Undergraduate and graduate programmes offered by the University iuav of Venice:

Vesper. Journal of Architecture, Arts & Theory


Sissi Cesira Roselli, Teatro Grande, Brescia, 2011       




Vesper No. 4 Esili ed esodi | Exiles and Exoduses

Call for abstracts and call for papers


Two movements, perhaps antithetical, affect space. Individuals exclude themselves, exit (exilium, exsul, ex-solum), come out of their own land, withdraw into another circumstance, depose power from within, shun the power that holds back. Exile can be an individual choice, but it can also be a constraint that involves, cumulatively, a large number. At the same time, peoples, animals, and plants are in exodus, moving, fleeing, migrating, changing the design and the sense of territory and geographies.

Three figures take shape from these movements: the space of the journey and the traces of the crossing, the destination or just the place of arrival, and finally the image of the house, of the city, or of the abandoned “homeland”. These figures unite the two movements: certainly in exile the journey can be instantaneous; it can last as long as it takes to make a decision, to refuse, to write a text, to close a door. During the exodus, by contrast, the journey can prove to be the destination itself – in flight one may have to stop from necessity, by force, or by choice.

Choice is the engine that drives self-exile, establishing the impossibility of staying “inside” a place or a way of living, as well as the origin (also etymologically) of exodus, that is, of finding a way out, of heading towards a possibility, a promise. History imposes moments and situations in which it is impossible to stay, to accept the status quo, to embrace indirectly forced choices, ones that are demanded, necessary to save oneself. Nature is set in motion as it no longer finds suitable conditions in which to survive; Birnam Wood shall come against Shakespeare’s Macbeth, rise up and move to conquer.

In exile many authors have constructed their work by excluding themselves from the game or yoke of society or by escaping the violence and censorship of a regime; by fleeing they have found reserve homelands they have built distances and necessary voids to forge their own discourse. Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture: The Strip (1972) is a vision-script by Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis, in which a walled city traverses London, alluding to the situation in West Berlin during the Cold War and echoing some of the dystopias of the exuberant Florentine radical movement.

The hedge demarcates an elsewhere to be imagined and the given perimeter of one’s own space; it is a device for potentiating visions in Giacomo Leopardi’s thought. Today we seek that limit beyond which to look; isolation is a perspective from which to find oneself, to see how much everything is illuminated, to reconnect, without filters, to what surrounds us. In the meantime, bunkers kept in private houses design “inverse” cities, where shelter is a space conceived to eliminate any form of contact with the outside. Anonymous buildings hide the lairs of those who are outlawed and entertain relationships that are difficult to align with the lives that flow in the sunlight.

Humans are banned from the territories of Chernobyl, while in the same forbidden zone the flora flourish and the fauna proliferate: who is the exiled in this game of roles? And how relative are the positions of “the inside” and “the outside”?

In 2020, the entire population of the planet has undergone a forced exile inside private houses or in makeshift shelters away from others: an exile that, by affecting every single individual, has shaped a mass movement. The only possible journey was, as in Luigi Ghirri’s Atlas, the one offered by the intimacy of a book. Continuous and often silent exoduses mark out undrawn maps: hard-hulled boats heaving with humanity, such as in the odyssey recounted in Lamerica by Gianni Amelio, people marching and fleeing from wars and cataclysms build other places. In exodus species get lost, they conquer spaces that are alien to them; roads and bridges are built to allow them to find their way back, such as the Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon in the USA.

Exiles and exoduses sediment themselves in history, sometimes finding space in the chronicle with novel accents. While the need for a gaze from the optimal distance is reiterated, the stones of other cities are silently laid, and the blending inheritance is renewed. The two movements perhaps tell us stories of new and repeating geneses.



Vesper welcomes different types of contributions, the call for abstracts and the call for papers are organized according to the different sections.

Full-length papers must be submitted once abstracts have been accepted.

Contributions in their final form will be subject to a Double-Blind Peer Review process.



call for abstracts and call for papers >

editorial style guide >





abstracts must be submitted by August 25, 2020

abstracts acceptance notification by September 5, 2020

papers submission by November 1, 2020

papers acceptance notification by November 20, 2020



papers submission by August 25, 2020

papers acceptance notification by September 5, 2020



publication of Vesper No. 4: May 2021





+39 041 257 1542