Day 9 - Venice: Cool random shit - It's Italy not Macedonia. Oh well. (2015) - CycleBlaze

September 26, 2015

Day 9 - Venice: Cool random shit

My second and final day of looking around Venice.

Venice scenes...
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I started by walking towards the Gallerie dell'Accademia, which took a couple of hours. Many things to look at along the way and little diversions down small streets/alleyways.

A few times on this trip I have been reminded of things from when I travelled here as a 6 year old with my parents. Tiny food for dolls houses. I had forgotten it was a 'thing', but I was obsessed by the idea of it as a kiddie.
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Mmmm. Cakes I didn't eat.
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I went via the Riato and the markets.

Rialto bridge not looking so great at the moment! When in doubt, wack some advertising on it.
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Brilliant (not). Not only are there cigarette butts all over the ground, but some lovely people have found a use for this niche in the brick work.
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OMG - it's the Grand Canal!!
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I spent a bit of time walking arund the market area. I don't know if it was because it was Saturday, but many of the stalls were empty. Also the curse of the 'it's not fresh food rather dry pasta, herbs and salt' shops selling identical products was also in evidence here. I hope that this is not happening to markets in tourist areas all over Italy? Surely not in Sicily, which has amazing markets.

There was a German couple who came up behind me as I was photographing this (for our collection of hillarious wiring messes of the world). They thought it was very funny that I was taking a photo, but felt compelled to do likewise. Scenic Venice!
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... And just around the corner was this sign. I appreciated the humour. Free 1st aid training.
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The Gallerie dell'Accademia is amazing. It is currently being enlarged and rooms are being updated/renovated, so the whole amazing building is not open to the public. BUT, what is available is overwhelming. An extraordinary collection of Venician art from 1300's to the 1800s, displayed in a beautiful building with stunning frescos, wooden carved and painted ceilings, plaster work etc. Also in the downstairs, recently re-hung rooms (sponsored by Samsung and others), were touch screen information panels where you could read in less or more detail about the painters, the pictures, the history/culture at the time of production of the works, and follow links to other connected works and painters. Brilliant. If they continue to roll this out, it was be an extraordinary resource. Much better than a stupid audio guide. I spent about 3 hours and was numb with it all by the end.

I continued to walk around the area south and east of the gallery and stumbled apon the Biennale pavillion for Azerbaijan!! The smaller, newer-participating countries need to rent spaces to exhibit, rather than have their purpose built pavillions in the main Biennale enclosure. Anyway it was Azerbaijan - I had to take a look.

Mid-centuary 'non-confirming' art from Azerbaijan. The artists 'resorted to the use of allegory' according to the form guide. Seemed like camels, oil feilds, and the huddled masses were popular themes.
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Here are some huddled masses.
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Then I walked a bit more.

A bit more 'proper' Venice for youse all.
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Absolutely. Bring on the revolution!
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There are little stickers everywhere, on electricity/phone boxes, downpipes and handrails to bridges. Here's a representative sample (of sorts). Note fixie up top, and the man's head lower down. His little face was all over the place, but never with any explanation. Odd.
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4pm. Let the drinking begin.
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According to some awful English home renovation show, it's all about light fittings in Venice interior design. So here's some in a shop.
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There are also lots more photos of canals, old houses, wells etc. But people who know me at home and have an interest can see them later!

Santa Maria della Salute
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More protests against the massive cruise boats next week.
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Then I stumbled on a banner advertising the Biennale Pavilion of Lithuania. I followed the signs into a palace and found photos of what I imediately knew were photos of Armenian churches and stone crosses. What?!? Is there something about a secret link between Armenian and Lithuanian culture that I had failed to ever know?

Photos of churches and stone crosses from Armenia in the entrance hall of the palace.
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It turns out that the Palace is a high school (was a high school?) for people of Armenian background in Venice. Endowed by a very rich Armenian diamond merchant who was living in Madras India in the first half of the 20th C (Aga Samuel Mookartish Moorat) and run by Mekhitarist monks. It was hard to tell if he had ever even been to Italy?? Also, if it was still a school or now just very cheap accommodation for backpackers.

Anyway, through the entrance, it opened up into a garden. All very palace-like.

And here's a picture.
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Needless to say, the Lithuanians, were down the back of the garden in a concrete shed!

Really? Very attractive. It actually really suited the exhibition though.
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The exibition, titled 'Museum' was a curated set of artworks and artifacts by Dainius Liskevicius incorporating the works of the artist himself as well as objects relating to Bronius Maigis (who attacked a Rembrandt painting in the Hermitage in 1985); Romas Kalanta (a student who set himself on fire in Kaunas in 1972 sparking huge demonstrations against the Soviets); and Antanas Kraujelis (the 'last partisan' in occupied Lithuanian, who shot himself in 1965 after 12 years living in a bunker). Gosh it was good! So much multilayered and connected story telling and a surprising amount of humour. There was a 10 minute film called "Free Time" which quoted this poem by the artist's son at the start (it's also at the start of the exhibition guide). For me, it's connected to art, history and politics - and the role of the artist as curator and interpretor of all the above in this exhibition.

There was
a creator walking
who had created himself,
but he was
very sad
about not getting it right.
Where he was bound for,
nobody knows.

If you are interested, there is some information in the form of an artist's statement here:

And then it was basically time to start thinking about heading home.
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Tonight I am missing a concert by Elaha Soroor, a singer from Kabul. Even writing this I am pissed off with myself that I chose to miss it. It's in a theatre in Venice a fair way from the bus stop to Mestre, and I just decided it was too hard on my own. Plus I have to get up and start cycling early in the morning!!

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