Sunday, 29 September 2013

Venice Protest (3) Visions in Venice

The man engrossed in his newspaper in the below detail from a large painting by Zhong Biao highlights a disturbing trend. 

There is a so-called boulevard zeitung which I look at not so much for what's in it, for what's in it I already know from the internet; I scan the rag for what is not in it. 

And what is not in it interests me far more than what is in it. 

What is not in a newspaper is a clue the true agenda of a paper and the politics and financial clout behind the paper. 

All too often we are reading propaganda presented as news. 

Many are living, as curator Gary Xu titles Zhong Biao's Visions, in a Universe of Unreality

In my photograph of the lagoon we can see the kind of damage being done to Venice on a day to day basis. One of the contributing factors is the large number of giant liners sailing back and forth through the shallow waters of the lagoon and the Giudecca Canal which is where the picture was recently taken.

A universe of unreality, a kind of Disneyverse, is being created in Venice. And the whole unreal business is probably unsustainable.

By the time the Venice lagoon barrage MOSE is completed in 2016/17 the overcrowded town may well have become completely unreal; a Venice totally overrun with cruise ship passengers, forever scurrying through the watery town's narrow alleys like plague rats.

In the spirit of unreality I took a vaporetto to the Giudecca and discussed the problem with Marc Quinn's tattooed man in bronze. Bereft of tattoos myself, I wore my Leonardo Da Vinci t-shirt for the occasion. It features one of Da Vinci's inventions, the bicycle.

We looked at the universe of unreality from our different angles and perspectives. I decided there was little I could do. And what little I could do I did. I went to the Biennale at the Arsenal dockyards and looked at a working model of Venice sinking.

There was now only one more thing left to do:

With a Campari at my elbow I sat alone outside a bar and contemplated the sun going down.


  1. Oh Gwil, thank you for taking me to Venice again - my favourite city on earth. I wish I could have sat by your side and had a Campari (my favourite drink) and discussed with you the crimes which are daily being committed there in the name of tourism. How dare they allow those big cruisers in so close? It seems as though they are rushing headlong towards disaster.

  2. Imagine these gigantic machines parked in your local High Street! They look so romantic on water don't they?

    The Campari is a fine thought. Ciao!


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