The Precarious Present of an Artistic Artefact
Gondolas are still potent Venetian icons. Nonetheless, now they face a profound identity crisis, as a consequence of market trends and the use of new materials and techniques which are radically changing the way they are built. From a wider perspective, the juxtaposition between the new ‘gondola simulacrum’ an empty symbol without any artisan quality and the traditional ‘gondola valuable handicraft’ reflects the clear dividing line between the city of Venice crossed every year by almost 30 million tourists and the living city animated by inhabitants and original activities. In this way the process of gondola’s heritagisation (recent attempts to candidate it in the UNESCO List) becomes a lens to read the destiny of an entire city where resilient energies, not properly native but deeply rooted, look for forms of survival to mechanisms of mass tourism.