L’Acqua in Piazza and the multi-site exhibition “L’acqua e la Piazza”. L’acqua e la Piazza tells a story with many voices about the relationship between Venetians, the water and the heart of the city, Piazza San Marco. The Piazza is presented as a place for the people, full of values and meanings, combining the life that goes on in the area with its primary elements, water and stone, and with the memory that runs through its monumental heritage. An analysis of the Piazza’s daily life also highlights a place that suffers from more and more flooding, prompting reflections about its future. The project revolves around the Olivetti Showroom, managed by FAI, and also involves several other locations in the area surrounding Piazza San Marco.
The idea for a multi-site exhibition and a publication arose simultaneously and the two projects were developed in parallel. The aim is to promote thinking about the possible future relationship between Venice and water, beginning with the businesses around Piazza San Marco that have an inextricable connection to the place and its daily dynamics. Interviews and other materials were collected from these ‘inhabitants’ of the Piazza – including those who have recently started to work here or have worked here for a long time, even families who have worked here for generations – in order to appreciate, in practical terms, their strategies for dealing with water.
The collection of different viewpoints corresponding to different positions – and ground levels, shone a light on the differences and similarities of continuous adaptations. The collected images show fundamental features of the cafes, restaurants, boutiques and hotels of Piazza San Marco that are normally far from sight and beyond the imagination of the thousands of people who pass through every day, right in front of these shop windows. In particular the multi-site exhibition brings together experiences and impressions, images and other information that reveal the on-going, difficult relationship with water and periodic flooding among the businesses that make up the Associazione Piazza San Marco (APSM). The fourteen boutiques, galleries, shops, bars, restaurants and hotels located around the Piazza and in the immediate surroundings participating in the ‘distributed exhibition’ are identifiable by the water line across their windows marking the level reached on 4th November 1966.
The thematic installations, created specially by the artist Eleonora Sovrani, to investigate water levels range from networks of tide gauges in the lagoon to describing practical measures adopted by the different businesses, such as placing equipment and furnishings on leg extensions or permanent interventions to raise ground levels. The artist’s work is based on evidence collected ‘in the field’ and structured in a grid of technical and scientific references by Jane da Mosto.
The publication Acqua in Piazza offers a selection of data, observations and explanations to stimulate thinking about the interrelationship between Venice and water, the aspects that are changeless and the issues vital to the future of Piazza San Marco, emblem of the city.