Venice Biennale

If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a 3D scale model must speak a thousand cubed words, which – I think – is 1,000,000,000. No surprise then that at the Venice architecture Biennale, there aren’t many words around.

But quite thrillingly, the words that are there are displayed with a sense of playfulness and imagination. I found that while the husband wandered around looking at all the models and drawings, I was rather distracted by so many fun displays of words.

People were treading on these little pavement paragraphs inside the Belgium pavilion:

And yes, that is my sandaled foot poking in to illustrate the point.

This was the somewhat headache-inspiring display in the Czech pavilion:

I still haven’t got to the end of that scrambled sentence.

This was quite fun from Australia:

But my favourite was in America’s pavilion:

Each black box is connected via a pulley to a sign. These signs run in rows all across the room. When you pull down on one of the signs, the corresponding block on the wall goes up, showing how the idea illustrated on the sign, provides the link between problem and solution. Words and pulleys – what a winning combination.

We were rather too busy to have time for much reading, and what time there was – on the lovely long train rides there and back – was spent either conked out with exhaustion or drinking lots of coffee and anxiously reading through the first printout of my own novel. (For some good Venetian reading, see this post.) But I did get a case of severe book envy in the apartment where we were staying:

Aren’t they the most beautiful books you’ve ever seen? Lucky there weren’t any written in English, or I’d have been tempted to pocket one.


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