Susan Kleinberg


SPOSALIZIO DEL MAR




INSTALLATION IN THE GRAND CANAL
BETWEEN SAN MARCO AND SAN GIORGIO
VENICE BIENNALE 1995

 


This is a ring filled with golden shimmering history and hopes; an accretion of images from time immemorial, glinting, emerging and submerging though space and memory. 
 
A bright yellow ring designed by NASA engineers, based on the Apollo spacecraft's flotation collar, sustains and supports objects which refer to Venetian history as a crossroads of all history, through the present to the future.  It is at once an archeology emerging from the deep and a capsule splashed down.  It is the sea, its parts and secrets.
 
Golden Byzantine columns float among angels wings and manhole covers and putti and crowns long lost.  Capitals and wall fragments, a sea dragon and toucans, all golden, toss up and under the waves.  Tritons, tiaras, golf balls, books, a plate from Harry’s Bar, a mask of jokers or the four winds might emerge at any time.  Swords and a seahorse link with a Crusader’s axe, Kublai Khan’s lanterns and a Renaissance picture frame.

The pieces are sings and symbols, the dragon deriving from Carpaccio, angels wings of San Giorgio, the columns of San Zaccaria, the swan of myth, Brancusi and all children.  A large crystal ball floats among them.

The ring is a symbol of the "Sposalizio del Mar," 1 as humanity and the sea are wed through civilization and nature.  

Some of the Sabbadini Edict of 1553 is written on an inflatable shell.  (Sabbadini was a philosopher and Minister of the Water in the Venetian Republic.)

   Venetorum urbs,
   Divina disponente providentia
   Aquis Fundata
   Aquarum ambitu circumsepta.
   Aquarum ambitu circunsepta.

   Aquis pro mura mumitur
   Quisquis igitur
   Quoquo modo detrimentum publicis aquis
   Anferre ausus fuerit
   Hostis patriae judicepur

   Nec minori plectatur peoma
   Quam qui sacros muros patriae Violasset
   Hujus edicti jus ratum perpetuvmque Esto.



   The city of the Venetians
   With the aid of divine providence
   Was founded on water
   Enclosed by water
   Defended by water, instead of walls.
   Whoever in any way dares
   Damage the public waters
   Shall be declared an enemy of the State
   And will not deserve less punishment
   Than he who breaches the sacred wall of
   the State.  This edict is valid for ever
   more.


From a waterproof tape deck comes stories of the Lagoon, told by fishermen, shop workers, ferry boat drivers, a man who sells artichokes, a woman who sells squid … This includes some history of the Lagoon and its development, particularly by Counts Cini and Volpi  -- the story of Cini’s incarceration in Dachau, his release and later his desire to dismantle the bridge he had constructed.   People speak in a variety of languages, all voices mingling with the lapping of the tides.

   Susan Kleinberg
   Venice, May 1995



   ____________________________________
   1) The “Sposalizio del Mar” is the mystic
       marriage of the Doge to the sea.
       Begun in the year 1000, this ceremony,
       in which the Doge, now the mayor of
       Venice, tosses a bejeweled ring into the
       sea, symbolizes the interdependence

       of the Venetians to the sea.



































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