2024 Venice Biennale

Birdseye was invited to participate in the Personal Structures Exhibition, organized by the European Cultural Centre (ECC) as part of the 2024 Venice Art Biennale. As described by ECC, the exhibition is “…a group show that seeks to document the diversity of contemporary art in today’s world, aiming to feature and combine different expressions from visual artists, galleries, as well as photographers, sculptors, institutions, and universities, that break away from any ideological, political and geographical barriers. Considering the complex dynamics of our global society, Beyond Boundaries was chosen as the guiding title for the seventh edition of Personal Structures.”

Birdseye’s entry is called “UNTITLED” and is made from acrylic and the deconstructed cardboard models and papers drawings from the 27 years of practice by Birdseye’s Principal Architect Brian J. Mac, FAIA. The acrylic case is accompanied by a video display showing a timelapse of the creation of the artwork.

Longtime Burlington provocateur, retired architect, and editor of 05401 magazine Louis Mannie Lionni was invited by Birdseye to write about our entry in the official exhibition catalog. Here is his full description:

“This work by Brian Mac chooses to inhabit dangerous, challenging territory. Architectural history is replete with examples of deconstruction, destruction, renovation, alteration, addition and subtraction and many other formal and functional modifications. Who, among us hasn’t experimented, in their youth, with destruction? Stripping trees of their bark, blowing up frogs with bi-cycle pumps, slicing off the tails of salamanders to see if they would reproduce, shooting squirrels with sling shots or BB guns?

All of these are genetic anticipations of the final destruction that waits at the end of all our lives. But they also ground our creativity into the cycles of life and death. Especially life. Robert Rauschenberg erasing a de Kooning drawing; sheets of yellow tracing paper, crumpled up and discarded in waste baskets in architectural offices around the world; the wolf coming to blow the house down; the earthquakes; the floods; the fires. All of it destructive, all of it feeding into the great stream of architectural creativity. Remember Gallagher? He smashed watermelons with a wooden sledge, onstage, while spectators in the first row of the auditorium reeled under the protection of plastic sheets. Or Jimi Hendrix destroying his guitar? Arman, enclosing commonplace materials within transparent polyester castings? Pennsylvania Station, destroyed in spite of the protests of so many architects, and so many citizens? The World Trade Center? Urban renewal, wiping out entire neighborhoods? Pruitt-Igoe, in Chicago, the first of the high-rise housing projects to be demolished, with the contention that they were simply the breeding grounds for drugs and violence, but the fact is that when they were built with federal aid, they were denied the additional social services to which they were entitled and which they deserved. Malcolm X would have characterized the destruction “as American as apple pie.” It certainly is the correlate of the progressive notions that have driven development in the United States since its inception. Progress has its collateral damages. In this project, the three-cube frame is itself deconstructed into a 3 x 9 frame, two-dimensionalysing it. Impeccable plexiglass construction houses the debris of a 27 year career: 27 architectural models, study models, obsolesced by sub-sequent design re-iterations, and finally, of course, by the real thing, the houses for which these models were searching deep in this architect’s creative imagination.

This plexiglass box, along with its contents, sends our own imagination back to Indigenous Peoples placing their dead on the high branches of ancient trees. To images of funeral pyres on the shores of the Ganges. Or to Columbarium walls in Italian and French cemeteries, with their neat, gridded rows of the earthly remains of lives much like our own.”



Brian J. Mac, FAIA



Louis Mannie Lionni



Chiara Becattini
Shem Roose


Awards & Publications

2024 Archello
2024 Architizer
2024 Venice Art Biennial – Personal Structures