Jonathan walker

Let Us Burn the Gondolas

Venice is usually presented as an anachronism: a ‘timeless’ or even anti-modern city, whose only practical use in the twenty-first century is as a catalogue of picturesque motifs (gondolas, reflected bridges, maskers). Precisely because of its exceptional nature, however, the city offers unique opportunities to rethink or question the idea of modernity. In this photographic essay, entitled Let Us Burn the Gondolas after the famous injunction by the Futurist ideologue Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the city is presented as a place where people live and work as well as visit: a place of making-do, and of improvised solutions to chronic problems, where the relationship between past and present is actively negotiated and rethought. History replaces nostalgia.
The online version of Let Us Burn the Gondolas is based on the theme of an itinerary. The figures on the grid indicate how long it takes to travel between the locations from which successive photographs were taken, either on foot, or (when necessary) by boat. Times are given in seconds, minutes or hours.

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