Venice is crumbling into the sea, both literally and metaphorically. The question of Venice’s longevity has long been at issue among historical preservationists and tourists alike, but the issue is becoming more relevant—with each passing year, sea levels rise, the average age of the population rises with it, and younger residents emigrate. Tourists arrive in droves and pillage the town, knowing little to nothing about the culture of the city.
In the face of the perilous water rising over the doorstep, little is being done to preserve the artisan culture of Venice. Venetian artisanship is a treasure trove, ranging from glass-blowing to book-binding. What happens if these artisans move away from Venice, or their children move, or the artists themselves die before passing on their knowledge? Would it be possible to document Venetian artisans, their creations and creativity, and inspire them and others to work further to preserve their culture?
Reporter and poet Robert Eric Shoemaker travels to the dying city to conduct field research on artisanship and the impending doom of Venice. Through interviews with artisans and climate change experts, Shoemaker documents the threat to a culture that has inspired change since its origin on tiny islands in the Adriatic. For more posts on the subject see Eric's blog: Venetian Artisanship and Climate Change.
Your voice alights on my armhair,
a whiff of cigar smoke
caramel and ghostly-
Cities die; let them.