Publications in Scientific Journals:

R.M. Villa, F. Andreola:
"Free(d) Time: The Spatialisation of Leisure from the XIII Triennale until Today";
San Rocco, 66 (2018), 14; 31 - 39.

English abstract:
The XIII Triennale, inaugurated in Milan in 1964 and dedicated to the theme of "free time", staged a pitiless criticism of the human condition in the capitalist system. The exhibition focuses on «the discussion on the quality of our "leisure", in its historical formation and stratification». The attempt is to show its visitors the deception of leisure and denounce the bad habits which tie free time to the cultural industry, and it centers specifically on the imposition, through the creation of myths, of a mode of production based on standardization, with the ensuing transformation of each user into a consumer and of leisure into merchandise. Although the issue is primarily sociological, it is a subject of deep relevance and already a field of experimentation in architecture. Time freed from work needs structures and specific spaces, and it acquires from the start the same socially standardizing nature as the two main categories of modern anthropological discourse: work life and home life. Since Cedric Price's Fun Palace (1960-65), a proper «mechanized homo ludens sanctuary», architects begin to explore - often critically - the potential of the leisure machine at a time when leisure is becoming one of the most powerful market drivers in developed capitalist societies. 1966 is the year in which the rising radical thinking starts focusing primarily on this issue: Andrea Branzi graduates with a project for an amusement park in Prato; after the success of the Piper club in Rome, in the same year Pietro Derossi takes on the design of its Turin and Rimini counterparts; 1966 is also the year in which Massimo Morozzi designs the cultural center inside the Emperor's Castle in Prato. One year later Superstudio, with Toraldo di Francia, imagines a «machine for holidays» in Tropea, an "artificial paradise" where a regulated microclimate is kept by controlling the natural elements. The radical research on the topic of leisure time continues for several years, showing the central importance of the issue even within the Marxist readings that articulate their criticism around free time as time of consumption, and comes to maturity in the early Seventies in Ettore Sottsass´ The Planet as Festival. Though in such speculations, leisure was again conceived as another kind of productive activity, its times and places still kept their specificity, as being clearly separated from times and places of actual production - the so-called "working hours" and "work places". Can we still talk today about «free time» as clearly separated from labour? Can these two functions still be associated to specific spatial configurations? As the time devoted to production seems to acquire more flexibility, its new "liquid" state is harder to contain in defined hours and in specific places. Work begins to surface in places of leisure, and vice-versa. Places like the Rolex Learning Center or the Google Campus seem to promote a new kind of "free space", and a new conception of free time, that are worth being investigated. The debate opened by the XIII Triennale echoes to the present day, asking for its actualisation.

Leisure, Triennale, Umberto Eco, Capitalism

Created from the Publication Database of the Vienna University of Technology.