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CIVIC in Venice: Week One

We’re beginning to settle in, and getting to know the Cannaregio area. The morning routine includes a cappuccino by the canal followed by a walk to the supermarcato for fruit and juice. Google translate has helped us through our evening meals without a human translator, and our studio is starting to come to life. Outside it’s hottest around 3-5pm, so this is when we retreat indoors to cool down.

Yesterday we visited the Giardini for the Architecture Biennale. The Swiss And Serbian pavilions were amazing, with a much simpler and experiential approach to addressing global questions than the other pavilions, which tended to include more exhibition/presentation-style displays. Scale and sound played an important role, with abstract ideas offering a less prescribed solution to problems, allowing more space for contemplation.

In the evening we chatted over a map of Venice with Aldo, one of the residents at the Casa dell’Ospitalita. We had no translator, and understood very little of what he told us. We found this really interesting, though, as we now have a story of Venice, 8 floors tall, with waiters and chefs opening windows - a mystery involving drivers and carrots and photomontage.

This evening we will have a small welcome party with the residents and some friends of the Casa dell’Ospitalita. Saturday is the Festa del Redentore, when a long line of barges join together to make a bridge between San Marco and the Giudecca, and fireworks are set off to celebrate the end of the plague of 1576. Next week we will return to the Biennale, to visit the Arsenale, and the other half of the Architecture Biennale.

The opportunity to stay with the real people of Venice is offering us a much broader view of the city, we are simultaneously tourists and observers, both inside and outside of the theme park. Tonight we will begin the mapping process. Mapping the personal, with people who know and feel the real Venice.

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