i had been to italy once before this trip, but it was short lived and the area i saw was too small to get any real perspective with.

i find the landscape in between these conferences consistently more interesting than the landscape once there. conferences only interest me because of the people that attend them (and how they fit together).

croatian trucks on italian highways are at least as interesting.

and there's always tha most modern form of art, advertising. here's two extreme examples of modernity:

the first is an example of internationalism.
the second is an example of sensationalism.

the first is a hindu from india selling dancing minney and mickey mice. they were dancing to his tabla music that he was playing on the cassette recorder. he was selling them for only a couple thousand lira. an indian selling america in italy.

this other picture of the woman drinking milk from the cow's udder i found immediately to the indian gentleman's left. it was an advertisement for a clothing store. a woman suckling male.female sex.composite to sell clothes.

he's grumpy and sticking out his tongue. she's sexy and sticking out her vulva. i love both of these campaigns.

art's stupid.

advertising is where the religion of contemporary life lives.

but venice is a little weird. the streets are full of water and the place reminded me of a dream. it would have been a nightmare if i hadnt been able to leave: a world full of chalky water, tourists clambering everywhere, unintelligible language, people screaming, haunted deserted buildings of dusty red leaning over the streets, the whole place threatening to collapse at any century, a confused and decrepit bastion of antiquity that has rheumatic eyes, watery knees, and a peeling disposition.

venice is an old man, who is kept alive with the respirator of tourism. if you listen you can hear his soft, watery asthma as it whispers among the alleys and between the buildings.

how could venice be visited without a gondolier ride? i hate tourist attractions more than i hate tourists, but a ride in a gondola made some sort of sense. there's so much of the city that is completely unavigable that the gondola was a beautiful way to see the alleys and buildings. and so, as you see in this first image, we floated by Casa Nova's house.

i felt like quite the lover. and it was romantic because it was so horribly sad and everything was still, as if there were a dusty afternoon light that was thousands of years old, hanging still in the air. the venetian oranges and reds, the ancient italian greys, the sighing of the water, the cool musty smelling air, the breathing of the gondolier behind us as he pushed his oar into the water, steering only inches from the passing stony walls. these are things that make a place real. and it was so surreal that i found myself laughing in amazement, surrounded by abject beauty.

and, did i mention the tourists?