Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The (messy) end of a recalcitrant era

Another term has ended and the reports have been (mostly) turned in and boxed away.  We're running out of shelf space...  Next year we won't be in this office any more as our rental contract is ending this summer.
It's the end of an era.
We'll vacate the (dare I say "legendary"?) Veepeesee at Cannaregio 4400... We've really grown into this space in the dozen years since we relocated here from our home in Via Dardanelli, on the Lido.  We are bursting at the seams with at least 150 boxes containing our 20 years of research.
The original VPC office was in the magazzino on the ground floor of my parents' (Cino and Wilma's) house, where I had lived until I left for the U.S. for (what was supposed to be) a single year spent at an American High School.  The year stretched into a full decade spent in the U.S. (getting my degrees from WPI, among other things), before I returned and founded the Venice Project Center in 1988.  After the S.Elena beginnnings, the VPC migrated with Jackie, Nick and me, wherever our family was living at the time.  Only when we moved to Cannargio 4400 -- for the first time -- the VPC was not co-located at my domicile.  We've come a long way... The protracted 20th anniversary is over.  We have turned 21!
The VPC is no longer a minor...
The earth seemed to resist this coming of age... It was as if Venice didn't want the era to end!  An improbable "perfect storm" combination of Acqua Alta and SNOW(!) tried to prevent the students from reaching the airport on Saturday, when the 21st contingent of WPI students was leaving the city, like the grown child who is leaving the parental nest upon reaching the maggioretĂ .
With a valiant effort -- braving through flooded streets in the midst of a blowing blizzard -- everybody somehow made it miraculously to the airport in time...
...only to be faced with canceled flights and delayed departures to unpredictable destinations, determined with etch-a-sketch "precision" by frazzled airline personnel dealing with thousands of stranded visitors during one of the busiest weekends of the year...
The majority of the students made it home only today, after a four-day ordeal compounded by the snow that simultaneously blanketed the eastern United States, where everyone was headed...  What a way to turn 21!
I personally spent the same four days braving similar weather to and from the U.K., where Adrian and I mediated the re-emergence of energence...
I am back in Venice now, where there is still snow on the ground and it's bitter cold.  And, of course, we have a major predicted acqua alta coming at 4:00am tomorrow, so every table at the VPC is covered with boxes and other materials that were moved out of the "danger zone" in preparation for the likelihood of water entering our office overnight.
It's a sign that it's really time to move on and enter adulthood.  Youth was fun while it lasted.
It's time to get out into the world...

It's the most wonderful time...

...of the year                                     (sing along...)

Merry Christmas!
(may your days henceforth grow ever longer...)

Photo Credit: Nicolò Zuane Carrera

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2 days left: 4 down, 3 to go

Today, the Postmortems team completed the fourth of the seven presentations the current WPI students are delivering to complete their projects at the tail end of our Venice Project Center Anniversary. It was a highly entertaining combination of powerpoint, video clips and live demonstrations of their interactive street installation that will highlight some of Venice's most pressing issues.  I particularly liked the little movies displaying animated schematic explanations with handwritten labels on ruled paper...

Origins, Ships and Mobility went the day before at the Spazio Eventi Mondadori (courtesy of Giovanni Pellizzato of the 40xVenezia).
Tomorrow we will have the final three and then the students will have one more day to get everything together and turn it in by Friday before we all go out to the final dinner at Pampo's...  Wow!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cruising into final week

We are entering the final week of the term here in Venice. This is when miracles begin to happen as time compresses and the days lengthen.
The final presentations are set and the final results are rolling in.
It's going to be a busy week, but I think we're in for some very nice rewards by the time we have our final dinner on Friday.
Meanwhile, enjoy this preview of some of the work the Ships team did using the timelapse camera...

Not bad for a first cut!  Can't wait for the final Kovenysqatsi video!