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Gen Residency Guest Blog: Magda Stanova

Interview with the Artist

How would you describe your style?

The thing with art is that you don’t necessarily want to have an style, style is more for design. As an artist, as soon as you develop one style you want to escape it, otherwise you start repeating yourself and that is not good. I’m currently working on several projects at the same time and I hope they all have different styles!

During your time at Generator Venice you have been working on an exhibition that can be seen all around the reception and lounge areas. What are you trying to communicate?

The exhibition is called Travel Guide. Most of the people, nowadays, travel very fast: two days in one place, three days in another… they want to visit the popular sights. Places they have already heard of and seen on postcards and travel guides. What I’m doing is showing there are many interesting things that are difficult to find so the exhibition is a recollection of alternative spots from around the world, nice experiences you can’t get from regular travel guides. There is a lot of pleasure in discovering your own sights!

If a guest asked you what to do in Venice, where to visit, what would you tell them? Any secret spots?

Places stop being secret the moment you talk about them! There are so many of those guides called “secret places in Venice”. People read them and then they become full of tourists. So when people ask them I just say, walk around because the whole city with this combination of water and streets is something else.

What do you like doing when you are not working?

Because what I do now is what used to be my hobby in High School I don’t distinguish between working and not working anymore.

Do you like travelling? Have you done it a lot?

I travel but I don’t do it in a tourist way. When I go somewhere I stay for a while. During my studies I did lots of exchange programmes, I did my Masters in San Francisco, before that I studied in Zurich… So if I go somewhere is because I have something to do, I very rarely go to a place just to see it.

Is there any place in the world that you especially like? That place you always want to go back to?

I think that place will definitely be Venice.

Post one: Friday 17/01

Hello from Venice!

I’m the first of the artists taking part in Generator Residency program this winter. I arrived here last Friday and will be staying  for six weeks. Each week, I’ll be posting notes and updates of my progress.

Gen Residency Program

Week 1 Residency Notes and Updates:

* 1 *

In 2007, when I was studying in Venice, our professor Roberto Casati proposed to me and my classmate Stephanie Roisin a project about Venice from the point of view of a pedestrian. This collaboration resulted in a paper and large scale maps that you can see here:

The maps that we made were about contemporary Venice. But a few hundred years ago, the difference between the point of view of a pedestrian and the point of view of a sailor must have been even bigger – there were more canals (which were later turned into streets) and less bridges over the Grand Canal. So I decided to do another block map of Venice – the Venice of 1729. It is going to be based on the map of Lodovico Ughi from that year. Ughi’s map was the first detailed map of Venice (before there were only depictions of the city from a bird’s eye view). View the Ughi’s map here:

To make this map will take a lot of work, but I’m curious to see what will come out.

* 2 *

I’ve always wanted to know how Venice looked like before any islands have been built or enlarged. I finally found a book that contains reconstruction of Venice around the year 800. The book by Corrado Balistreri and Dario Zanverdiani is titled Venezia nel tempo and was published last year. Here are some pages of the book online: You can see the map of Venice around the year 800 on the page 12 of the pdf.

* 3 *

New addition to my Travel Guide series:

“To live for six weeks in a hostel, where usually people stay only two or three nights, is like to live for 500 years and see how your friends are being born and die.”

Do you know the play The Makropulos Affair by Karel Čapek? I feel a little bit like Emilia.. :)

* 4 *

On Saturday afternoon, OPEN STUDIO begins. Come to the lounge to see what I’ve been working on. You’ll find me at the table with the sign saying ‘Generator Artist-in-residency Open Studio.’

I’m looking forward to it!

 PS: Here’s a sneak preview of a Venice drawing from my Travel Guide..

Generator Residency Program

Check back Friday for the next update.

Click here to read more:

Post two: Friday 24/01

This week, I’ve been preparing a show Travel Guide that you will be able to see in the lounge of the Generator in Venice from next week. 
Meanwhile, here are some photos from around the city.

Meanwhile in Venice


Few days ago, there was such a nice sunset that both tourists and locals stopped and looked at it. Luckily, I didn’t have a camera, so I had to enjoy it.


Exhibition lighting system in Sala San Leonardo reminds of a barbed wire fence around prisons.


A bench good for looking at stars (behind the wall of Biennale at Austrian pavilion).


A tree wearing a military camouflage


Aperol on it’s way to our stomachs.

 Post three: Monday 03/02

From today, you can see the exhibition Travel Guide in the lounge of Generator in Venice. There are 22 drawings about various places plus four images about traveling in general. Some of them are more visible, others are a little bit hidden. So while waiting for a boat, you can try to find them all:

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Generator Residency

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Final Post: Friday 21/02

This was the fourth week of my residency in Venice. Here are some thoughts I’ve been collecting:

Before computer geeks were posting unboxing videos on youtube, there was the Catholic Church. They did unboxing of St. Anthony twice: in 1263 and in 1981. In the back of the St. Anthony Basilica in Padua, you can see the box, the wrapping material and the body pieces.

If you plan to use marble somewhere and cannot decide which one to use, come to Venice to see Saint Mark’s Basilica. It’s a marble show room.

Stores in Venice are either open or not existing.

When I studied in Venice, I used to eat in a cafeteria which was not only for students, but also for employees of various institutions. Once, during the carnival time, I found myself in a line together with a police man, a firemen, and a priest. Or were they just in costumes? Two students that were right behind the priest asked him: “Are you a real priest?” He answered that he is. But was he?

Querini Stampalia’s library in Venice is a labyrinth within a labyrinth.

In my first blog post, I wrote about a book containing maps of how Venitian archipelago was growing and changing over the time. Well, I found out that that book (Venezia nel tempo by Corrado Balistreri and Dario Zanverdiani) was based on a french book titled Venice au fil du temps: atlas historique d’urbanisme et d’architecture by Egle Trincanato and Umberto Franzoi from 1971. This older book is not as colorful as the new one, but is has a beautiful design and is much easier to navigate. It is not in bookstores any more, but you can find it in some libraries, for example at the library of Ateneo Veneto in Campo San Fantin, right next to the theatre La Fenice.

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Generator Gen Residency Guest Blog: Magda Stanova

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