Venice is an extraordinary city — for its art, history, political institutions, social reforms, entertainments, noble goals, cuisine, music, industry, and extremes. The work produced this semester by students in ARTH 470z: Venice, explores some of these topics and will, we hope, urge readers to consider the city as something other than a tourist destination.
Venice is a watery surface, and as such we might consider how the city offers a reflection of our world today. Perhaps more than any other single city, Venice has been engaged with matters of globalization through commerce, trade, and military exploits that make us pause and wonder at its tenacity and history of brilliant successes and tragic failures. Venice also reminds us — if we need reminding — of how fragile is the relationship between ourselves and our environment.
Prosperity, global relations, conflicts between religious groups…early modern Venice and the stones, bricks, timbers, and waters on which this city is built have a great deal to teach us‚Ä¶if we stop to look and listen. This is a complex history.
Our work on Venice has taken us on a journey from the foundations of the city in the 5th century, through the realities of its own myth and legend, to the city today and tomorrow as we anticipate the 2009 Biennale.