1. A Mantis* reads a book of poetry* on a rock outcropping:
A way out of the mirror
was found by the image that realized its existence
was only… a stranger, completely like myself
A way out for ever! Has not been found to enter the ground whence the images rise, and repeat themselves
* ME * KADDISH AND OTHER POEMS 1958–1960 by Allen Ginsberg.
2. Part of a grotto from Schloss Hellbrunn, an early Baroque villa near Salzburg, which is famous for its watergames. There is the rain grotto, the mirror grotto and another with a dragon coming out of a hole in a rock, who drinks from a fountain and vanishes again.
3. An expression inspired by bureaucracy.
4. The bird of uncertainty pecking my face. (This bird comes from a ceramic tile from Villa d’este, Tivoli, Italy, where I saw many birds drinking from fountains.)
5. Part of the Trevi Fountain, at the junction of three roads (tre vie), marks the terminal point of one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. It was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi, who died when his work was half-finished. He made sure that a stubborn barber’s unsightly sign would not spoil the ensemble, hiding it behind a sculpted vase that Romans called the asso di coppe, or “Ace of Cups.”
6. The signature of Vittore Carpaccio, from the painting Meeting of the Betrothed Couple and the Departure of the Pilgrims (1495), which I photographed at the Gallerie dell’accademia during my first trip to Venice. It is a massive painting, about 9-feet-high by 20-feet-wide, and near its centre is a flag pole. And on the flag pole’s marble base is his signature. And above his signature is a very small black scorpion, which, when I noticed it, became the protagonist of the painting.
7. A praying mantis made of glass, by Vittorio Costantini. Visit his shop in Cannaregio on Calle del Fumo, 5311, 30121, Venice. As well, if anyone has Arnaud Spire’s text “Germaine Richier or the strategy of the praying mantis,” which appeared in L’humanité on May 9, 1996, could you please send me a copy.
8. Bottles collected from the shores of Venice and used in a poster to encourage people to drink tap water to reduce plastic waste. More than 20 million tourists visit Venice each year, consuming 13 million bottles of water. There are public drinking fountains in almost every square, but tourists are afraid to drink from them. Floating among the bottles is a figure from Alfred Kubin’s Grotesque Animal World (1898).
9. A picture of a print of a flamingo taken in Ben Lomond, California, at my friend Tom’s house, which is a converted horse stable surrounding a pool with a black bottom. The house is filled with tapestries, folk art,
11. Newspaper clipping from the International Herald Tribune from Friday, June 21, 1968. The headline reads: “ARTS AND CLUBS Police in Venice charge students demonstrating in Saint Mark’s Square against the Biennale yesterday, the second day of protests. Many artists have withdrawn their works in sympathy.”
12. Ceramic tiles from the 16th century from Villa d’este, Tivoli, Italy. Kenneth Anger filmed Eaux d’artifice (1953) among the water features of the garden. The famous water organ, which had not functioned for many years, was restored and now plays again each day. The tile is stuck in the shell of a Rapana venosa, a species of large predatory sea snail.
13. iphone 6 Plus with notes: The Republic of Venice first rose as a major military power through participation in the Fourth Crusade, where Venetian troops were among those effecting the conquest of Constantinople. Venice then fought a protracted series of wars with Genoa and Pisa for domination of the Mediterranean trading routes. With the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the Republic lost its territories in the east as Cyprus and Venetian strongholds in Morea were occupied; at the same time, the rise of the Visconti in Milan drew Venice into the condottiere warfare of Italy.
14. According to legend, a pet monkey kept at the palazzo was possessed by the devil. During an exorcism, the monkey flew through the wall, leaving a big hole that the owner covered with the shrine of the angel.
15. Portrait of the Four Tetrarchs (ranked #153 of 498 things to do in Venice) in porphyry brought from Constantinople in 1204. A review from Trip Advisor: “SMALL STATUES... A not impressive monument that can be seen at one of the Doge’s Palace court entry. It consists in two pairs of characters, almost identical, sticked to the wall.”
16. Mushrooms extracted from a card depicting Alice in Wonderland, which was bought from the Window Community Art Shop on 1 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, and given to my project manager, Karl, at the Kunstgiesserei St. Gallen, to thank him for his help on my project. On one of the mushrooms is a fragment of a drawing by Annie Pootoogook, titled Balvenie Castle (2006). Annie Pootoogook died of suspicious circumstances on September 19, 2016, in Ottawa.
17. Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, burns to the ground, three youth charged.
18. A wood carving of mushrooms given to me by Kitty Scott. A stop sign from a photograph of a collision between a train and my Grandfather’s lumber truck. He died a few months after the accident.