Diary of Vardiya 12 – Treasure hunt

Day 01- 09.10.2018 Tuesday

Our second day in Venice started with a trip by vaporettos to Arsenale. Our first aim was finding a good place to have breakfast, therefore we ended up in the streets of Castello before the opening time of the biennial. We couldn’t help ourselves to look around that beautiful city, everytime trying to find a better place, resulting not having breakfast at all. Getting our cards in Arsenale, we passed from the exibition parts of the biennial, having a little clue about what we are going to see during the rest of the day. Finally we made it to the Pavilion of Turkey just in time, met Katarina and quickly tried to explore the Arsenale until our set time for digital meeting with our tutors. We had only a few hours to explore the biennial which was a little bit challenging but also fun. To me, the most incredible part was seeing all the different techniques of creating architectural models, and the materials used. The idea of freespace was taken so differently in each pavilion that it was hard to understand some of them. Exibited ideas were also strong. The Pavilion of Iceland was my favorite part, the idea of freespace and its presentation was so powerful and incredibly effective. We couldn’t help ourselves to take quite a few videos from their installation. After having a fast tour in the Arsenale, we went back to the Pavilion of Turkey, to meet our tutors. It was a nice quick talk and we continued our tour in Arsenale until the closing time. The day has ended with a glass of Sprizt and a beautiful dinner near the canal.

Day 02- 10.10.2018 Wednesday

As we had planned from the day before, we had our breakfast quickly and “climbed” on the vaporetto–which was going to be our companion for the next six days ahead of us–in order to go to the Giardini to see what was going on in the rest of the Biennale. From our experience of the previous day, we made ourselves a compact program so that we could see as much as we could. We basically started from the Pavilion of Switzerland, since it was the one closest to entrance, and continued in circles till we felt like we saw enough of what we could see by walking around for around six hours. Oh, if we go back a few hours, I should mention that some of us woke up super early in the morning in order to be able to finish reading the articles that we had received and that we should have read before our lecturers came to the Pavilion of Turkey.

As we entered the pavilions we made basic expressions, criticized or just walked around and tried our best to continue reading and absorbing what was going on. There were pavilions we lingered in and there were some we collectively decided not to see in detail just because we were so tired and there was so much to see. And there were details, like Carlo Scarpa’s, that would excite us along the way and that would motivate us to fight with the physical tiredness of our bodies. I should say that towards the end of the day, our necks and our ability to read each pavilion’s statement became the hardest task in the world to accomplish but in the end we were amazingly satisfied. We put more time to see the Pavilions of Japan, Switzerland, Israel, USA and the Nordic Pavilion and of course there were many pavilions in the central pavilion like Assemble’s pavilion that we tried to spare more time for as we had excitedly planned to see since we were back in Turkey.

That evening after our elaborate hunt in the Giardini, we sat down at a random restaurant (finding the right place to eat in Venice is a task hard to accomplish!) with the group and our coordinator from Studio-X and we all started to know each other better by introducing ourselves and talking about our future plans or what we were doing. It was a nice eat-and-talk evening activity. If I remember correctly, my day finished by going to the supermarket for gathering some food for the next day and then going back to the dormitory to finish off a whole day of journey by throwing myself on my bed and sleeping sound like a baby!

Day 03- 11.10.2018 Thursday

After spending the first half of the day with the readings, we met our tutors Selva, Greggers and Holger on Thursday afternoon. We went to Piazza San Marco and Holger Klein explained the term “spolia” with its connections between the Eastern civilizations and “reinvention” of Venice. We took a closer look at the details of narratives of St. Marco Church and the Doge’s Palace. Holger told us the story of individual elements like the tetrarchy sculpture taken from Constantinople, the marble pieces resembling to the ones in Hagia Sophia, the four horses of the Hippodrom of Constantinople etc. Afterwards we took a walk through the narrow streets of Venice to start our “treasure hunt”. We stopped by many other spolia pieces taken from Eastern world, discussed and documented them.

Day 04- 12.10.2018 Friday

In the first half of the day, we attended Deborah Howard’s presentation in Arsenal. We studied Venice and the eastern world and interactions with each other. After watching the presentation, we asked our questions and discussed together on the topic. We then talked to Holger about “Treasure Hunt” and went to San Marco to take a few photos, then come back to Arsenal and negotiate to photograph them. In fact, everyone went on their “treasure hunt” at San Marco. Then we met in the Arsenale at the time we set. We looked at the photos we took and talked on them.


Day 05- 13.10.2018 Saturday

Day 06- 14.10.2018 Sunday

The 12th shift explored the city of Venice and tried to find out similarities between Istanbul and Venice all week. Each of us had their very own experience during the week, we discussed about the interaction between the two Mediterranean cities, how it happened, the history of this interaction and how this interaction resulted. Most interesting point is the architectural elements that were “exported” from Istanbul to Venice, decorating the façades of many of the Venetian architectural examples. During the week, we documented Byzantine and Ottoman elements that can be seen in and on the façades of several buildings. Today, the collection of each have, been discussed, combined and interpreted into a representation to exhibit on our pavilion. Since process comes first in this shift, we documented and exhibited the “process” of our journey and also how two cities influenced one another.

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