Critical Run Sydney

by the-biennial-project 27. October 2011 16:04

 

CRITICAL RUN  SYDNEY                       Marlene Sarroff


Artists with a social conscience have always looked to a group or a movement that provides a space for expressing ideas and debate on issues of the day. Critical Run Sydney was first activated in April 2010 by two Sydneysiders, Saha Jones and Nicole Dennis. The Critical Run provides Sydney artists with a platform that generates debate on social and political issues, actually an art format - that becomes a frame of interaction, form and expression, both visually and socially.

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Nicole Dennis (left) and  Saha Jones (right), the facilitators of the Sydney Critical Run.

Critical Running is a debate format conceived by Danish-French artist Thierry Geoffroy. He has been creating stimulating situations that help participants develop their awareness of emergencies in today’s contemporary society. Each project intends to enable participants to face together, before it is too late, the important issues of today through debate. The Critical Run is a format for debating while running. In a collapsing world (he suggests) we cannot continue to sit and sleep through conferences or make small talk at openings. New forms of critical debate have to be activated. Running through the city, participants can train their awareness muscles on a journey that will leave them breathless and invigorated. This art format is an artwork in itself and has increased its focus on becoming widespread by expanding into a global artistic movement. It has spread to major cities worldwide including Moscow, Naples, Cairo, Brussels, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Venice, New York, London, Istanbul and now Sydney.

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The Sydney Critical Run has staged several runs through different parts of the city, debating subjects that arise at the time and are topical and urgent.  During the 2010 Sydney Biennale, it created several  subjects for debate, mostly concerning the motivations and aims of the Biennale.  It included debates such as – ‘Corporate sponsorship for the arts - Do artists know the aims of their sponsors?’.
Members of the public were asked, ‘What is the theme of the Biennale?’ Another run took place in response to a sudden change of the Australian Prime Minister - Critical Run ran down King Street Newtown (an inner Sydney suburb) and debated issues of ‘political diversion, gender roles and democracy’ and ‘is social media ruining our lives?’, as well as ‘is coolness apathy?’

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Artists are not known for their sporting prowess, so getting them to run could prove troublesome. The Sydney Critical Run invests an incredible effort into promoting the run, in having young energetic leaders, in talking up aspects of originality, art history, or the artist’s duty for advocating change  - all of course valid and important issues.  Immediately you find yourself saying yes, please count me in!

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The Critical Run Sydney’s formal banner was SHOULD ARTISTS BE INSTITUTIONALIZED? In response to Goran Tomic’s exhibition ‘See Saw’, held at The Vanishing Point Gallery, we were invited to explore the topic based on Tomic’s own experience as a self taught artist. The run started from the gallery.

At first, the run can seem like an endurance test, depending on your level of fitness (or lack of). However, as the run progresses it becomes extremely invigorating. Although as you can imagine, it can be disconcerting when you are starting to sweat a little (or pant heavily) and a microphone is thrust into your face by a very fit knowledgeable inquisitor, and the questions roll out to you and there is no choice but to rapidly reply. Speech becomes an integral part of the run. As the critical run is a format for criticism, it’s not running to escape somewhere but running for solutions. It requires critical solutions.  The questions are fired and answers fired back, the thinking evolves, the group moves along. Words, thoughts, ideas have to be to the point, you can’t talk too much in between the slight gasping for breath. The video camera comes around to you - stamina and will power must avail as you can’t afford to appear too embarrassed about your public persona - although I think it is unavoidable. 

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Upon completing the run you feel inspired and invigorated - a very positive experience all round. As Saha Jones says, ‘Critical run draws attention to the fact that we separate our minds and our bodies – it is trying to bring them back together. People think it is unnatural, they think, ‘Why do you need to run and debate? But it’s a metaphor, its really intelligent. If you are activating your body then in turn you are activating your mind, it leads you to new places, it gives you energy’.

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The energy will be pumping at this years Venice Biennale as The Biennial Project and the Critical Run Group will meet - and it is anticipated that The Biennial Project will be putting their running shoes on. The theme of the Venice Biennale Critical Run will be ‘Can Freedom of Speech be Curated?’ – a subject that we are sure to have opinions on – that is if we can manage to make ourselves understood through our panting! See you there! See Venice Critical Run for more.

