999 Miles – The Road to Venice

999 Miles – The Road to Venice

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For years, I’ve wanted to attend the Venice Biennale. Or just go to Venice, period.

There are many reasons and I could justify this goal in a myriad of ways… .

still from Venice Architecture Biennale 2014 – Fundamentals / Elements of Architecture on Vernissage TV

The art, architecture and ambience of the place itself.

Venice Biennale 2013 Jeremy Deller in British Pavilion

The richness of the Biennale spectacle – the ultimate extravagance or overdose of high quality work and meeting the art world in its element.


And a few of my friends have exhibited in their country’s pavilion in the past (what’s that like?)…

Melanie Smith - Venice Biennale poster for Mexican Pavilion 2011

So, impatient to make it happen this year, but while recovering from an operation in bed and not actually able to go anywhere physically, on the 1st of January I decided to take a virtual journey there at least. I simply started mapping out the journey.

From me to there.

Inspired by Maya Lin’s use of technology to help her visualise her work, I first turned to Google Maps and tried out various potential routes – and was for some reason delighted when I discovered that from my home postcode in Poole to the Giardini pavilion is exactly 999 miles.

What would happen along the way across those 999 miles?

Where would that journey take me?

Google Map of the journey by car from Poole in Dorset to Venice - 999 miles

Across the English Channel to Cherbourg, down to Paris, across Eastern France, through the Alps to just touch Switzerland in Geneva, on into Italy to Milan, past the lakes through Verona and on to Venice. I installed Google Earth to go ‘see’ more…

Then, compelled to make something ‘real’, I dissected the pages of an old Atlas and collaged them together on the wall so I could visualise and explore this journey in a different way and without needing an electronic device switched on.

Then I switch back to screen-based media and watch an artist Yiqing Yin installing his work at the 2013 Biennale (click the image to watch it too).

contemporary art by Yiqing Yin at Venice Art Biennale 2013

All connections and threads that inspire exploration and more steps towards Venice in lots of different ways.

And so my own journey begins…

(Watch this space…)

999 Miles – The Road to Venice was last modified: July 23rd, 2020 by Michelle Rumney

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