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Venice 2013: Joana Vasconcelos

For Portugal’s participation in the 55th la Biennale di Venezia, artist Joana Vasconcelos is presenting Trafaria Praia, a project in which a cacilheiro, or Lisbon ferryboat, is transformed into a floating pavilion and artwork. Federica Patti of Larete Art Projects interviews the artist onsite. The Trafaria Praia project addresses the commonalities between Lisbon and Venice, both cities that played historical roles in broadening the European worldview during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It looks at the contact zone between them today by considering three aspects they share: water, navigation, and the vessel. Vasconcelos is, thus, deterritorialising territory, which is intended as an idealistic gesture—a metaphorical circumvention of the power struggles that often mark international relations.

The outside of the ship is covered with a panel of blue-and-white azulejos (hand-painted, tin-glazed ceramic tiles) that reproduces a contemporary view of Lisbon’s skyline. On its deck, she created an environment made of textiles and light—a complex medley of blue-and-white fabrics all over the ceiling and walls, from which crocheted pieces, intertwined with LEDs, emerge to create a womblike, surreal atmosphere.

The Clocktower Gallery has partnered with LaRete Art Projects to bring you roving reports from the 55th Venice Biennale. LaRete Art Projects is dedicated to research and support of new artistic strategies.


Venice Biennale


A series of talk and musical programs assembled from our various trips to Venice for the Biennale dating back to 2005. The programs range from round table discussions to interviews to DJ sets to virtual pavilions rendered in music and sound. On two occasions (2005 and 2007) we broadcast live on Italian FM radio from a boat moored near the Giardini. In 2011 our roving reporters covered the scene while the interview booth was headquartered near Piazzo San Marco. We also partnered with artist Federico Diaz and his sculpture-building robots at the Arsenale to design a special series called Robot Radio. 2013 brought us together with LaRete Art Projects and the Venice Agendas series produced by workinprogress for interviews and discussions.