Art Pirates Set Sail for the Venice Biennale

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Filed under: Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Swimming Cities of Serenissima will set sail tomorrow, May 13, from Slovenia to Trieste and then will be at the Venice Biennale from June 1-14, 2009 (as an unsanctioned exhibition). From the Web site and blog:

The Swimming Cities of Serenissima is a fleet of three intricately hand crafted vessels that will navigate the Adriatic Sea from the Litoral region of Slovenia to Venice, Italy in May of 2009. Designed by the visual artist SWOON, the floating sculptures are descendants of the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea (Hudson River, 2008) and the Miss Rockaway Armada (Mississippi River, 2006 and 2007).


SWOON”™s boats are inspired by dense urban cityscapes and thickly intertwined mangrove swamps from her Florida youth. The Swimming Cities of Serenissima are built from salvaged materials, including modified Mercedes car motors with long-tail propellers. The boats”™ crew is made up of 30 collaborating artists from the United States.

As the Swimming Cities move toward Venice, the crew will collect and install keepsakes in an ark-like cabinet of wonders that will be on display on the boats when they arrive. Once in Venice, the boats and crew will offer intimate performances that incorporate music, shadow puppetry, and story.

The vessels are imagined as a hybrid between boats and bits of land broken off and headed out to sea. Watching them approach the shore is like seeing a floating city in the distance, as improbable as Venice itself. To the real life crew, the boats are a place of refuge – both a home and a way of moving through the world. To those who encounter the boats for the first time, they are a reminder that anything that can be imagined can be built.

The Swimming Cities are designed and organized by printmaker and installation artist SWOON. Collaborators include playwright Lisa D”™Amour, puppeteer Robin Frohart and the band Dark Dark Dark. Boat design and carpentry created in close collaboration with Jeff Stark, Iris Lasson, and with guidance from The Floating Neutrinos. Motors are designed by “Chicken” John Rinaldi. Artists and organizers collaborating include: A”™yen Tran, Anton Berteaux, Adina Bier, Arielle Bier, Ben Burke, Ben Mortimer, Connie Hockaday, Conrad Carlson, Ryan Doyle, Greg Henderson, Hana, Harrison, Heather Jones, Irina, Jonathan Kaiser, Laurel Bell, Ledia Carroll, Marshall Lacount, Matt Clark, Moses Grubb, Nona Marie Invie, Orien McNeill, Paul Cesewski, Porter Fox, Robin Frohardt, Robyn Hasty, Spy Emerson, Tianna Kennedy, Tod Seelie, Todd Chandler, Tony Bones, V Dougherty. The project is produced with the assistance of Deitch Projects, Paper Monster, Black Rat Press and Build It Green.

thanks V. Vale

Related links:

  • The Influencers, Edition #5
  • Santa”™s Ghetto: Banksy and Friends Bring Street Art to Bethlehem
  • Swoon