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But Seriously Folks……..

by pweiner 15. October 2011 08:45

Ok, we know that you, our fans, are used to a fun, art-oriented Blog post from us - and as you know, we generally aim to please.

But this week we feel that it is important to chime in and voice our support for Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Boston. 

Anna, Laura and Eric are all Americans living in the northeast of our fair country. We all feel the pain of barely keeping our heads above water.

 

Living here in The USA we notice how year after year life seems to get harder. We mourn the loss of ‘The American Dream’ which we took for granted and thought would always give us the chance to live decent lives.

Jobs have been lost, debt continues to pile up, and insurance rates keep rising while the services they provide seem almost non-existent.

Is anybody else shocked when they receive un-managable bills for things like the dentist or the veterinarian? Good health for our mouths and pets used to be a given - now they seem like unattainable luxuries. The list of economic grievances goes on and on.

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Personally all three members of the Biennial Project have very real American stories of our own economical difficulties over the past few years.

We are not just the Jet Set International Art Rock Stars you know us as.

In reality we also work at other jobs simply to provide life’s basic necessities. None of us are starving or dying of poverty like a lot on our poor little planet, and with that in mind we are grateful to the lives we currently lead, but…..

Anna is a nurse who for the last 19 years has worked with the impoverished Spanish speaking population of Boston. Last spring she lost her job and now she is having the fight of her economic life trying to keep her house.

Eric works as a photographer. Work is scarce and the photography industry pay rate has not seen any increases in the past ten years. He also lost his home and is back to being a renter.

Laura is a real estate broker. There is not much to sell at the moment and her husband lost his employment and had to take a job three hours away from Boston for a lot less money and a whole lot more hours.

We all have parents who spent their life savings on complicated and inattentive medical care.  All of us have post graduate degrees and vocational training but we are always stressed out and feel like we are barely getting by.

The lists can go on and on.

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Instead of complaining, we, The Biennial Project see that it is time to take action.

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We, the Biennial Project stand with the brave and honest Occupy Wall Street/Occupy Boston organizers who are protesting against social and economic inequality, corporate greed, and the influence of corporate money and lobbyists on government.

 

You will see us at the gatherings; we will donate our time and resources to keep the organizations going and hopefully educate people on what is going on economically and what we can all do to make it better.

 

Let’s get this party started……

Occupy Wall Street

 

Occupy Boston

 

Photos by Leigh Hall and Eric Hess

 

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LOST PAINTING ALERT!

by the-biennial-project 7. October 2011 08:47

It’s true – some ASSHOLE stole our painting.

But we’re not taking this lying down.

Click here for The Whole Sordid Tale!

The Story of the Lost Biennial Project Painting

 

You can see Our Beloved Painting clearly in the photo below,

on display at a cool, hip art gallery,

with attractive arty people in attendance.

Oh Dear Painting, how we miss thee!

 

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Other Campaigns and High-jinks

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

by the-biennial-project 29. September 2011 08:50

Think that nothing that The Biennial Project will do to get attention will shock you? 

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

    Think again.

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Adult Content | Venice Biennale Campaigns

We Came…We Saw…WE PARTIED OUR ASSES OFF!!!!

by the-biennial-project 7. September 2011 08:52
We Came…We Saw…WE PARTIED OUR ASSES OFF!!!!]]> The Biennial Project V.I.P. Opening Reception for the 54th Venice Biennale and Awards Presentation for the 2011 Boston Online Biennial is a smashing success!!

It all began, innocently and calmly enough, on a peaceful Sunday evening in the lovely hidden garden of a beautiful pallazo….

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But the quiet would not last for long…….

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And before you knew it, the fabulous V.I.P. glitterati-filled gala was in full swing!!!!

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Old Friends were re-aquainted….

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                                                                                                                                                                               New Alliances were formed….

                                                                                                                                           charlene and friend

And, yes, even recipes were exchanged!!

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Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when The Biennial Project announced

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with much fanfare--to the anticipatory masses that were gathered…

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The Winners of the 2011 Inaugural Boson Online Biennial

—including the First Place Winner, Hans van Meeuwen!!!

