In framing the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, entitled Reporting from the Front, Alejandro Aravena claims an urgency for architects’ renewed on-the-ground engagement with the “real.” Accompanying his title is a beautiful image: under a striking blue sky, a woman stands alone atop an aluminum ladder, looking out towards an arid and flat landscape of rocks and scarce grass. 1 We are told this is German archeologist Maria Reiche studying the Nazca Lines. Of her practice of carrying her aluminum ladder around, Aravena writes: “Standing on the ground, the stones did not make any sense; they were just random gravel. But from the height of the stair those stones became a bird, a jaguar, a tree or a flower.” Learning from Reiche’s lesson in gaining perspective, Aravena extends this image to the architects he invites, and states:

Given the complexity and variety of challenges that architecture has to respond to, REPORTING FROM THE FRONT will be about listening to those that were able to gain some perspective and consequently are in the position to share some knowledge and experiences with those of us standing on the ground. 2