Diary of Vardiya 9 – Venice: Surface, Geometry, Texture, Colour

Day 01 – 11th of September, Tuesday
The day started with the best part of being in Venice, we took the vaporetto ride to Arsenale. It was more like a small teaser of what is waiting for us in the narrow streets of this improbable city. Then we reached our office for the week. It was incredibly different than what we saw from the photos. In photos, you can’t see the mysterious movements of the veils or even feel the chilly atmosphere which creates a dawn-like feeling when it is combined with the light blue colour of projections.

The first thing we did was to introduce ourselves to the others, and try to have an idea of their interests, other than the reason why we are all there, architecture. Even though we didn’t know a single thing about what we were going to produce at the end of the week, our tutors didn’t give us any hints. They gave us a mission: to find ‘ornaments’, when we are wandering around the city or The Biennale. It was quite a mission. Some of us didn’t have a previous idea of what to collect and some of us directly went for the thing they had planned already.

We spent a couple of hours in Arsenale before we met at the Pavilion of Turkey for Jolanthe Kugler’s presentation. It was planned as a digital conversation but luckily she came to our pavilion herself. She told us how ornament is more than decoration with a modernist point of view. This helped each one of us to understand what to look for in the streets the next day.

Day 02 – 12th of September, Wednesday

Today, we started the day at Giardini. During our tour in between pavilions, we also continued on recording our “ornaments”. It was a twofold morning session for us. Because we explored not only the pavilions and the content of the exhibitions in the context of Biennale, but also filtered the space and relationships in order to be able to collect “ornaments”. We also analyzed the architectural and urban spaces of Venice to collect “ornaments” in different contexts in these two days.

After the exploring session in Giardini, we arrived at our pavilion in Arsenale and started working on defining “ornament”. We had the visual material that we had gathered both yesterday and today. Each one of us prepared a Pecha Kucha presentation and in a way curated the collected material according to a re-definition of what ornament is. The presentations and discussions were inspiring. We did realize how similar we think and how different we think. Based on some keywords, we redefined the term “ornament” individually, and synthesized new ways of looking into the term “ornament”.

Day 03 – 13th of September, Thursday

On the third day of the workshops, we finished off the last of the Pecha Kucha presentations of the ornaments we had identified in the previous two days at The Biennale.

Following this, physicist Mehmet Erbudak spoke to us about a method used by crystallographers in identifying molecular compositions found in crystals. This involved identifying 17 categories of crystal geometries, which we then applied to the tile patterns of San Marco Cathedral. After a workshop identifying the different categories found in San Marco, each of us chose one of the floor patterns, and using our computers we manipulated the original colours to create a contemporary design.

Day 04 – 14th of September, Friday

We started the day with a brief presentation by Jorg on how to utilize the stamps and the colours. then we proceeded to create our ornaments as Jörg instructed us, only using the stamps and colours he gave us to manifest our creativity.

Our work consisted of three parts. Firstly, we were mostly free on the patterns we used, independent from the fact that we only had triangles as stamps. After the first part Mr. Niederberger did a presentation about his own realized works, and some digital ‘pattern-play’. He explained how he would prefer that the work produced by the Vardiya participants follow a common module: the triangle.


Therefore the second portion of the work was more modulated regarding the creation of the ornament, using only the triangle stamp as the formal reference. We kept on producing consecutively and received critiques. The only rule was to use the triangle stamp, and to ‘think’ the design as little as possible, creating the work as how we felt like creating.

Then arrived the final and third portion, which was the most interesting part. As it required to create a relationship between two entities, it was no longer only instinctive. We selected two works that were previously produced by other participants and used new elaborations to merge these two. At the end of the day we received critiques again.

Day 05 – 15th of September, Saturday

In the morning of the 5th day of the shift, we put the veil down and started to paint our patterns on it. Each of us started from different corners in order to discover the transactions between those patterns. During the painting, visitors were curious about what we were doing and participated in the painting part. Visitors who participated into our workshop, make the process more active. Thus the most crowded day was the 5th day of the shift. At the same time some of us prepared both the videos and the books of 9th shift. At last, we finished the exhibition of the 9th shift and hang the veil back.

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