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In fact…..we would say that all in all it was a Good Timin’, Wine Guzzling (44 liters to be exact!), Hob-Nobbing, Uber-Networking, Seen-And-Be-Seen-Old-Fashioned-Throw-Down-Of-Party-Until-The-Clothes-Came-Off (more on that in our NEXT blog post!!!) Extravagana---the likes of which has not been seen since the days of yore when the founding mothers and fathers of Venice first dug out the canals and threw up the grandest palazzos!   There were Tate-showin’ artists and critics, collectors, and curators galore all engrossed in scintillating debates over the hottest theoretical art issues of the day!                                 

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Hell…we didn’t know the half of what was going on by the end of the evening….

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BUTT…..

we do know of one very special little hi-jinx….

and you’ll have to tune in next time to find out!!!

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Art and Capitalism in Venice

by the-biennial-project 10. August 2011 16:59

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Here is a great shot of Laura Rollins from The Biennial Project participating in a sublime guerilla performance art piece on the famed Academia Bridge in Venice during the recent opening week of the Venice Biennale 2011.

The other artist in the piece made replicas of Louis Vuitton purses as a statement on the vapid materialism and low self esteem of The International Tourist – those who spend way too much money on a simple bag decorated with this universally recognized status symbol of great disposable wealth.

You see if you look rich by flaunting your materialism, then you look better then the poor and therefore are treated with better respect. The symbol is meant to say to everyone who is not carrying a Louis Vuitton handbag that it’s owner is better then you, the non-owner, because the owner has more accumulated wealth then the non-owner, you.

The irony of this slyly subversive performance piece is that this bag IS a replica – a ‘knock-off’ - with the joke being that Laura (playing the role of The International Tourist to perfection) bought it for 15 Euros.

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Laura is able to continue this artistic collaboration by gauging the reaction of the unknowing public. The pedestrians of the globe will look at this ‘art piece’ and make judgments on Laura, which are incorrect since they do not know that this is not an actual expensive Luis Vuitton bag.

The artistic statement is carried even further by the fact that the Western population knows that it is easy to get a knockoff Louis Vuitton Bag, sullying the shine of the actual real purse owning rich people – those who want to set themselves apart from the have-nots by this materialistic status symbol.

People will assume these people with ‘real’ extravagant means are simply putting on a show and will be questioned as being middle or lower class. The real middle and lower class people carrying the knock offs will go about their day thinking that others think they are more special, hence wealthy. In fact they are revealing their true position in the class structure, because we all know that people can and do buy fake Louis Vuitton pocketbooks.

You see the point that Laura and this ingenious Authentic Venetian Artist are trying to get across is that a knockoff Louis Vuitton purse is really the great equalizer in our modern capitalist society. The middle and lower class, by striving to appear ‘better then’, have brought the people who ‘are better then’ because of greater wealth, down to an equal surface level.

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In doing this we can no longer judge people hiding behind their self created exterior status oriented presentation - and we are now able to look deep into their  souls full of insecurities and self doubt (which we all share, no matter what side of the tracks we were brought up on or ascended to).

This is not unlike Mao’s China where the citizens all wore identical uniforms. It made them all appear equal and they were better able to concentrate on more important aspects of life instead of the superficial.  The other parallel between the capitalist symbol of a Louis Vuitton handbag and the Communist China Uniform is that both are compromised designs.

In reality there is no individuality or creativity in either the uniform or the handbag. They are both simple and boring designs that are made to be demographically pleasing to a wide audience. All discerning aspects of design have been marginalized as to not offend or set anything or anyone apart. They both are made so the owner can fit into society by not standing out by their creative souls - but stand only thru the society in which they belong.

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Another irony that Laura and this great, yet-to-be famous Authentic Venetian Artist are demonstrating by presenting this particular collaboration is that they are doing at The Venice Biennale during it’s opening week. This is a week where the most creative members of societies around the world are chosen to represent and converge together to for a week of individual expression.

The idea of a Louis Vuitton bag is the most uncreative artistic expression of self one can make. Here Laura and the splendid Authentic Venetian Artist have taken this  uncreative symbol of mass dulling of artistic or individual expression and made it a symbol that can take on new life as a tool to fool the population who don’t “get the joke”- i.e. The International Tourist and other boring people.

All of which proves once again that art provides a rich arena in which to examine the underlying dynamics of our society by re-contextualizing everyday events so as to reveal the truth lurking below, and that the members of The Biennial Project are the right people for the job.

