Independent curator Roland Fischer and Artistic Director Paolo Rosso of MicroClima invited Theun Karelse, Alice Smits and Ivan Henriques for a presentation of their work, to explore the possibility of collaboration and the potential of the Venetian Lagoon for Machine Wilderness field-work.

Alice Smith presented an overview of Machine Wilderness and other projects she hosts at Zone2Source in the Amstelpark in Amsterdam. Theun Karelse presented his Machine Wilderness research in the context of his longer running research into augmented ecologies. Ivan Henriques who was a workshop leader in the Machine Wilderness program presented his work in combinations of robotics and living organisms.

 

MicroClima is situated in a large greenhouse near the Biennial grounds in Venice.

 

Paolo took us into the Venice Lagoon to explore its potential for Machine Wilderness fieldwork. We visited various islands and discovered more of its complex history and human impact on the ecosystem of the Lagoon. It is certainly a vast expanse with a great variety of islands. Some inhabited, some abandoned, some are barely accessible for humans, some with a remarkable history like the quarantaine area that was used during the plague. In many ways this feels like a place with an amazing potential for Machine Wilderness fieldwork. All these differing biomes are like different stages of human presence in the landscape and different balances of influence. In some areas humans are now completely dominant, in others this dominance is waning, and only relics remain that are slowly eroded by natural processes. These time scales are particularly interesting in terms of our topic. The Lagoon draws you powerfully to see human technology from a longer perspective.

 

This is a derelict fortress on one of the islands in the Lagoon.

 

And below, a visit to what is probably the earliest settlement in the Lagoon.