laba Studio VENICE 2015/16


Tourism and heritage—two fundamentally Western concepts—are usually presented as conflicting entities, the first being tied to economy and leisure, and the latter to culture and identity. We accept that both might seldom and only slightly converge, in order to create synergies, but reality is quite different. Tourism and heritage are not only intimately tied together, they attune to each other. The tourism industry and cultural heritage operate in a circular logic of self-justification: the industry of nostalgia. Under the pretext of (supposed) heritage preservation, the industry of nostalgia aims at preserving Venice as a simple one-dimentional form. It is not the city of Venice in any sustainable sense that preservation protects, but rather its imago: the idealized collective projection that the outside world has forced Venice to become. The industry of nostalgia turns Venice into a caricature of itself.
laba Studio 2015/16 will focus on the Venetian Lagoon and its immediate hinterland with the aim of reevaluating the city’s relationship to cultural heritage, its inner local livelihood, and its perimeter hinterland.
The goal of this studio will be to question the paradoxical role of preservation and our society’s relationship to monuments, museumification, and the commodification of culture. We will reflect on the historical debate on Venetian style, experiment with ways of responding to the condition/aesthetic of artificiality and simulation, and investigate how the insertion of specific programs into the city might bring “reality” back to the islands.


Project description/Semester booklet (PDF)

Introtrip Sept 14, 2015