Ciao baby!

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2011 VENICE BIENNALE: THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING

by the-biennial-project 11. July 2011 17:53

2011 VENICE BIENNALE: THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING

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I’m in Venice – at last – and, with its subtle mists and roaring crowds, it does not disappoint. I have seen my first ineffable sunset and have had the various parts of my anatomy shoved by an indifferent attendant into an impossibly packed vaporetto. So I’m in Venice and pretty indiscriminately happy, wandering around the ‘back-behind’ of mobbed St. Mark’s Square, escaping from the sun and heat and screaming masses of people, who, as Henry James observed a century ago, should immediately leave and let me properly enjoy all this alone, when I happen on the big red “Biennale” pennant outside an old building, church, whatever, and enter, mostly just to get a rest.

The place is dim, quiet, cool, and a bit of a ruin, stripped to its architectural bones, former function unrecognizable.  I climb the stairs to the loft and settle into a room-sized beanbag, and all I want or expect is about 15 minutes of peace.  Luckily not to be had.

As I become accustomed to the light, I see around me people transfixed by a large screen cycling into a new showing of Singapore’s ‘The Cloud of Unknowing,’ which turns out to be the trippiest experience one could possibly have without aid of hallucinogen or other radical brain alteration.  And no one already present is leaving.

The video cycles through six apartments in a low-rent neglected urban high-rise, showing its largish occupants, 4 men, one woman, and some vegetation, at various mostly ordinary occupations leading up to – what is this? — their envelopment by cloud emanating from various parts of their apartments, from the bookcases, appliances, furnishings.

It’s a wonderful set of contrasts between the ‘nothingness’ of the cloud and the persistent bulkiness of the humans (and possibly the plants as well), the mundanity of their quotidian existences and the magical things that happen to them as they’re being engulfed, the silence of the solitary, monastic modern high rise cells otherwise known as apartments, and the joyous uproar of a drummer exuberantly banging things from a zone somewhere between monastic gongs and pure rock and roll.

As the cloud descends, dreaming man is sucked into white-sheeted bed, drummer is subsumed by torrential rains, and moss-filled apartment just plain luxuriates … I think.

What’s it all about?  I’m not sure it’s really necessary to know this but the title of the video refers to a 14th century mystical Christian tract of the same name, and references a whole lot of Renaissance and later cloud imagery, and, now, the amorphousness of the digital universe, adroitly intertwining the twin threads of baroque and minimal that have so dominated contemporary art for the past several years.

Giving away the end – since it’s not likely to be in the local multiplex any time soon – as the screen fills with luminous cloud turning to pure light, the dark-ribbed old wooden loft begins also to fill with all-obscuring cloud.

Spectacle, you say?  You bet.  And I’d see it again.  And, what’s more, it’s stayed with me and resonated this past month as no blockbuster movie has ever been able to do.

One other point, about going to Venice.  Getting there cost an obscene amount of money and was a hard thing to decide to do in these times.  For anyone who still contemplates the purchase of, say, that big screen TV or latest i-thing, using the logic that these things are tangible and lasting whereas some vacation will be over in a matter of weeks,

my advice is to go for the real lasting thing, the trip.

True, I saw some really bad art, ate some mediocre food, was roasted, stomped on, and drenched by torrential rains, but this show alone (and it wasn’t alone in its wondrousness, ref. Swiss, German, Polish, and British Pavilions) was worth the price of admission. When the electronic objects are nothing but additions to the recycle bin, I’ll still have the Biennale and the aging Disney marvel that is Venice.

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We’ll Always Have Venice!!!!!!

by the-biennial-project 5. July 2011 17:12

  

“Up on Housing Project Hill, it’s either fortune or fame. You must choose one or the other, although neither of them are to be what they claim.” 

 

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That’s our friend Bob Dylan talking, and we figure he should know.

We, of course, want both. We haven’t noticed much movement lately in the fortune thing, but boy has the fame thing been coming along.

And by fame, we mean The Venice Biennale 2011, in all it’s sparkling glory, with US as Participants!  We have so much to tell you!

