CHAIN CITY

Installation

Venice, Italy

2008

Since the era of the Grand Tour, Venice has been the consummate tourist destination. To preserve its central industry, Venice must embalm its historic identity while struggling with the modern world: Venice is too small, too slow, too inefficient, losing its population and authentic civic life, over-polluted, over-exposed, and sinking. The idea of Venice, however, remains as compelling as ever, and while modernity has threatened its physical existence, so too has it provided countless avenues to reproduce itself globally. At its most delirious, the “Venice effect” exceeds mere citation to the extreme: the reproduction of the city itself in other parts of the world. With Venices springing up in Florida, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Qatar, and Macau, Venice may be a city fixed in time but fluid in space. Two facing screens display simultaneous videos recorded from the bow and stern of a gondola navigating a sequence of canals. The real-time musings of a gondolier—a real citizen living in a real city—materializes from beneath the performer and stage set. The video, assembled from a variety of global sites and characters, transcends the limitations of the thriving but empty global brand and offers a model for the hyper-modern city in which authenticity and geography are outdated concepts. This project is in collaboration with Douglas Cooper and nEmoGruppo.

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