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Radical Rethinking at Biennale: Africa and the Future Share Pride of Place  

The latest edition of the Venice Architecture Biennale marks a number of significant changes from the past, courtesy of this year’s curator, Lesley Lokko. With its focus on Africa as the cradle of future innovation, it is sending a message of much-needed change and is confronting issues of a troubled history.    Lokko gives pride of place to two kinds of stories: those that allow Africa and the African diaspora to narrate that troubled history on its own terms and those that imagine how things could have turned out radically differently. The first group uses architecture as a mnemonic device to recall histories and traditional design practices; the second as a vehicle — a time-traveling spaceship — for a kind of joyous science fiction.