We’ve braved our fair share of long lines at the Venice Biennale. Waiting’s rarely fun, but it hasn’t been entirely awful thanks to artist Jonas Staal and De Heren van Design’s “Ideological Guide to The Venice Biennale”. We’ve been reading a lot of it.
“The Ideological Guide” is an app with political opinion essays and maps about the national pavilions—the essays take no more than a few minutes to read each. Most importantly, the app’s full of art and politics trivia. It was made for nerds like us.
Here’s just a few of the facts we learned from perusing the app, although we highly suggest you download it here (for iGadgets) or here (for Google devices). For those of you at Venice, it doesn’t require the Internet to use, a godsend considering the lack of reliable wi-fi out there.
- In 1958, Canada received a permanent pavilion as a gift from the Italian government; the atonement was part of Italy’s post-WWII reparations to Canada. Germany and France switched pavilions this year.
- The Serbian Pavilion used to be the Yugoslavian pavilion, which included a multi-national exhibition of artists from Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia.
- The Icelandic Pavilion used to be run by artists and it wasn’t until 2003 that a single Icelandic political official visited the Biennale.
- India is not participating this year. (This would have been its second-ever trek to the biennale, right after its inaugural run in 2011.)