Google Not Showing The Icelandic "Mosque" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Google Not Showing The Icelandic “Mosque”

Published October 22, 2015

Photo by
Christoph Büchel

You can use Google to see every exhibition at the Venice Biennale except one – Cristoph Büchel’ “Mosque”.

As The Observer points out, Google can let you take a virtual tour of all the works on display at the Biennale. That is, with the exception of “Mosque”, which has run into considerable obstacles since its inception.

“Mosque”, an installation piece by Cristoph Büchel consisting of a replica mosque built inside a deconsecrated church in Venice, Italy, was closed last May by police and will not open again any time soon. The Icelandic Arts Centre had attempted to appeal a decision made by the city’s police last May to shut down the installation.

While the Icelandic Arts Centre appealed to higher municipal authorities to reverse the decision and expedite the case, this motion was rejected. As the appeals process can take a year or more, this means the installation is unlikely to re-open before the end of the Venice Biennale celebrations, which conclude in November.

However, Björg Stefánsdóttir, the managing director of the Icelandic Arts Centre, told reporters that while they have given up trying to rectify the situation through court venues, they will try to re-open the exhibition by other means. This may include re-applying for a permit with Venice, or opening at a new location. She said she was “very sad” over the situation, and would not confirm whether they would attempt the installation in Iceland.

Police said they shut down the exhibition out of fear of violent reprisals from Muslim and anti-Muslim extremists alike in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

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