There exists in Venice a cool, cavernous pod where it is always nighttime.
Enter one door and you will find flowers that light up at will, arranged in a series of vertical and horizontal lines to form a maze.
When a flower’s lights dim, the one beside it lights up. The effect is hypnotic.
A recorded chorus of crickets and frogs serenades those who maneuver the maze toward the exit, their way lighted only by the faint glow of flowers lining the path.
The space was designed by Joana Vasconcelos, a veteran of the Venice Art Biennale, who was asked by Swatch to design the maverick Swiss watch company’s pavilion located this year in the Giardini district.
Vasconcelos, a Portugal-based artist, became known at the biannual exhibition for her previous piece “A Noiva” (The Bride), a 20-foot-high chandelier made entirely of tampons.
Garden of Eden
Her participation is Swatch’s way of establishing a significant presence at both the Giardini and Arsenale venues of the recently opened 56th Venice Art Biennale that is ongoing until November.
Called Giardino dell’Eden, Vasconcelos’ art installation is attracting hundreds of visitors of all ages. She used black Lycra to cover cylinders where the flowers emerge.
“Inside the cylinders, synchronous motors and transparent polychrome discs activate… to create an illusion of movement and mechanical sounds, resembling insects or a light breeze,” according to Swatch.
It added that the installation becomes a “negative of the classical notion of a garden.”
But because of the installation’s interactive features, a visit to the pavilion is akin to “an illuminated, magical, eerie experience along a path that every visitor will feel as their own.”
For the past 30 years, Swatch has been a strong supporter of contemporary art and artists, often using its product as a canvas on the wrist to feature these artists’ works.
To celebrate this year’s biennale theme “All The World’s Futures,” Swatch will release a special watch that will be available for purchase onsite at its biennale venue and in selected Swatch stores.