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La Voce Del Non Visto

Part 2 Project 2014
Simon Pope
Birmingham City University, UK
The city of Venice is an enigmatic maze devoted to the noisy wonderings of tourists that assault the ancient island year in year out. The unparalleled beauty of the island is eroding; the swarms of eager tourists that pulsate throughout the narrow passageways and vast squares every day are causing a mass exodus of the Venetian resident. Pushed out by extortionate property costs and the lack of skilled employment, the residents migrate to the mainland (Mestre). What were once homes become empty shells, remnants of a thriving community pushed out by the overwhelming pressures of mass tourism. The ‘Disneyfication’ of Venice is gradually stripping out culture, repelling its inhabitants and diluting the very essence of what actually is Venetian. Ultimately, it is the people who suffer.

The ‘Grandi Navi’ (Big Ships) funnel tens of thousands of passengers in and around Venice on a daily basis. The scale of these ships is monstrous, dwarfing the island and causing irretrievable damage to the lagoon. Forming a microcosm of the wider problems within Venice, the economic gains from the cruise liners are fundamental to the economy. In truth, tourism is the economy. Herein lies the ‘double-edged sword’; Venice is decaying as a result of mass tourism, yet needs the fruits from tourism in order to survive.

With threats of independence from Italy and a frayed relationship with the authorities, this fragile relationship becomes completely severed due to a defining watershed moment that extends the chasm between the Italian Government and the Venetian people. Existing extra-parliamentary factions unite to express a single, anarchistic voice dubbed as ‘La Voce Del Non Visto’, (the voice of the unseen).

Deep within the Arsenale, parasitic volumes appear within an ancient ruin on the lagoon edge. Veiled as a ship-breaking facility (Fabbrica Salvataggio), the building cloaks the secret home of the faction (Casa Del Voce) as secret spaces and hidden chambers duel as the ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’ are layered into a mystifying duality of paradoxical spaces.

Simon Pope


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