation was designed by fourth-year undergraduate architecture student Max Sandred, Örjan Sandred, a Sweden-born composer and professor at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, with composer Hans Tutschku, Professor and Director of the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Composition.   

In Sonic Trails: Lockdown, the first event, visitors were immersed in various events of a lockdown city occurring regardless of their presence. Using multiple audio-visual samples of these urban phenomena, the installation created a new inhabitable place using layered projections and four loudspeakers. 

Artificial intelligence algorithms determined the composition of this environment in a constant process of deconstruction and reconfiguration. Pitches and harmonies are dissected from environmental noises, familiar objects and places are reduced to abstract visuals and spaces, rhythms and motifs are brought to focus.

The installation generated its musicality by manipulating architectural qualities of sound, light, and space. Music and architecture are not treated as separate entities; rather, the environment of Sonic Trails becomes the musical experience. Ultimately, Sonic Trails: Lockdown attempts to unlock the reciprocity of music and architecture, through an embodied aesthetic experience of a city alive and evolving on its own.

Sonic Trails: Lockdown was supported in part by the University of Manitoba Undergraduate Research Award program and is part of the Theatres of Archimagination contribution to SunShip: The Arc That Makes The Flood Possible, as part of the Arts Letters & Numbers (ALN) exhibition in the CITYX Venice Italian Virtual Pavilion of the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.

The Theatres of Archimagination program continues in four other Acts, to be held on September 25, October 2, November 6, and November 13.

For more information on all five acts of Archimagination, visit: