Art Teaching Professor Beth Krensky performed her piece, “Dispatch from Solitude #1: Walking the Unknown Path,” during the Arte Laguna Prize Exhibition at the Arsenale Nord in Venice, Italy which opened March 11, 2023. The piece was originally commissioned in 2020 by Ogden Contemporary Arts as part of their “Social Distancing and Art” series, and was selected as a finalist from among more than 10,000 artworks submitted during an international open call. Krensky opened the event with her performance to 3,000 people.
While in Venice, Krensky incorporated the original performance footage into a new piece specifically created for the Arte Laguna Prize opening. This new piece consisted of live performance, as well as projected video footage combining “Dispatch from Solitude #1” with a solo performance on Lazzaretto Nuovo, a small island in the Venice lagoon, that houses a plague hospital built in 1468. Dylan Totaro, the Utah-based videographer who documented the original performance, accompanied Krensky to Venice to record new footage for the Arte Laguna Prize opening.
My performance is about traversing a path with an unknown route or destination. It explores how to navigate unchartered places or experiences, much like we are doing in this current pandemic. It is our walking that creates the path into the unknown. I walk on a pilgrimage toward myself, my memories of those who have loved me into existence, nature, and an “other” place. The walk creates and holds space for my fear, courage, isolation, refuge, gratitude and mortality.
The performance combined footage from my performance on Lazzaretto Nuovo, an island in the Venice Lagoon where plague quarantine was invented in the 1400s, footage from a performance in Emigration Canyon, and a live component where I read “A Letter to Children Everywhere”:
Dearest Children Everywhere,
Thank you for being the harbingers of hope and teaching us to see the world anew through your eyes.
The road is long and will continue far beyond this time of uncertainty. As your journey unfolds…
May you walk in beauty, health, peace and strength.
May you always follow your true north.
May you find shelter, safety and sustenance.
May you have the fortitude to weather the storms of life.
When confronted with the rhetoric of hate, may you converse in the language of peace.
In the struggle between fear and love, may you choose love.
May your journey be long and may it be filled with wonder and joy.
- Beth Krensky
Photos by Ina Di Grado, Dylan Totaro and David Gorfinkle