I've never attended the architecture Bienniale before but have attended the last few art ones. Obviously with architecture there's going to be more of a turn to 'look how high my skyscraper is' and away from 'let's actually do something interesting' than with the art world and there were instantly forgettable rooms of clever little models and earnest eco schemes abound. However, the filler was generously padded with killer.
Israel's Aircraft Carrier was one of the first things I checked out and it's a damn shame because it was one of the best things there. The work revolved around a satirical examination of the privatisation of Israeli public companies by US companies in the seventies and eighties. This was displayed in videos and prints throughout the show but the genius was in the objects around the space.
The upstairs hosted the main gallery where regularly spaced plinths held various satirical objects and parodies. A Monopoly board replaced with ex-public companies, a jet fighter mobile, a bottle of 'holy land', chewing gum wrappers designed to look like medal ribbons, IBM ties in Hebrew, oil drum pen holders, savings tins, chocolate coins with a Shekel on one side and a US dollar on the other and a couple of other small, clever items.
The real clincher was the fact that these items were for sale. Downstairs, and at very reasonable non-art prices were all the various little things. I myself picked up a bottle of the 'holy ground' and a highly brandishable Milton Friedman notebook. But of course it took me a few days to realise that the shop wasn't a separate entity from the gallery and that I had played right into the hands of the entire set up. Just as in the story they satirised, here were little slices of Israel at reasonable rates ready to be bought by the international community.