Title: POETIC & KINETIC - Code: T6H3S0
Contest: Venice / 2011
By: A. Graovac / J. Djokic

Views: 2488 Likes: 0






POETIC & KINETIC modern symbiosis of Venice and its visitors WHO IS VENICE? It was defeated without siege, but by chain of distant and close events, with special due to the discovery and building of steam ships far away in England. The set of historical circumstances made Venice lose its supremacy on the sea, and consequently its centrality in other fields: money, material goods, ideas and visions were no longer produced here, but imported from elsewhere.

What a change. What a loss. Real weltschmerz.

But the beauty and the magic stayed. As the new age started, beauty and magic became a perfect resource for Venice. Resource that only needs to be exploited, and there is no need for reproduction. Status-quo turned out to be a utopia fulfilled. And then, far after Venice lost its battles, the conquerors came to stay: melancholic, dandies, tourists of all profiles, old ladies, students, hobos, rich, artists and fake artists, bohemians, rotten aristocracy, aristocracy to be, eccentrics and many other beauty and pleasure seekers.

So, today Venice is like an old lady whose beauty became the legend, and is lady’s only property. She has no illusions that her beauty could increase, but she hopes that she can keep for very long what she still has. That is why beauty is so passive, dried relict of mighty Republic, transformed into the mega brand, tourist machine par excellence. Tourism and happenings make core of Venetian contemporary life: its citizens live quietly on the edges of this stage.


Being so, Venice resists linear time flow. Actually, Venice resists any kind of time flow, any change. It demands to be treated as segment of eternity in the real word. And this is fine. Really, if there are places that deserve such special, extraordinary attitude, Venice is definitely one of them.

In such perspective, Venice can be seen only as a finished entity, totally designed system whose elements can’t be changed, only repaired – like a perfect interior. And this is fine, as well.

Except that boundaries between privacy and publicity work differently than in case of ordinary cities. Walls, facades of the buildings are just the primer framework of public spaces, but the main façade is something else.

The other façade, the one that is boundary between what is city’s privacy, like Venice itself is a person, and rest of the world being publicity, is the ground plane – floor and pavement taken as a whole, continuous surface. This firm, but thin sheet, simulates solidity while whole city actually floats over mud and salt water, hanging on centuries old rotten sticks. What is under the cover is comparable with some nasty disease, which ruins health and vitality, and eventually brings death, and worst of all causes hopelessness that discourages the ill to take any real actions. Even more, the ill never talks about it, and rarely even thinks of it. The others know only rumors, but no facts and prognoses.


Finally, we agreed that this trend of keeping Venice out of reality of contemporary city is reasonable and productive manner. The focal problem that arises out of it is: How to do that? How to keep the patina beauty, and minimum of its content, so the city is still real and not just a mask? How to put (non architectural or non physical) layers of history, which is Venice’s essence, into the space, to make it visible? How to emphasize connection between the spirit and the matter? And, after all, how to create a surrounding in which is suitable to think of sinking and decaying, and other filthy infrastructural problems, and to solve them?


So, where to intervene? To gain: what?

Tourists and adventurers of all kind “suffer” the accession of curiosity and energy. Those are restless people of good will, in seasonal search for beauty and joy. They would be happy to help. The idea is to help the interaction between the city and its visitors. They come looking for sensations, and to articulate their energy – by seeing, hearing, feeling, walking. Some of that energy can be used directly for the life of the city. It is the symbiosis: visitors take sensations, and in return, they charge the infrastructural systems which maintain Venice – pumps for drying the mud, extraction of moisture from the air and buildings, flotation, reparation of structure.

This proposition aims to make a full circle of giving and taking, both for Venice and visitors. What we need is a win – win mechanism, which eliminates passivity and makes all subjects and participants active and satisfied.


Spatial intervention contains two compatible sub systems: one that causes sensations, alias energy, and the other one that collects it.

Vivid and surprising visual, audio, smell appearing sequences are distributed all around Venice, designed to increase joy and consequently energy emission. These new spatial, but non built interventions refer to Venetian past and culture, in very broad sense of meaning. Scenes from the paintings of Venetian masters, figures of interesting and important people who used to live or stay in Venice, movie scenes which represent glorious, embracing, or funny moments, heroes from novels and comics – any of these could appear out of nowhere, and pass by a stranger. These bring sudden excitement and emotions to spectator – may be fear, joy, kindness, even love. Technically, this emotion – provoking system is very simple and familiar today: network of hologram projections and audio effects allocated all across the city. All of them are connected to the central archive which coordinates appearances and positions them to suitable locations.

The second sub system collects emotions transformed into energy donation for the city. Basically, energy is voluntarily given by visitors / spectators, and it is collected and directed by new infrastructural system with two basic components: thin and sensitive net, laid over existing pavement of public spaces, pedestrian routes, piazzas, bridges, that receives kinetic energy and brings it to the energy collectors located in channels. Net receives willingly gifted kinetic energy – jumping, running, kicking – transfers it to the collectors/transformers placed under the water, the only free place in city area, where it is going to be directed where necessary for city’s structures maintenance.

So, when you get a surprise, a gift from Venice, give something back: jump, kick, run, pres and knock with the walking stick over the net! It’s like you give Venice a hug.


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Time: 6 giugno 2011
Category: Venice
Views: 2488 Likes: 0

Tags: Adriatic Sea , Arts , Current sea level rise , Djokic , England , Graovac , Scripps Institution of Oceanography , Technology , Veneto , Venice