Venice, November 12th.
We all knew the high tide was coming, like Venetians ants, we were getting ready, slightly rising from the floor what could have gotten in contact with the water, we putted up barriers in front of every door, we were all prepared, but we were prepared for 140 cm.
Some people don't know that Venice has different altitudes, San Marco square is one of the lowest point, my studio for example is submerged when the sea level is above 127 cm, it is very important to know exactly because when water arrives, only few centimeters really count.
Already I was being prepared to have 13 cm of water in the studio, which can be easily kept under control with barriers (even though water doesn't knock, it comes through walls, every crack, between tiles and from the toilets) and I was getting ready to stay in my studio until night. But no one could have expected what came next.
This is not normal, Venice is kind of designed to be able to face this circumstances anyway, but 160 cm of water is already considered Natural Disaster, that night we got 187 cm of water.
The water arrived at 140 cm and people were still quite chilled, making pictures, cleaning and doing normal high tide things.
The water kept on rising, visible with the naked eye, centimeter by centimeter.
At this point the only thing to do is to save what is possible to save, to gradually rise everything, find higher places where to hang other things.
But the water kept on growing, until it reached electricity plugs and all you can do then is wait in the dark, with water up to your knees pressing cold against rubber boots.
I always try to be quite positive and see the irony in each situation, back then it was complete panic and confusion. instead of 13 cm of water, I was surrounded by 60 cm of water when the water got higher than the barrier. When I think about it I remember it like it was yesterday.
After cleaning until 2 am, the way back home was surreal, knots of dozen bar chairs tangled together in every corner, people crying, people not realizing, people asking for all sorts of help, broken buildings, broken bridges, boats in the middle of the streets, boat stops ripped out, exploded vitrines, heaps of trash everywhere.
This was not the end unfortunately, Venice and its citizens were exhausted for another week by high tides, not letting anyone rest, and so much cleaning that sponges, cloths, bleach and disinfectant were finished in every store.
In the following days however we managed to spare a tiny bit of strength for humor and we created the campaign 'Like Pidgeons we resist' sickish, tired, unwanted but persisting.
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