My attempts to follow the example of Ralph Rumney of the Situationist International in exploring and remapping Venice. I elected to take the opposite direction to any sign for San Marco or Rialto, going against the flow. Ralph Rumney’s mission apparently failed according to the report issued by SI. In actual fact he shared the fate of many members of Situationist International in being dismissed. His crime was failing to file his report on time.
“And thus, Rumney has disappeared, and his father has not yet organized a search party. The Venetian jungle is strong; it closed in on the young man, full of life and promise, now lost, dissolved in a multitude of memories.”
At least I returned to file a report.
It was surprisingly difficult stepping out into busy streets with the intention of going against the flow and signed routes. I’ve been lost numerous times in Venice but this feels different and rebellious even though no one is likely to notice.
Avoiding San Marco and Rialto signs, after a few twists and turns and dead ends I came into a quiet area, few people and quirky little shops, a lot of ironmongers and hardware shops and ones selling cheap children’s toys. A couple of men standing feeding birds from their hands, sparrows and pigeons.
I keep gravitating towards the open space of the lagoon whilst simultaneously being repelled by its bleakness, cold and damp air and sparse features. Escape by succumbing to the lagoon for a while before heading inwards again.
An area of funeral directors, far more than you would expect in such a small area; competing for sombreness.
Funnelled into busy noisy area, hum of conversations, high end shops and tourist tat, no escape and ended up on Rialto. Crossed and after some wandering recrossed acknowledged that it was time to head back to base.
GPS tracking variable in narrow streets and alleys surrounded by high buildings so not a totally reliable way to track my journey.
A few hours walking with an hour that felt like true freedom, still better than following the groove.