Back to

Behind the Columns

The fury of the Biennale has begun, and Gloria at the palladian U.S. Pavilion is looking polished and practiced for the crowds. In the past week, many of the final touches and adjustments have been made in the gallery, a fact made many times more complicated with 13 live performers, a dual channel video room and operating sunbed, ATM, pipe organ, treadmill and tank. Most of this was accomplished under the watchful eye of the IMA’s on-site installation team, Brad Dilger and Mike Bir, who oversaw the installation of all of the work and fine tuned just about everything you see in the pavilion, and Yvel GuelcĂ©, the Director of IT who installed the attendance counter and the localized wireless for the TAP Gloria mobile tour.

Amanda York, Brad Dilger, Yvel Guelce and Gabriele HaBarad diligently working during practice and installation week.

After all this prep, here are some of the interesting and funny stories that developed while we put the final touches on Gloria!

After the installation of the organ, the music composer Jonathan Bailey arrived to test the ATM and organ sound precision and listen to the music in the gallery space. He had to cancel the transactions or else remove hundreds of dollars from the machine during this testing phase.

Jonathan Bailey compares notes with his notes.

While he was testing the machine, I asked him about the possibility of our banks getting worried about multiple cancelled transactions and locking our cards. Jonathan switched to an older card in his wallet just in case something like this happened, and not a moment to0 soon. Shortly after, someone walked up to say hello to him and he got distracted when the machine ejected his card. After a brief wait, the machine ate the card, never to be seen again! This is a feature of the machine’s security, in case you leave your card behind, but is a bit inconvenient if you need to make about 100 transactions in 2 hours!

Another interesting development came after the female gymnasts arrived in Venice to begin rehearsals on the Delta seat.

The gymnasts and choreographer Rebecca Davis warm up in the white room for rehearsals.

They lithely hopped on to the armrest, only to find themselves swimming in mid air, looking for visual purchase. In Circus Warehouse, their practice space, they unknowingly had hundreds of objects upon which to anchor their gaze and find balance. In the white gallery space, they couldn’t hold their poses. They spoke with Jennifer and Guillermo and agreed something had to be done. The IMA’s Brad Dilger painted custom dots, then had each gymnast test for placement. The final position of the grey dots can be seen during the performance of Body in Flight (Delta) in the pavilion today.


On the left, the pair of dots on the wall, placed for the gymnasts varying heights.

Another bit of valuable behind-the-scenes info: U.S. Pavilion Commissioner and IMA Chair of Contemporary Art Lisa Freiman gives a sharp looking haircut.

Photographer Nick D'Emilio needed a trim.

Filed under: Art, Venice Biennale

3 Responses to “Behind the Columns”

  • avatar
    Ed Says:

    Fascinating point about the visual reference, and great job sending all this amazing behind-the-scenes media back over the pond! You must be having a blast.

  • avatar

    Fascinating details–more, please!

  • avatar
    Emily Says:

    Thanks, Ed and Jenny!

    We had a lot of fun- long days but we got amazing content and we can’t wait to share all of it. I will be writing a few more blog posts about the process in the next few months- check back to read them.

  • Trackbacks