by Deborah A. Garwood
Timed to coincide with the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, Milestone Architecture’s exhibition, "Ancient Presence, Modern Projection: Torcello Island - Venice, Italy" immerses the visitor in a contemporary experience of Venetian-Byzantine structures. The exhibition is participatory, with live feeds connecting Torcello with installations in New York and Venice. The ancient structures’ fundamental relationship to architecture is explained through these installations, with physical objects, projections of light, and interactive software meant to engage the viewer. Digital media – both as a transparent construction material and a live-streaming medium – invokes across time and space themes of modernist architecture while offering a contemporary experience of Torcello, which was founded in the 5th century. Notably, the exhibition and its website adapt cutting-edge techniques of Human-Centered Design. Visual, haptic and aural tools permit points of entry to the exhibition for persons with differing abilities, so that any visitor may gain access to the Basilica and partake of its spirit.
1 The project has been undertaken as one of the case studies for the development of the international and multidisciplinary research of Paola Barcarolo, XXVIIIth cycle of Doctorate of Research in "Civil and Environmental Engineering, Architecture", University of Udine, Italy, entitled: "DfA Communications for the Strategic and Sustainable Enrichment of Cultural and Natural Heritage: Definition and Validation of Perceptual - Synaesthetic and Emotive Operational Principles for the Use of the Touristic UNESCO Sites." She has served Milestone Architecture PLLC for free as: Project Manager; Exhibition Designer; Catalogue Curator; Web Designer and Developer; Scientific Consultant and Supervisor in DfA and HCD; Supervisor of Graphic Communication; Graphic Designer.
Background Image: "Torcello complex of sacred structures, showing Basilica (at left), Santa Maria Assunta (center), and Campanile (at right), on July 2, 2013" Photograph © Deborah A. Garwood, provided by Deborah A. Garwood, New York, NY
The subject of this survey, a joint venture sponsored by Sansovino Restauri and Milestone Architecture PLLC, is the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the Martyrion of Santa Fosca on Torcello, and their context.
This survey used many different combinations of digital software to produce measured drawings that probe the scope of needed restoration work, and to produce experimental images that document the site, the structures, and their meaning and history.
There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on June 5th, 2014 both in NYC (The Cooper Union) and in Venice (Church of San Lio).
- The exhibit will formally open in NYC on June 16th, 2014 and in Venice on June the 5th, 2014.
- The date of the end of the exhibit in USA is the 29th of June and in Italy is the 14th of July.
• Torcello Island, Venice Lagoon - Italy
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
Piazza of Torcello
• The Cooper Union, New York - USA
The Cooper Union
The New Academic Building
Room 504, 5th Floor
41 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
• Church of San Lio, Venice - Italy
Sestiere of Castello
Campo of San Lio, near Rialto
The exhibit will occur across multiple spaces: along with the Church of San Lio in Venice, there will be a site at The Cooper Union in New York City. Designed as a participatory exhibition, live feeds will connect the installations at all sites; video from New York City will be shown live in Venice, and live video from Torcello will be shown in New York City, directly engaging the source of the exhibition material. Thanks to these live feeds, people across the ocean will be able to interact virtually, congregating together, despite being many kilometers apart. Physical reproductions of architectural elements from Torcello, projections of light, point-cloud data and photographic imagery, and interactive software will engage the viewers, facilitating a contemporary experience of Torcello across time and space.
Visitors in New York will have the opportunity to access a site of valuable cultural heritage, located halfway across the world.
In Italy, the exhibition will take place in the Church of San Lio, located near the Ponte Rialto.