It is a strange feeling to be in Venice when the Biennale is not on, all my previous visits were in conjunction with my visits to the oldest established art festival La Biennale di Venzia. I have thought April would be a quiet time on the island but I suppose this place is never empty of tourists. Venice is a great place to just wander though the walkways and passages without using the map for a while. After an hour of exploring you can check your location and you are never in the place where you expected to be. The small alleys with many turnings, canals and bridges feel like a labyrinth or maze.
The sounds of the city are so different to Trieste (my previous Italian location) to start with, there is no traffic, so the sound of car engines and scooters is replaced with that of the vaporetto – the waterways buses and motor boats engines with the constant sound of the water splashing against the walls of the building and edge of the boats. The place is so much busier with tourists, speaking every language of the world, although Italian definitely dominates the streets at least in April.
With such a choice of plazas and campos with bell towers and fabulous acoustics it has been a very difficult to decision where to record. The hour for recording in Venice was between 7 and 8 pm. The evenings were still chilly but that didn’t stop locals and tourists hanging around the streets. I recorded an hour passing by on the Campo Dei Santi Apostoli with the bells of the church under the same name and of course an hour at the St Lucia train station. On the last day my hour recording was a walk thought the streets and allies, which I finish like a real tourist on Plazza San Marco.
Venice is my last location during this journey. I will return to my recordings this summer to capture four more soundscapes of the cities for my clock. During this last three weeks it has been great to explore the eight cities on my route and to have time to focus my thoughts on the project. I would like to say thank you to my two assistants Frank Beavan (my husband) and Oliver Stawarski-Beavan (my 5 year old son). Also thank you to Rob Griffiths for capturing some sounds of Vienna with us.