Totally Lost in Venice During the Biennale? These Apps May Save Your Life

These intuitive apps let you choose your art destinations and events from a comprehensive list.

Screenshot of See Saw app.

A beatific city in poetry, art, literature, and cinema, Venice in all its calle-crosshatched eccentricity can also be a hellacious place for harried tourists—for instance, those poor, coddled souls racing to find an obscure Biennale pavilion before a reception closes, etc. Well, the lost, harried, or coddled need fear that missed Bellini no longer: See Saw, the handy app that serves as a map to art sites in major cities, has launched a Venice edition for the duration of this year’s Biennale.

With its intuitive interface, See Saw allows users to tick off the art destinations and events they want to visit from a surprisingly comprehensive list, sticking them as pins on an Apple Maps view that can be easily navigated in real time.

“Compiling all the information was actually a nightmare, but I figured the harder it was for me to make the more valuable it would be to our users,” says Ellen Swieskowski, the 28-year-old New York-based founder of See Saw, who created the app with her brother and is gradually turning it into a standalone business.

Gathering all the information for the Venice Biennale’s countless pavilions, para-pavilions, and para-para-pavilions is a thankless job that traditionally every Biennale-goer (or their assistant) has to slog though. Why did Swieskowski—who hopes to visit Venice in person sometime over the summer—take on the job? “I did it because nobody should be spending their time in Venice fumbling around with a indecipherable paper map,” she said. “It’s far too beautiful for that.”

But this isn’t the only app you can download to find your way around the Sinking City. Want to learn as you navigate? The Art Newspaper has compiled a handy guide that includes five separate walking tours through the Biennale’s main exhibition, national pavilions, and even the nearby islands; each one has blurbs on the most important works on view, complete with comments from the curators and artists themselves.

The Exhibitionary App

The Exhibitionary app for Venice

Meanwhile, Exhibitionary, a Berlin-based company, has just launched its Venice listings, adding to its existing gallery and museum guides for art destinations such as London, New York, Beijing, and Berlin.

“Last time I was in Venice, outgoing Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota was hosting a super exclusive cocktail party inside the mind-blowing Biblioteca Marciana. Getting lost, map in hand, and ending up missing the party is what made me dream up this app,” Justin Polera, a co-founder of Exhibitionary, told artnet News.

Alongside original content for listed shows—with an interactive Google Maps view—the app also includes tops picks by art world insiders, and lets you filter your favorites.

For those suffering from extreme FOMO even when in Venice, Exhibitionary also sends out alerts via their WhatsApp channel to keep you updated on everything you need to know about special events, performances, openings, and parties during preview days.

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