Finally a holiday away, I said, to a country i love with the weather I so desperately missed, due to a typical British summer. This was my first time back to Venice since college 13 years ago. I must say it has change a lot since then, never mind that this I went in June and that the first was in February. There are far more boats on the water with taxi boats, and gondolas both touting for business down every small canal you come across, they end up in a traffic conga along the canal network. I must say this was more of an amusement to me and then sadness as I feel the romance of it all disappeared in part. Then i turned a corner and another through the narrow streets with window flower boxes and dramatic front doors that tell of a thousand stories to the small stores that sell masterful masks in wondrous colours and styles. The streets are also full of tourists, as much as I don't think of myself as one; I know I am, following the street signs to San Marco Square and Piazzale Roma depending on the time of day. Along the way, following of the stream of people, I came across a some galleries and exhibitions that were part of the Venice Biennale an art organisation that supports the arts with events throughout the city. The Art Biennale shows take place biennially on odd years and exhibits a curated space for each country from around the world within the historic Arsenale and Giardini pavilions.
'The Mending Project, first executed by Lee Mingwei in 2009, is a simple spatial display, which consists of a long table, two chairs and two walls of colourful threads. The artist or his assistant, is seated at the table during operating hours of the exhibition. Visitors are invited to bring in their damaged clothing or textile items and sit at the table, and converse with the mender while he/she repairs the articles with the colourful threads. When a mending process is complete, the article, with the thread ends stills attached, is then placed and shown on the table in a pile. The otherwise mundane act of mending is being transformed into a device that triggers meaningful personal narratives as well as the possibilities of emotional resonance. These interactions and exchanges between the artist and his audiences, though immaterialized, bring forth an emotive dimension in which new connections are forged, solidified and shared.' Art Biennale, Venice, Italy.
Each exhibition has the same message 'Humanism'... "Humanism is neither focused on an artistic ideal to follow nor is it characterised by the celebration of mankind as beings who can dominate their surroundings. If anything, this humanism, through art, celebrates mankind’s ability to avoid being dominated by the powers governing world affairs. These powers, if left to their own devices, can greatly affect the human dimension, in a detrimental sense. In this type of humanism, the artistic act is contemporaneously an act of resistance, of liberation and of generosity.” Christine Macel.
... and each artist celebrates and demonstrates this in unique and inspiring ways. These photos are just a snippet of my whole album from my visits, as they are the most relevant to Couchman Bespoke and sustainable living. Other exhibits showcased videos and images of future beings and the life we are heading for, with aliens and dinosaurs being a few. The future of human kind is becoming increasingly relevant to us all with climate change disrupting daily life with unexpected and extreme weather patterns leading to crop failure around the world. How will we journey forward?
Aside from the Art Biennale I also visited Murano and Burano as a means to escape the crowds, as suggested in articles I read before leaving. I found out upon stepping off of the boat that these island are so much smaller than Venice and so any group size of people will look engulfing when weaving their way from a boat down the small streets. I had a wander around Burano first and soon chanced upon an artisan working away making jewellery from Murano glass, we talked about her work and I walked away with a couple of necklaces. The streets soon became less busy so I could enjoy the beauty of the colourful houses and the sun.
For the entirety of my stay, 7 nights, I stayed on a family run Eco Farm on the mainland about an hours bus and tram ride from Venice. The farm hosts tents, wagons and a farm house to stay in; all provided for with towels, bed linen, even the tents. The family are super welcoming and speak some English which helps, although not enough when tired from a day traveling, lol. They have two dogs who bark constantly and a pony that never stops eating grass. There are designated recycle bins around the farm and even eco toilets and showers if you are very into being eco-friendly. There are normal showers and toilets with hot water and there is a nice sized swimming pool too. Look it up on Airbnb and enjoy your stay.