April 15, 2017 - Catalonia in Venice - Antoni Abad: La Venezia che non si vede / Unveiling the unseen
April 15, 2017

Catalonia in Venice

BlindWiki, collaborative cartography of Venice, 2017. Photos: Antoni Abad, 2017.

Antoni Abad
La Venezia che non si vede / Unveiling the unseen
May 13–November 26, 2017

Inauguration: May 11, 5:30pm

Cantieri Navali
Fondamenta Quintavalle, Castello 40


The Institut Ramon Llull is participating in the 57th Venice Biennale with the project La Venezia che non si vede / Unveiling the Unseen by Antoni Abad, curated by Mery Cuesta and Roc Parés. It is a sensorial interpretation of Venice, created in collaboration with blind or visually impaired people, a collective using senses in a different and unique way. Through the shared exchange of both the experiences and difficulties of their daily lives, less obvious urban forms are revealed, allowing a new map of public space to be drawn up that is usable by everyone.

Abad works with digital communities where mobile phones take on an important role as means of social communication. He is creating a locative sound map of Venice using the BlindWiki app—an app created for blind people, but usable by anyone with a smartphone. Impressions of any part of the city can be recorded and published using the app and can be listened to at any moment.

Created under the direction of Antoni Abad and developed by Matteo Sisti Sette and AKX, the BlindWiki app is adapted to the needs of blind people and can be installed for free on any Android or iOS phone. The geolocated recordings started in February, and continued during the weekly expeditions coordinated by the artist in collaboration with Valeria Bottalico, an expert on art and accessibility. The primary participants of these mappings are blind and visually impaired people, alongside volunteers from community associations and students from IUAV and Ca' Foscari universities in Venice.

The Catalan project for the Biennale Arte 2017 is a proposal to civil society: the research on collective intelligence seeks universal accessibility and suggests alternative ways to occupy public spaces, both physical and digital.

La Venezia che non si vede / Unveiling the Unseen is divided into four parts:

–A free boat tour guided by blind people. Leaving from the dock located in front of the exhibition space, passengers explore the city aboard a sampierota, the traditional Venetian voga boat.

–A tactile comic with haut-relief designs by Max (cartoonist Francesc Capdevila, winner of the 2007 National Award for Comic in Spain). The drawings were created in collaboration with the participants who are blind, under the direction of Mery Cuesta, co-curator.

–An exhibition space at Cantieri Navali conceptualized as a base camp by the Catalan graphic design studio Avanti-Avanti Studio—who specializes in Design for Allwill function as a reception and information area with Universal Design criteria for all the visitors.

–An international seminar, "Cartographies of the Unseen," taking place at the Aula Tafuri, Palazzo Badoer on May 15 and 16, coordinated by Mario Ciaramitaro, researcher at IUAV, and Roc Parés, co-curator of the Catalan project and researcher at the Pompeu Fabra University, with the participation of artists, scholars, activists, accessibility professionals and representatives from associations of blind people.

Thoughout this collaborative work in progress Abad is directing a documentary video produced by Daniele Zoico, with subtitles and audio description in Italian and English, which will be projected in the exhibition space.

This will be the fifth time that the Institut Ramon Llull promotes Catalonia’s presence in the Venice Biennale. The project is indebted to the collaboration of its sponsors: Colección Beep de Arte Electrónico – NewArtFoundation, Dipartamento di Culture del Progetto of Università Iuav di Venezia, Elisava – Escola Universitària de Disseny i Enginyeria de Barcelona, Fabulor e Museo per Tutti, Associazione l'Abilità Onlus Fondazione De Agostini.  The complete list of participants and collaborators is available at: www.blind.wiki

Catalonia in Venice
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La Venezia che non si vede / Unveiling the unseen
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