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Echoes from the Venice Biennale TACK Visit


Paula Strunden Caendia Wijnbelt

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November 1, 2021

Image 01 “First Image”, Serbian Pavilion, Caendia Wijnbelt

Image 02 “Another Image”, Brazilian Pavilion, Caendia Wijnbelt

PS (Paula Strunden): What did you like about the first image you sent me?

CW (Caendia Wijnbelt): That was the first moment that came to mind when I was thinking about the days at the Biennale. It was a detail of the Serbian exhibit that reminded me of a school near Toulouse. You know, the copper plates on the wall, these panels that go all the way until the ceiling and then curve? In that school they had basically filled the corridors with these panels, and the children would run through the corridor and touch the walls, and over time, leave all these imprints of their hands. It was at a completely different height to what we were used to as adults. This pavilion gives the same feeling but then instead of it being fingerprints that are accessible, they were in places that for us are out of reach, we are staring up at them, right at the top of the wall.

PS: There is a person in the picture, that helps to get a sense of scale, it is actually quite huge!

CW: Yes, the models themselves are eye height and the panels go way up there. And it is nice because the handprints are not the ones of the people who are visiting the exhibition, but rather of the people that have built it, of whom there are usually no traces. These are things that happen before you go to the Biennale. These pavilions are also sites of happening where different realities encounter each other and merge. I just sent you another image based on a hint that you gave me. I think you were the first one to say that, that this pavilion was also quite an incredible experience. Why did you like it?

PS: For me, the experience of standing in the Brazilian pavilion was somehow the strongest. It was super immersive through these three large projections that played back simultaneously three video recordings that, in the beginning, were quite realistic and then started to become fuzzy, like in a dream. You were sitting on a boat going down a river, and you could see your shadow and suddenly, the shadow started having a life of its own and jumped into the water, giving you this strange feeling of disembodiment. I think for me, that was so special, because of course I am used to working with VR and immersive technologies, but at that moment we were not alone in the experience, we stood there with other people in the same dreamy space experiencing the boat-ride together and sharing that one shadow between all our physical bodies. I guess, that was for me the most touching moment of the evening.

CW: Yes. Also, we didn’t know this city before. But once leaving the room, it really felt like we shared an experience in it. We were often seeing the same thing from three slightly different perspectives, which was strong.

PS: And Eric actually comes from the city of Belo Horizonte and recognized the place where the film was made, and we could travel with him along the river he knows so well, that was beautiful!