Thursday, February 04, 2016

The space age

Has the venue for NZ's next Venice outing in 2017 has been nailed? A couple of OTN readers have suggested so. We do know Commissioner Carruthers (hereon ComCar) was always keen to get a venue that could give some certainty to NZ going to Venice on the long term, given the possibility that Creative NZ could bail on major funding in the future. Now it sounds as though his desire for a permanent space within the Arsenale has been fulfilled. But, we're not talking King Hit venue like Simon Denny at the Marciana Library or tourist trap like Bill Culbert's Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà and it would be behind the Biennale's paywall. If it's sharing the building that the Vatican and Turkey were in last year, it’s somewhat off the beaten track but given ComCar 's focus on continuity for the future it’s probably the safe bet. Ideal of course for 2017 as Lisa Reihana's projection with its complex technical backup will suit a more conventional space. The other possibility CNZ and ComCar might have had eyes on is one of the spaces right down the end of the Arsenale exhibition hall, but let’s not go there (no-one else does). The downside of the Arsenale overall is that most of the recently made available spaces are around the back of the huge exhibition hall and most people get there via the long trek through the acres of art that go to make a Venice curator’s exhibition. We’ve been tinkering with the venue thing since we first went to Venice in 2001 with mixed results, not all of them the fault of the venue. Will moving into the Arsenale be the best way to go? It depends on how you weight the logic of pragmatism against the serendipity of opportunity.