Play a round of mini golf at Venice Biennale 6th May – 26th July 2015

EM15 Venue
40, Castello. 30122 - Venice
Use the GPS location 45°25'58.6"N 12°21'32.0"E to find the venue on google maps.
(Please note you need to cross the Fondamenta Sant’Anna bridge to reach the EM15 venue. EM15 is adjacent to the pavilions of Bahrain and Catalonia.)

Previews and Opening Times:
Previews for Press and Arts Professionals: Wednesday 6th May - Friday 8th May 2015
Launch event: Thursday 7th May 2015, 5 - 7pm
Open to the public: Saturday 9th May 2015 – Sunday 26th July 2015
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm (closed Mondays)


Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf participating artists and their golf holes:

Lindsay Seers golf hole for Venice features a figurehead, upside down and pregnant being attacked by two enormous snakes. The figure is Princess Salme (daughter of a circassian in the harem of the sultan of Zanzibar; later she became Emily Ruete). Ruete was used as a pawn by the German's in the carving up of East Africa. The golf ball's journey up a steep ramp over a painting of an elongated anamorphic British Naval Captain, runs through the snakes bodies and bounces off a rock with an image of a 'circassian beauty' from PT Barnum's freak show. You should be able to score a hole in one - after all many of the colonalists did.

John Akomfrah examines the mediated images of death, in particular of unarmed African Americans shot by police in the United States in recent years, where the hoodie, the ubiquitous costume of the disenfranchised youth, becomes a threat to the status quo.

Globalisation has ostensibly opened up borders but some boundaries remain inflexible and ironclad. Yara El-Sherbini replicates various aspects of the day-to-day reality within territories under occupation, exploring separation barriers as an historical and universal means to control and limit the movement of people worldwide.

Purchased online, Doug Fishbone’s inflatable novelty Chinese army tank, on the face of it poses no real threat but may well point to the West’s undoing. Our reliance on China for cheap, often ridiculous, outsourced products has financed the nation’s rise as the next superpower bound for imperial domination. The real tanks may arrive soon enough.............

Ellie Harrison speculates that the UK as an island state is likely to remain temperate as global temperatures continue to rise and many parts of the world become uninhabitable. The indirect impact of this on the UK could be a massive influx of “climate refugees”, making the current backlash and animosity towards immigrants we are currently witnessing in Europe seem trivial.

Candice Jacobs explores the meaninglessness of aspiration within cognitive capital frameworks.  Making reference to the seductive use of capital and gender in popular television game shows, Jacobs questions whether our habitual behavioural patterns can be influenced by television programming and the internet, to make us vulnerable to exploitation by global markets and governments.

Hetain Patel’s squatting figure exhibits a characteristic posture of India that is only adopted by the working and lower classes. The displacement of this posture to Europe in a game of mini golf - itself a working class leisure activity – frames industrial cultural exchange, specifically production lines involved in import/export.

Yinka Shonibare MBE explores the complexity of contemporary African identity and power relations between the West and Africa. The football pitch becomes a site for the struggle for economic survival, played out by the African football player for both himself and his team. This explosive tension is represented by a mushroom cloud of footballs decorated with Shonibare’s signature African textiles.

Eyal Weizman presents an abstracted scale model of Kaliningrad, formerly known as Konigsberg, a city in Russia connected by seven bridges over the River Pregel. The aim of the game, based on the famed mathematical conundrum of the Seven Bridges of Konigsberg, is to return to your starting point by playing the ball across each bridge once only, a seemingly impossible task. The problem was unwittingly solved by RAF bombers during the last months of WWII, who made the route navigable by demolishing two of the original bridges.


The EM15 partnership invites you to tee off at the Venice Biennale this year with Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf, a fully playable mini golf course for which nine artists have each been commissioned to design a hole.
EM15 is a new partnership between artist-led organisations and institutions from the East Midlands, UK,: New Art Exchange, QUAD, One Thoresby Street, Beacon Art Project and the academic partner Nottingham Trent University, with digital engagement support from the University of Nottingham.

Mini, or crazy golf, as it is sometimes known, with its comical miniature obstacle courses and associations with tacky seaside holidays, sits strangely comfortably in the modern Venetian cityscape, which attracts a mix of well-heeled and mass-market holiday-makers and cultural adventurers: a water-side tourist trap spilling over with baubles; a city bursting with unparalleled cultural riches.

Doug Fishbone’s course invites the artists to respond to ‘The Leisure Principle’, where consumer satisfaction is prioritised at all costs.  Each of the holes can be read as an autonomous work, but by playing a round and immersing oneself in the game, one can experience a coherent and at times disturbing sense of a world (mis)shapen by our consumer habits and desires.


For further information about EM15 contact Kirsty Young, Marketing and Communications Manager, New Art Exchange

EM15 Curatorial Team
Peter Bonnell (QUAD, Louise Clements (QUAD, Skinder Hundal (New Art Exchange, Candice Jacobs (One Thoresby Street, Melanie Kidd (New Art Exchange, John Plowman (Beacon Art Project