Common grounds

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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Trip End Sep 30, 2012


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Where I stayed
Oasis Bed & Breakfast and Residence Venice
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Friday, September 28, 2012

Today we got up early as we had a big day of culture ahead of us - visiting the 13th architecture biennale in Venice!

First thing, yoed and aviv went looking for a supermarket so we can make our own breakfast. He came back with a bag full of goodies and aviv came back after hearing several Bella!

The architectural biennale theme is common ground - how architecture is used as a place for common ground and the common ground architecture has all around the world, it was divided into two places - the giardini (gardens), where the biennale has been taking place every two years since 1895 and in the arsenale.

Being the yekes that we are, we bought online in advance tickets and since we didn't have a lot of time, we also bought a guided tour for both places. Of course we got there early, and after waiting, we met our guide - an Austrian girl whose been living in venice since October. Our guided group included a Canadian couple and an Australian-American couple. It didn't take long till we realized our guide sucked! She didn't know anything and totally ignored us. What a waste of money! At least the exhibition was really really good, combining projects from architects all over the world, we really recommend it! You can buy the iPad/iPhone app to see all the different projects.

After we finished with the sucky tour and the main exhibition hall, we decided to ditch the guided tour of the arsenale part (which would have been with the same guide - that didn't even say goodbye to us!!) and walk around the different pavilions in the gardens. There are 38 pavilions each of a different country built in different times since the biennales openning. We started of course with the Israeli one, which was designed by zeev rechter in 1952, it had quite a critical exhibition in it, curated by erez ella,talking about American influence on Israel. In the ground floor there is some kind of souvenir shop with goodies from Israel of the 70's...for example:postcards that can be fold to illegal settlements caravans or car dashboard dolls of menachem beggin, Jimmie carter...upstairs there explanations for all those souvenirs...it was well done and very critical but hey maybe it was too much critical???

The second pavilion was the russian which displayed the existence of a former secret cities in russia of the cold war era, those cities were build to be a huge playground for experiments in a vast areas most of them science. In the upper floor of the exhibition was presented a sci-fi city been currently built in skolkovo, near Moscow. This city is supposed to bring together state of the art research and IT business in areas such as nuclear energy, computer science and so forth. The exhibition was extremely cool, as each person got an iPad and had to scan barcodes which flashed on the wall, and each barcode gave a different presentation on the project, it was cool! Btw, apparently when this exhibition opened, there was a protest outside of the Russian pavilion, protesting against the imprisonment of that Russian girl band...

From here we randomly went through different pavilions - Japanese, American, german, Canadian, denemark, and the Swiss one. We especially loved the Nordic pavilion, which was built around three trees which continue through the roof, it was really pretty!

It was getting pretty late, so we decided to leave the giardini and try to see as much as we could in the arsenale part of the biennale.also, we knew aviv will quickly be bored with so much culture! The arsenale had much more abstract projects on the notion of common ground, such as architect students taking over a public kiosk, urban photos by David struth, an exhibition devoted to the art of copying and a few tributes to certain architects such as Adolph loos and so forth. While we went through it quite quickly, it was a great experience, and even though the biennale "drank" most of our time in Venice we were really happy we went there.

It was already getting late - 6 pm is close to curfew time as aviv's bedtime was approaching. We were by the water and we found a good looking restaurant which serves fish dishes - finally something which isn't pasta! I had bass in wine and purchini mushrooms which was great. Yoed had a Venetian style fish which sadly wasn't to his taste, so to make it up for him and for dessert we went to have some great gelato before taking a water bus back to our lido suite. Today we have to pack, as tomorrow noon we are leaving Venice back to Milan. Our vacation is ending, oh no! :-( we had such a great time here in Italy it is hard to leave. Oh well, we still have half a day tomorrow, stay tuned!

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