I’m in Austin, Texas with Gareth, Michelle, Julian and Terry, here to report on events for the BBC WOrld Service but also to appear in a special Digital Planet panel at SXSWi. It should be loads of fun – here’s the trailer that Terry has put on the World Service website:
One of the best things about working on Digital Planet is that I get the opportunity to visit places that I wouldn’t normally get to, and when I’m there I get to meet a lot of interesting people and talk about their work and their lives.
Yesterday I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, to meet up with Gareth and Michelle, and after a trip to the BBC bureau we spent some time at KBC, the main Kenyan broadcaster.
But the afternoon was spent at Kibera, the slum in southern Nairobi. It’s the largest slum in Africa, with a population of over one million, and being there was astonishing.
I don’t have time now to write about it, or what I thought as we wandered through the space where a million people carve out a life. But I will.
[You can also find this on the BBC News website, of course]
The 53rd Venice Art Biennale has just opened, a massive exhibition of contemporary art from around the world that takes over large parts of the city every two years from June to November and turns it into a showcase for the new, the experimental, the exciting and the just plain weird.
And I do mean weird.
There’s a semi-submerged Russian submarine in the Grand Canal, an Icelandic artist is going to spend the next six months painting a series of bad portraits of a cigarette-smoking model, and a group of Nordic artists are exhibiting a very life-like corpse floating face-down in a swimming pool while a group of naked men sit on deckchairs nearby.
Seventy-seven countries are taking part, many of them exhibiting their work in purpose built pavilions in the public gardens of the Giardini while others can be found in the former shipyard of the Arsenale or scattered across palaces and warehouses throughout the city.
As well as the national pavilions there are forty-four associated exhibitions and events, and nearly one hundred individual artists have been invited to show work in the central ‘Making Worlds’ exhibition.
I’ve just finished four days in Venice for the Vernissage of the 2009 Biennale with the BBC World Service Digital Planet team of Gareth Mitchell and Colin Grant.
We had an excellent time, and it’s always hard to leave this wonderful city.
There are some photos on Flickr, including some nice pictures of our interview with John Cale whose work is in the Welsh Pavilion, and I also made some AudioBoos while we were there:
On my way
Arriving in Venice
The Wedding at Cana (Peter Greenaway)
Breakfast with Gareth and Colin
Back to Arsenale