City of Bridges

This past week the Human Brain Project had a four-day conference in Florence. As I was looking at potential flights I noticed that there were no direct flights from Stockholm, but there was a direct flight to Venice. I had never been to Venice, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. I talked to Joanna Vymeris and Rafael San Martin who I know from the Cambridge dance scene and they were both keen to join me the weekend before the conference. We also got in touch with Judith Musker Turner who had previously designed the clothes for the Cambridge University Charity Fashion Show, and asked if she was interested in collaborating with us — she was. This weekend was starting to look really good.

After a bit of searching we finally found a place to stay. For anyone going to Venice, we can recommend Casa per ferie La Pietà, it is very central, located not far from the Bridge of Sighs, and fairly cheap. We also booked a rowing lesson with Elisa Costantini from Row Venice, because the city should be seen from the water at least once.

We flew in early on Saturday morning, and met up at Casa per ferie La Pietà just after lunch. We just had time to do quick inventory of all the clothes before we had to head out to meet Elisa for the rowing lesson, grabbing a quick pizza slice to go, on the way.

Joanna Vymeris on Rio della Madonna dell’Orto. Here dressed in “Venezia: Laguna” by Judith Musker Turner.
We left Rafael San Martin on the side of the river, all in the name of art.
Joanna Vymeris and Rafael San Martin dressed in the two matching pieces of “Venezia: Laguna” by Judith Musker Turner.

Venezia: Laguna’ (by Judith Musker Turner)
Joanna’s textured turquoise dress and Rafa’s appliquéd cream vest represent the inherent tension between the Gothic architecture of the city and its reflection in the waters of the lagoon. I am fascinated by the paradox of Venice as ‘The Floating City’, and the contrast between the fluidity of water and the rigidity of stone.

Joanna Vymeris relaxing.
Rafael San Martin dressed in “Venezia: Carnevale” top by Judith Musker Turner.

We have decided to split the Venice photos into three different blog posts. You can see the rest of the boat photos with Joanna, Rafa and Elisa in the “Daughter of Venice” blog post that will be published later this week.

The following morning we set the alarm clocks for 5:30, to get up before the sun rose.

Rafael San Martin outside Palazzo Ducale at sunrise.
Rafael San Martin and Joanna Vymeris on Piazza san Marco. Clothes designed by Judith Musker Turner.

‘Venezia’ Cloak (by Judith Musker Turner)
This cloak was the result of a year of research into the history, culture and community of Venice, and is intended as an impressionistic representation of the city as a whole. It features a six-metre-long embroidered edging which depicts a number of the aspects, both physical and conceptual, which are essential to the formulation of the unique character of the city and the connections between them.

Joanna Vymeris with some flying friends at Palazzo Ducale. The cloak by Judith Musker Turner has some amazing handsewn details.
Rafael San Martin in “Venezia: Laguna” at sunrise.
Joanna Vymeris and Rafael San Martin, with Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in the background.
The view of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute from Ponte dell’Accademia.
Rafael San Martin on the railing of Ponte dell’Accademia.
We did not take many flash photos, but this one of Joanna Vymeris is one of them. I wanted to add the flash to remove some of the shadows. Usually I shoot my photos with my 50 mm lens, but for Venice I decided to bring the 35 mm lens, in order to capture the amazing surroundings.
After the quiet Sunday morning the tourists started to come out in force as the sun rose higher. Then it was nice to retreat up on the hotel’s rooftop terrace. Here Joanna is dressed in “Welcome to Elysium” by Judith Musker Turner.

‘Welcome to Elysium’ (by Judith Musker Turner)
This collar or necklace is a jubilant synesthetic reaction to the concept of Elysium, the heavenly abode of kings and heroes. It is embroidered with scraps of velvet, silk, satin and gold leather quatrefoil motifs.

‘Venezia: Carnevale’
This set of designs, comprising of a crop top and skirt for Joanna and an embroidered vest for Rafa, is a spontaneous reflection of the rich, magical aspect of Venice, characterised by the splendour of the Carnevale.

Joanna sitting on the steps at Campo San Lorenzo with her newfound pigeon friends.
Sometimes you get lucky with how the birds fly. Here Joanna circled by pigeons in the air.
Venice is quite tricky to navigate, but luckily for the postmen and tourists, every house has a number.
Sunset approaches, and we find ourselves on the rooftop of the hotel again. Here Joanna is dressed in “Aporia” by Judith Musker Turner. She is lit by a flash from the right.

‘Aporia’ (by Judith Musker Turner)
This dress is the final piece from my 2015 debut collection, ‘La Vraie Division’. It is named after the mental state of perplexity reached at the end of a Socratic dialogue, which is reflected by the delicacy and weightlessness of the garment.

If you are interested to find out more about Judith Musker Turner and her clothing design, then check out her webpage.

This is the first of three blog posts from Venice.To see the other blogposts with photos from Venice, check the Venice tag on the blog. Many thanks to Joanna, Rafael, Judith and Elisa!

— Johannes

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