First, we are aware that in addition to the Legions of Fabulous Fans who appreciate our sublime parody of artistic pretension, there exist also a Few Dreary Naysayers - those who feel that The Biennial Project is perhaps, well, too focused on US.

We know, that’s just ridiculous, but you know how petty and jealous people can be when their own careers are in the toilets while ours are really taking off.

So, to prove these Few Dreary Naysayers to be the bitter farts that they are, we and our conspirators have have written reviews of some of our favorite art at the VB2011, without even mentioning ourselves!

And had these reviews published in Boston’s Coolest and Hippest Cultural Weekly – The Dig!!!

No way, you say? Yes way, we answer! 

Read our fabulous reviews below!

 

 

 

American Pavilion

 

 

Chinese Pavilion

 

 

 

Singapore Pavilion

 

 

Egyptian, Polish & German Pavilions

 

 

All Our Coverage in the Hip and Cool Dig!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, us being us, in between looking at and reviewing the other art, we did find a little time to show the art world some of our Unique Edgy Avant-Garde Conceptual Performance Art, and you just know that they loved it!

In the weeks to come we’ll fill you in on everything, but here’s just a taste of how the Art World Press took notice (pay special attention to seconds 26-28!):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art World Press Raves for The Biennial Project!

 

 

 

 

 

Bizarre Art Happenings Indeed!

 

 

Stay tuned for more!!!!

 

 

 

The Biennial Project

 

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Report-backs and Reviews | Venice Biennale Campaigns

Début of The Biennial Project Perfume “Star of Venice” gets Rave Reviews

by the-biennial-project 14. June 2011 17:10

 

by Samantha Marder, Director of The Perfume Project

  This week the Boston-based perennial favorites The Biennial Project gleefully distributed black and yellow be-ribboned vials of their intoxicating new personal fragrance Star of Venice  to art aficionados in the Giardini venue of the Venice Biennale 2011.

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  The introduction of this signature fragrance served as a crowning grace note to the project’s continued participation in all things Biennale. The Biennial Team received warm response and delighted surprise to the gesture.

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  Certainly the soft scent of Star of Venice now wafts along the canals and down the narrow alleys of the city!

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  The 14-Member Performance Art/Activist Troupe exhibited several new perfomative art pieces during the Biennale’s opening days, and took turns interviewing artists and hosting glittering social events throughout the week.

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  Biennial Project literature was distributed at art pulse points all around town.

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  Intrigue has been seeded and inquiries have already flooded in!

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The sweet scent of Biennial Project success now permeates the historic glory of this eternal city!

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Biennial Project VIP Venice Biennale Reception

by the-biennial-project 28. April 2011 16:48

That may look to you like some spray cans in a window, but no, it is a

“sculpture”.

- Marcia E. Ventrocq, in an article about The Venice Biennale 2001

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Love fills the moment and the moment begins eternity…..

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Love fills a lifetime and a lifetime begins this hour……..

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It is with Great Enthusiasm that

Eric Hess,

Laura Rollins and

Anna Salmeron,

founding members of the eminent artist collaborative The Biennial Project cordially request the pleasure of your attendance at

The Biennial Project’s V.I.P.

Opening Reception for  

The 54th Venice Biennale

and award presentation celebrating the winner of 

THE 2011 Boston Online Biennial.

Be amongst the first to discover who will be auspicious victor of this exalted contest, and preview this artist’s work in a modern digital art exhibition. Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres  and good grub in the open air of our sizable courtyard and veranda, and tour the considerable, multi-part inner recesses of La Villa de Biennial Project. The festivities will  feature musical entertainment by our karaoke machine and Eric’s Ipod.

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The celebration will

commence on

Sunday the Fifth of June

Of the Year of Our Lord

A.D. Two Thousand and Eleven

At the hour of

Six o’clock in the evening.

 

 

Location - La Villa Biennial Project

(Formally known as The Villa Giardino Segreto)venicebackground

Is situated at

Calle degli Ormesini

Sestiere di Cannaregio 1484 A

Venezia, Italia

 

FACEBOOK VIP PARTY INVITE - RSVP HERE

Our Joy will be more complete

if you share with us the

astonishing merriment of our gala!

 

Vaporetto stop: S. Marcuola - line 1
Alilaguna stop: Guglie - line A (Orange)

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La Villa Biennial Project

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