Reporting from the Front / by Karl White

Visiting Venice made us feel like we were players in the theatre of life, enter stage left. Despite all we'd heard about how touristy it was getting, there's a romantic and theatrical atmosphere to the city that crowds and souvenir shops can't suppress.

Plus, it's pretty much an architect's dream to visit the Architecture Biennale.

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Having visited the Gardens in the off-season, the contrast was striking. With the Biennale closed, walking through feels like being in a theatre with the lights on. Once filled with exhibits however, the pavilions are activated and transformed into engaging, dynamic spaces.

The focus of the 2016 Biennale was to share the work of people whose work looks at issues of "segregation, inequality, peripheries, access to sanitation, natural disasters, housing shortage, migration, crime, traffic waste, pollution and communities", and how these different dimensions are synthesised/integrated with creativity, boldness, pertinence and common sense. 

At first glance, some of the exhibits seem to have gone slightly off piste. But more than the fine grain detail of the actual content, it was really thought-provoking to see what mattered in other countries - the challenges faced, the possible solutions, the image that is portrayed to the world  through the lens of (a) select person(s), and how that image is conveyed visually and spatially.

Stay tuned to the next installment of our European adventure, the Carlo Scarpa Pilgrimage...