28 August 2019
Kettle’s Yard has sponsored Circuit member Clarisse Rangel Pamplona to spend a month in Venice as part of the British Council’s Stewarding-Research Fellowship. This involved spending three days a week stewarding the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and three days a week conducting her own research project. Clarisse tells us a bit about her time in Venice.
In the pavilion, we rotate between different positions; you could be at the front, counting visitors as they come in and making sure they have everything they need. I’ve loved going around the pavilions and talking to the other stewards. They’re so nice, seeing what they think about their pavilions has been great and made me feel really welcomed. I had a really nice conversation with a visitor who gave me more insight into the exhibition. I live with two of the other Fellows and they’re great – we’ve been cooking all together!
It’s interesting to see all the roles in an exhibition. Veronica [the Stewarding Manager] is giving us lessons and workshops in conservation, and I’ve really enjoyed that. You don’t normally think about all the things you have to do to look after the artworks, pesticides and so on, especially because of the weather conditions here. It’s really good to learn about all these professional things that you don’t normally see. I definitely feel like it’s more stressful here than stewarding at Kettle’s Yard, because it is busier, but I’ve learnt I actually really like to talk to people, so I wouldn’t mind giving guided tours for a while.
I’m researching how the Biennale influences Venice. It brings lots of tourism, and I can feel the frustrations of this now, and how it affects life here. That really makes me more passionate about my research. I’ve learnt lots about the Grand Navi (cruise boats) and how they’ve inserted themselves in the city. I’m really looking forward to going to the archives to find out more. I’ve also been photographing graffiti stickers and fabric designs against the cruise ships and am feeling inspired to take more photos of where they’ve been tagged.
During my time here, I’ve been to the islands and seen some exhibitions. I also really liked the talk the Fellows had with We Are Here Venice, which showed us parts of Venice we wouldn’t otherwise see. They took us around and gave us a lecture about the projects they are doing on global warming and sea level rising here in Venice. It really inspired my essay.
When I return to Circuit, I’m thinking of doing something active, with a mix of sharing my research and leading creative activities like we’ve done in Circuit before. I’ve been really inspired by the We Are Here Venice climate change campaign, so I’d like to invite people back in Cambridge to make things that could feed into the protest, or even help them make things that they could sell to make money to protect Venice.
Clarisse will be leading a Circuit session sharing about her time in Venice on Tuesday 15th October from 5.30-7.30pm at Kettle’s Yard.