Aquagranda 1966-2016

A visual commentary about the Venice flood of 1966.

27 ottobre 2016

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Aquagranda, the extraordinary Venice flood of 1966, Fabrica has created a series of visual comments using different mediums, such as archival and contemporary photographs, video, gifs and graphics. The project is realised in collaboration with the City of Venice, the Archivio della Comunicazione of the City of Venice and the Camera Photo Archive.

On 4 November 1966, Venice was hit by the biggest flood ever known: the tide gauge at Punta della Salute marked 194 cm from sea level. The city was completely under water and, for two days, the blackout was total. Compared to Florence, that also witnessed a flood in the same days, Venice has never been able to tell this story, perhaps because the wound is still open. Following this disaster, UNESCO decided for the first time to monitor and catalog all cultural property of the city. Venice then became the first city in the world to be considered a World Heritage Site, protected by special laws.

Following the “Venice Report”, which formalises the damage of the historic flooding and the need for a continued presence on the ground, and as a result of the Special Law 171 on the safeguarding of Venice, in 1973 UNESCO moved its office to Venice. To help UNESCO in this cataloging, students and volunteers from around the world gave their time to help protect paintings and important works, in an rarely seen example of international solidarity.

From 4 to 20 November, some of the images will be hosted at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa – Galleria Piazza San Marco, in Venice.

ABSENCE By Fuse Tsang

The work, rather than focusing on past events, tries to give a poetic vision of Venice: a city without water. 

The gif consists of a series of archive photographs of Aquagranda, in which the flooded part has been removed; therefore reflecting on the relationship between the city and the water. 

The intervention of removal of water refers to the loss of memory related to the event: outside Venice not many people are aware of Aquagranda, as the event did not receive an appropriate coverage at national and international level, being put in the shade by the serious damage of Florence. Surreal and romantic, the GIF provides a new reading of archival photographs and of the city itself, in which one of its fundamental components has been removed.

CORRUPTED FILE by Bianca Ghiuzan

The contemporary historical memory is fleeting and easily corruptible, such as a digital file.

LEVELS by Bianca Ghiuzan

The animated GIF shows, in a “pop” way, the steady rise of the water level that flooded Venice on 4 November 1966. The increase of the water flow is represented by three undulating shapes, each containing a modified archive photograph. To show the levels reached by the water, a representation of a hydrometer will be displayed at the bottom. Progressively, as the water levels appear, one sees less and less and only the maximum reached height measurement (194 cm) becomes visible. In order to understand what happened that day, the animated GIF ends with a quote from Giulio Obici “Venice, until when?”.