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 Guelcé, the Director of IT who installed the attendance counter and the localized wireless for the TAP Gloria mobile tour.
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.
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.
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.
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.