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PRINT March 2020

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View of “Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys: Mondo Cane” (A Dog’s World), 2019, Belgian pavilion, Venice. From the 58th Venice Biennale. Photo: Nick Ash.

AT NO TIME has the ever-widening gap between Art and World been on more dramatic display than in rain-ravaged Venice this past November during the fifty-eighth edition of the Biennale, dubiously titled “May You Live in Interesting Times.” The most poignant and lasting image to have come out of this most recent iteration of the global art world’s favorite tourist attraction may well be that of a helpless vaporetto—emblazoned with Biennale advertising—run aground due to flooding near the Giardini boat stop. A sobering sign of “interesting times” indeed, and a far cry from one of the 2019 event’s most emblematic works, installed at the far end of the Arsenale: the delirious brave new world of zeroes and ones conjured by Ryoji Ikeda in his rapturous data-verse 1, 2019, an immersive video installation collating visual information sourced from CERN, NASA, and the Human Genome Project,

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