Dixit Algorizmi: The garden of knowledge – Announcements

Organized by Space Caviar and Sheida Ghomashchi.

The National Pavilion of Uzbekistan at the 59th International Venice Biennale will present a reflection on the seminal work of Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī, a scientist and polymath born and raised in the city of Khiva (now Uzbekistan). Treaty of Al-Khwārizmī On calculation with Hindu numerals (825 CE) was responsible for introducing Hindu-Arabic numerals to Europe, and it was the Latin transliteration of al-Khwārizmī’s name in Algorizmi that gave us the modern word algorithm.

Says Algorizmi: the garden of knowledge aims to challenge the myths and origin stories surrounding modern technologies, using the lens of contemporary artistic practices to explore their forgotten roots and overlooked resonances with distant places, times and cultures. The pavilion engages divergent interpretations of technology as a medium, acknowledging the depth and complexity of its history to be explored through an extensive public program.

Al-Khwārizmī’s most important research took place at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. The House of Wisdom was a place of gathering and exchange and is widely assumed to have been centered around formal gardens planned in the Islamic tradition. During his tenure at the House of Wisdom, al-Khwārizmī was instrumental in countless scientific activities involving a wide group of scientists and intellectuals. The design of the Uzbekistan pavilion will refer to this tradition in its spatial arrangement, recasting the Islamic tradition of the garden as a place of gathering and exchange as a technologically augmented space for research, reflection and experimentation. Meetings and exchanges within the Garden of Knowledge will be structured in a public program scheduled for the duration of the Biennale.

Public program: From April 19 to November 27
Throughout the seven months of the Biennale, artists, scholars, historians, scientists, writers and philosophers will be invited to address the possibility of alternative modernities in an extensive public program.

Donald E. Patel