Era Mare

Words by Teresa Sartore
December 16, 2019

On the night of 12 November 2019, exceptionally high tide in Venice reached 187 cm above the mean sea level. It submerged the streets and flooded nearly every ground floor. To demonstrate their support and spirit of solidarity with the Venetians and Venice itself, Matteo de Mayda, bruno (Andrea Codolo and Giacomo Covacich) and Francesca Seravalle joined their forces to create “Era Mare” (It was the sea”), a book that shows an uncertain and dystopic imaginary and invites the reader to reflect on the future of the city.

The proceeds from the books’ sales will be donated to Do.Ve, a cultural association made up of commercial activities and private citizens active in the preservation and valorization of the Dorsoduro district and which would use the funds to help these realities get back up again.

“The scirocco wind stopped blowing at one o’clock, that full moon night when the mouths of the port drank the lagoon with salty water. It was sea, no more brackish water. From the day after,  a new horizon painted itself, rising and falling every six hours, constantly covering the trachyte paving stones. Venice was also reflected in the fields, now water mirrors, reachable by boat, the lamp posts serving as moorings. For weeks, a calm post-apocalyptic beauty roused the Venetians at half past five in the morning with the sirens, turning the chronicle of an emergency into a chronic emergency. The still, silent water persisted, erasing the distinct lines between the fondamenta and the canals, between the streams and the paths, swallowing the streets and isolating the bridges, chosen as meeting places for the few remaining inhabitants to greet each other on dry land. Every now and then, for a few hours, the submerged world reappeared, displaying magnificent Byzantine mosaics, Palladian and Venetian terrazzo floors. Before retreating, the water would take a bite of the city; stone columns, boats and even kiosks, swallowed whole, were sacrificed. It was a constantly changing landscape. New species of flora and fauna replaced the previous ones, fighting back in the new environment; cacti surfaced in the courtyards of this desert of water. Tourists were few now and Venice shone with a new ambiguous beauty, like a suspended Pompeii, which lived at a slow pace envisaging a future Atlantis. The Serenissima had become the experimental habitat in which an almost amphibious population resisted, considering new paths and hoping to wake up drier and more numerous”. Text by Francesca Seravalle.

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