I’ve been silent–but not sleeping! No, I’ve been in Venice and have successfully brought to fruition the Casanova in Place Symposium. I’ll break it up into a few posts (rather than one long one) to share some highlights with you.
Last Friday, June 28, we gathered at Galleria il Redentore on Giudecca with our host, Manuel Carrión. Manuel is an artist with an interest in Casanova as well as others who have left their mark on Venice. Once all the participants had arrived at his gallery, Manuel told us about his projects and interest in Casanova, then gave each of us a panel to decorate with our artistic impressions of C. These will be incorporated into Manuel’s Spying on History with Casanova project, which currently consists of over 2,000 such panels. Here’s some video he shot that evening.
We ran out of prosecco pretty quickly as we inaugurated our symposium. A very exciting aspect for me was finally meeting people face to face–folks I had emailed with for the last year (or more). One such person was Stefano Feroci, who greeted me by saying, “My hero!” as a way of thanking me for bringing us all together.
Soon we moved outside and next door to the church of the Redentore, where we gathered at the foot of the steps to hear from Albert Gardin. He recited Casanova’s translation of the Iliad into Venetian dialect. Behind us the sun gilded the waves and lit up the facades along the Zattere. It was a magical moment, an exciting beginning to officially open the symposium.
A number of us strolled to the Ristorante al Redentor for dinner along the fondamenta. I got to know Mladen Kozul and hear his stories about growing up “cosmopolitan” and making the world his home. Then Tom Vitelli and I sat with Jean-Christophe Igalens while he pored over a photo of a letter by Casanova, trying to determine if it is real or not. I’ve rarely had the honor to watch an expert ply his trade, in this case, Jean-Christophe assessing the letter’s contents, lack of date, quality of paper, and so on. Yes, I totally geeked out.
Up next: The papers!
Pictured here from left to right: Malina Stefanovska, Tom Vitelli, Valerie Ceriano, Valeriano Hernadez-Tavera Martin, Vonda Wells, myself, Mladen Kozul, Cyril Frances, and Jean-Christophe Igalens. A second table included others.
(All photos by RJ Wofford)