The Longest JourneyEdit
Venice is a Newport neighbourhood, administered by the Venice borough council. An ex-industrial district, Venice was converted to a residential area in 2109 after the infamous Venice Massacre. Venice is now a bohemian haven for artists and miscreants of all backgrounds that exists in the shadow of Newport's towers. Many residents are art students enrolled at VAVA. Venice is characterised by its distinctive network of canals, which carry an unknown (possibly toxic) liquid of foul odour, presumably the remnant of Venice's industrial past.
In TLJ we mostly see East Venice, although April travels to the Watertown Bridge in West Venice when she visits the Roma Gallery. Other key locations include Florence Park, the Border House, the Fringe Cafe and VAVA itself.
The original TLJ website told us a little of what Newport people in general thought of Venice and its inhabitants:
…that was Treble Two with their monster hit from last summer, 'Scorching Asphalt'. And Gary, it sure is scorching in the city today, am I right?"
"You are absolutely right, Bill! We're approaching forty degrees in Metro Circle right now -- and that's on the street! God alone knows what it's like in the titty-bars!"
"You said it, Gary. Summer has arrived in Newport --and it's time to get the hell out! This ain't no place to be in July, especially with the colonists arriving in the thousands every day."
"Hey Bill, speaking of vermin -- did you know Venice is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary this month? Apparently those liberal, bottom-crawling freaks are celebrating civil disobedience!"
"What the hell's the world coming to, Gary? For those of our listeners who don't know, Venice is our little village of misfits right smack in the middle of beautiful Newport. It's an eyesore, I can tell you that, and if I was in charge, I'd dump a gravbomb on their liberal asses."
"Whoa-yeah, Bill. Giddy-up! You have my vote! Now, to cool y'all down a notch, folks -- here's Royn Dale, with 'White Magic'…"
Ragnar confirmed what many fans have long thought when he posted on his blog that the character of Venice was heavily influenced by his time as a film student living in New York's East Village. "Venice is, for all intents and purposes, the Village; both from an architectural point of view and from a social and humanistic point of view."
Venice was hit particularly hard by the downturn in Newport's economic fortunes over the past decade, a direct result of the Collapse. When Zoë Castillo arrives, she finds a neighbourhood full of homeless people huddling in makeshift shelters, trying to keep warm around oil drum fires. The Chinaman tells Zoe that drugs are big business in Venice, and the people who sell them are too dangerous for him to risk being competition. Most of the kids join local gangs like the Shakespeareans thinking it's the best way to stay alive - though many actually end up dead as a result of gang warfare. Listening to the various homeless people wandering around reveals that some of them worked at VAVA but are now out of pocket, including Emma's holosculpture professor. Another used to own the Roma Gallery.
VAVA has, ironically, now been moved out of Venice, and the Border House has become a possession of Marcus, which has transformed in the sinister Victory Hotel, though the bench Cortez used to frequent is still there, and the elaborate mural April used to admire still adorns the outside wall. The Fringe Cafe has been transformed into a chic nightclub, with a huge security door to keep out the dangerous denizens of Venice. Charlie owned it for a short time but now runs the Fringe for the current owner. The Mystery Door nearby remains closed. Venice's famous - or infamous - canals have now been drained, and for some reason, one of the routes from the Bridges has been blocked off by a police barrier.
Dreamfall allows a closer inspection of Venice's bridges - one, leading to the former Border House, is revealed to have two large stone faces carved on either side of it, not unlike the faces in Roper Klacks' labyrinth. Fans have pointed out that they bear a resemblance to the statues in the Catacombs under Marcuria; they also resemble Green Man images in British folk art.
The condition of Venice closely mirrors that of contemporary Marcuria - both now have a large homeless population and segregation of rich and poor. The Shakespeareans and other gangs who are taking over could be seen as analogous to the Azadi occupation.