impressions de venise, scuola dei lanieri, venice, october 2021

Venice, 14-10-2021

Dear ______________,

@veniceinabottle is about communicating, connecting, linking.

There was a time in which a message in a bottle would do exactly what a social media platform like Instagram does nowadays: someone lonely in a desert island leaves a message floating in an immense space, a message to no-one and to everyone. In @veniceinabottle I am the sender, you are the receivers of the message - water, the vital and common element for every human being. A message communicates, connects and links. A message - a letter, an e-mail, a text, a post on social media, a zoom call, a video sent on whatsapp - is the needle in between two places, two people. There are always two sides of a message and a channel that its trajectory creates.

If we could see all the invisible lines traced by all types of messages sent around the world every second, we would for sure see them reflected on water. Water reflects and connects everything. Water fills the space that was once filled with emptiness: water connects continents, water links people, water crosses boundaries.

A channel is a method or a system for communication or distribution(1): a channel is a column that links the floor and the ceiling; a channel is a window that connects inside and outside; a channel is a computer screen with people who are physically far away; a channel is an artwork with something to tell. A channel is a length of water joining two larger areas of water.

Water reflects the sky that is also the our shared element: like water, it connects continents, links people and crosses boundaries. In the first part of @veniceinabottle, the bottle filled with water from the channels of Venice travelled from Venice to Lisbon (Portugal) and a different video was sent, posted on Instagram and played everyday, during 32 days. For the second part of @veniceinabottle, the sky of Venice will come into the exhibition space for 10 days through one of the bricks of the salty walls that inhabit this place. In the second chapter of this project the story evolves but the message remains the same: dear all, here’s my (impression of) Venice.

In this exhibition in the Laneri School, a place where in the past artisans worked with wool, the bottles on view are the needles of a patchwork of videos that is growing and becoming larger everyday. Like an infinity tapestry of colour and movement, these videos are sewed together with invisible threads that are not cotton or wool threads: they are relationships, visions and experiences.

Laneri (or lanaioli) were the names given to the artisans who worked and sold wool in the space where we now see artworks. The space was dividid into sections (colonnelli) and shared by the different artisans that participated in the so called the Art of wool, depending on their activity (vergheri or battitori della lana, pettinatori, startesini or cardatori). A lot of vocabulary was lost with the abolition of the School by the Venetian senate in 1786. In order to open a channel in between past and present, I enfolded the columns with a "wool hug”, a circle, an infinite line with no end and no beginning: I created a cìntolo.

cìntolo: Tie, thin strip, string or ribbon to tighten something. (2)

accintolare: Term, now disused, of the language of wool manufactures: to sew a strap/belt along the edges of a piece where you do not want it to take on the colour. (3)

I invite you now to go out and feel Venice, to interact with Venice, to give Venice the equivalent amount of beauty that it gives you. Venice was made to be felt. In Venice you walk on water… and you float.  

With love,

instagram: @veniceinabottle

(1)  Google search for the word “channel”: definitions by the Oxford Languages
(2) (translated)
(3) (translated)

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madalena corrêa mendes © 2021