Chapter 7: Arsenals of Globalization

The Arsenale of Venice is nowadays an urban landmark and the core location of the Biennale. Historically, it was the maritime power centre of the Republic of Venice, where the naval and merchant fleet of the city state was mass produced. The formula of self-contained and large-scale shipbuilding yards can be recognized in another maritime city, Amsterdam. Although incomparable in size and age, the Oostenburg shipyard of the trading organization of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) can be considered identical to the Arsenale. Both arsenals represent predecessors of industrial production and urban centres of globalization linked to shipping networks. The exploratory project of archaeologists Jerzy Gawronski and Francesco Tiboni, and Venetian shipbuilding expert Gilberto Penzo aims to show this shared identity through the material culture of shipbuilding tools.

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