Friday, January 23, 2015

Venice Carnival for Kids 2015 - The Biennale Lion Makes Music at Arsenale

6th Venice International Kid's Carnival
(Venice, Italy) For the first time, the Venice Kid's Carnival will be held inside the Arsenale in the artfully restored Sale d'Armi. Previous editions of the Carnevale dei Ragazzi were down at Giardini, but this year Paolo Baratta, the President of La Biennale, has declared "Quest'anno si va all'Arsenale!" allowing kids and their grownups to romp around the enormous space that once contained the largest industrial complex in the world. 

The press conference was held in the Sale d'Armi, which means "Weapons Rooms." The word "Arsenale" is a Venetian word, morphed from the Arabic dar-as-sina, which means "house of construction." During the Republic, the Venetians enjoyed showing off their impressive Arsenal, which could whip out an entire ship in a single day. The efficient Venetian production lines made Venice the shipbuilding center of the world, and allowed Venice to control trade in the Mediterranean, which was the foundation of her great wealth.

Arsenale - Jacopo de' Barbari, 1500s
Around the year 1110, according to John Julius Norwich in Venice, The Rise to Empire: "An ambitious new shipbuilding programme was called for, and it was now that Doge Ordelafo made his most enduring contribution to the Republic. Hitherto the shipwrights of Venice had been scattered about all over the lagoon, many if not all of them running small private businesses of their own. Under his aegis shipbuilding became a nationalized industry. For its centre he chose two marshy little islands known as the Zemelle -- 'the twins' in Venetian dialect -- at the far end of the Riva to the east of the city; and here, over the next half-century, there grew up that mighty complex of dockyards, foundries, magazines and workshops for carpenters, sailmakers, ropemakers and blacksmiths that Dante described in the Inferno and that gave a new word to the English language and many others besides -- the Arsenal."

Arsenale today
Nowadays the Arsenale is shared by several powerful organziations, one of which is La Biennale. The Sale d'Armi houses several new national pavilions such as Argentina, South Africa and the Vatican with long-term rental agreements; each nation restored the space with genuine affection -- neither La Biennale, nor Italy, nor Venice spent a penny. The wooden beams that criss-cross the ceiling are original, as are the bricks that make up the walls. It is like an enormous SoHo loft, centuries before Manhattan existed, converted from industry to art.

Escalator - Sale d'Armi - Arsenale, Venice
Paolo Baratta joked that the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was jealous of the escalator outside the Sale d'Armi. Koolhaas was the Director of the 2014 International Architecture Biennale, and is presently turning the Fondaco dei Tedeschi at the foot of the Rialto Bridge into a shopping center for Benetton, who now owns the building. All hell broke loose a couple years ago when Koolhaas revealed his original plans, which included escalators, and outraged local preservation groups. The scandalous escalators inside the Fondaco dei Tedeschi were the Talk of the Town; the only thing worse was the proposed roof terrace. Koolhaas has since redesigned the plans, which no longer include an escalator in the center atrium. Baratta said that the escalator at the Sale d'Armi just happened to fit without altering the existing structure; as you can see, it is not part of the structure at all:)

So, Arsenale is the venue for the 2015 Kid's Carnival, one of my favorite events during Carnevale. Workshops and laboratories are open to everyone, and they are free. This year, students from 150 schools from all over the Veneto will participate in an international event designed to encourage creativity and original thought. Can you imagine what a fantastic class trip that will be?

The theme this year is:
Carnevale Internazionale dei ragazzi
which the Biennale translates into English as:


but I think a better translation might be:

THE BIENNALE LION MAKES MUSIC AT THE ARSENAL DURING CARNIVAL
.
So, making music and song is the theme, and there will be laboratories and spaces to inspire the kids scattered around Arsenale. The Biennale Music section will be here, as well as the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello, the United Nations and Unicef. Young musicians who have composed their own music will perform their creations. There will be a treasure hunt, and the Gran Atelier di Sartoria will help kids create their own Carnival costumes and masks with fabric from Rubelli(!).


Five countries will participate in Kid's Carnival this year. Poland's event is called, Plastik is Fantastic! where kids will transform plastic materials into musical instruments, and also focus on creative ways to recycle. Theater Gong from Sibiu in Romania will bring a puppet show "The Almost Famous Cricket" inspired by a fable by the French writer Jean de La Fontaine. The German offering is MY STYLE, MY FASHION SHOW: PLAY WITH FASHION! The kids will design and create their own fashions, including eyewear, and then get their own cover of a magazine. The United States will present Intoniamo... i rumori?? -- Painting with sound, noise and smells -- and will present poetry and narration with those trilly alliteration sounds that kids love to make. Kecskemét is a city of art and culture in Hungary, made famous by its native son, Zoltan Kodaly, best known for the "Kodaly Method," a concept for teaching music education in the classroom, which the Hungarians will share during Carnival for Kids. 


That the world's first military industrial complex has transformed into a World of Art with pavilions that flow into one another and where borders are invisible is a wonderful thing. I think it's terrific that the Kid's Carnival has moved over to Arsenale; it feels right.

FEBRUARY 7 TO FEBRUARY 17, 2015
10:00AM to 6:00PM
Free admission and workshop activities
Info: +39 041 521.8828
promozione@labiennale.org
Ciao from Venezia,
Cat

1 comment:

  1. Paolo Baratta joked that the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was jealous of the escalator outside the Sale d'Armi. Koolhaas was the Director of the 2014 International Architecture Biennale, and is presently turning the Fondaco dei Tedeschi at the foot of the Rialto Bridge into a shopping center for Benetton, who now owns the building.

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