Life in Venice as a Technical intern + useful information
2.6.2019 | art , exhibition

During my internship from April to mid-May, I was very fortunately selected to work with artist Shirley Tse and the M+ Venice Biennale team as a technical intern. It was a wonderful and remarkable experience for my career. Working overseas was more challenging than I had originally thought. Thankfully, the team arrived in Venice and started to setup at a relatively early stage. With enough lead time, we were able to solve a lot of the installation problems.

Partial view from the courtyard, the external AC units have yet to be installed

Partial view from the courtyard on a rare sunny day

This photo was probably taken on the first day of work. Shirley’s studio assistants, Jin and Anna were unpacking components of “Negotiated Differences”. They were involved in most of the wood turning stage and preparing for the installation.

Josette, in a turquoise t-shirt was Shirley’s other studio assistant. Next to her was the other technical intern from M+, Cherry.

The pieces were intentionally mapped out in the venue, in a way that made sense to the artist.

 Parts of “Playcourt” waiting to be assembled and installed in the courtyard.

We started to put all the parts together in small clusters. It was like physically playing puzzle. In order to connect new parts, sometimes, the process required all of us to hold particular parts so that the whole section could adjust and find balance . Every wooden joint was connected with a 3D-printed connector. No glue or screws were applied. This meant that everything was supporting one another by force of gravity; differences eventually connected and held in harmony (we called it “negotiation”).

One of my major duties was going to hardware stores to source tools and material. No matter how well we prepared, there was always something that we didn’t expect we needed. The idea of going to hardware stores to buy stuffs may sound easy at first, in fact it was not! It took time to get familiar with different store locations on the map, especially when Venice is a big maze. Also, I needed to figure out what type of material each hardware store provided. Below was the list I have made of all the hardware stores that I have been to. It will be useful for future editions:

  1. Ferramenta Rosa

Via Giuseppe Garibldi, 1336, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

This was the closest hardware store to the Hong Kong pavilion, around 5 mins walk away. However, they only have the basic items. I seldom went there unless there was something basic and urgent.

  1. Ratti

Salizada San Lio, 5825, 30122 Castello, Venezia VE, Italy

Ratti was like a supermarket for electronics. It had two floors . Basically, you could find almost all the hardware you might need on the ground floor. This was the place I went to the most when I needed something very specific and in good quality. This store was the furthest away from the pavilion, but if you really needed to get some tools and had no idea where to go, this would be the store to check out.

  1. COVA s.n.c Red & Venier

Calle Giazzo, 5026, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

This was probably the store I visited the most apart from Ratti. You would pass by this store if you were on your way to Ratti. In term of price, they are cheaper. If I was lucky enough to find what I needed from here, I would just buy it right away in order to save some energy for the return trip. Also, there was a bald guy who could speak a bit of English!

  1. La Beppa

Calle Seconda de la Fava, 3166, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

La Beppa was quite close to the place that I lived. It was a hardware store that sold almost complete sets of stuff. If you were looking for something specific, you could try to take a look here first. I would usually go there in the morning before I started work just in case if I needed to pick up something for the day.

  1. Ferramenta Fazzini Venezia

Calle del Dose, 5870, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy

THIS IS A STORE FOR DUPLICATING KEYS. Actually, all the stores I mentioned above provided basic key copying service. However, they only have one machine and the type of keys they had were relatively limited. If any hardware store said that they couldn’t duplicate your key, you could go straight to this place. They had different machines for different kinds of keys. They were the key masters.


Andy Li San Kit

Graduated form The School of Creative Media, CityU Hong Kong. A freelance art exhibition technician, as well as a young artist who work with lens based media.

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