November. Mild climate, border of the west lake in Hangzhou, China. The lake is artificially conjured up to look like a chinese painting of itself. Not in a linear way. The city is one of the oldest of China. But generation after generation, up to the renovation in 2002 of the space along the lake, the imagination has to be fit into reality of a incredible landscape design.
The pagodas, the walk around the lake, the scenery in the mist, all is carefully drawn and painted with human hand.
CAA is the China Academy of Art. It is one of the big institutions of Hangzhou, one of the campuses situated just in front of the lake. Close to the faculty and the conference room I am guested in a comfortable japanese themed hotel, that borders with the Aston Martin and the local Porshe concessionary. I spotted a Lamborghini the first day, startled by the sound of its motor.
Founded in 1928 as the first art academy with complete academic programs in China. Nowadays the academy has expanded its departments and academic teams and has garnered tremendous achievements in the school history. The infrastructure of CAA has improved in unprecedented ways. With Nanshan Campus being finished in 2003, and Xiangshan Campus being fully functional in 2007, covering an area of 1000 hectares and total space of 300,000 square meters, the academy now has three beautiful and well equipped campuses in the cities of Hangzhou and Shanghai.
Founded in September 2010, the School of Intermedia Art has, as its primary educational tenet, to accelerate the development of media technology and to promote experimentation in contemporary art. SIMA supports and expands creativity in a variety of media and through its curriculum explores the relationship between creativity and technology. The School has set its four-dimensional interactive structure around media experiments, artistic creation, cultural study, and curatorial practice. The School directly confronts the issues of modern media, technology and cultural context in its leading edge curriculum.
Professor Huang is a energetic type, with long hair and a dandy look. Has total control of many processes at the same time through a dancng cloud of students and collaborators that follow him. Is very gentle, capable of giving anyone his total attention, and very sharp eye.
My impression of China start from the cab ride from the airport to the center of the city. Hangzhou is a 22 million city, laying ordered around the 45′ ride up to the horizon. Building after building, skyscraper after skyscrper, someone empty most full of ordered activity, in the mist, filling up all the horizon. I think to my 14years old dughter turned vegetarian tree years ago to contribute saving the planet and I cry. Not that she is not right in her will, is that being closer to the crude action of the algorithm of antropocene I am moved by the futility of heroism.
As I set foot in the building I notice the abundance of space and the relative absence of elevators. We climb the stairs. I think about what to do to “wake up” my students of today. The staircase has good acoustics, but the garden is the main stage, and I will get to the main stage. We arrive, early enough to check that it is possible, and the choice is made. The stage of the makeshift theater is occupied by the signs of the hands of the makers of the place. Off axis there is a red door with writings, probably a tribute to revolutionary ideas, and left a huge video installation on a led panel.
Right a blazing yellow Gynko tree in the november sun.
A Gynco tree in autumn, young and growing fragile, in a walled garden where it has been planted for decoration. It is like us. Is a recent tree, that does not define the garden yet. It could if let grow.
Like our visions.
“Captain” Ilya, the guiding organiser in Taipei, sent me a picture of one of such trees, I like to think is the one you used for the workshop by Rob to tell the story of “pervasive computing in sigle identified things of the IoT scenario”.
This tree will grow. And define the space, and turn to gold in the autumn. For many autuns. Or not. Maybe in 100 years will be still standing and enormous, maybe it will. It will survive the story written on the “pop up screen” of the ubiquitous computing nightmare/dream, of urban development, thunderstorms, accidents. For sure it will survive the video screen on the other side. Or maybe will be cut down out during a redefinition of the space, a planned change to turn the park into a parking lot. Or get sick and die. Sure. It stands. Is magnificent and fragile.
Life fabric is not a sign or a sense alone outside a situation, and the situation is fluid. Ideas like trees, stories like trees planted in artificial soil. Stories.
The group is lead outside in silence through the staircase, I ask them to observe and record in their minds. I touch stuff to feel it. I try ecoes with noises or sounds. No emphasis is given. Practical action. We reach the space, we breath, we touch, we acknowledge our capacities of perception, and instead of using a maieutic tactic i just unroll myself my own observations. Falls in Rob with his story of trees in ubiquous computing conferences. Is very relevant. The group is in synch with his words.
He makes me think of the end sentence in “The Name of the Rose” were the dying nihilist storyteller, the monk, Adso from Melk, remembers the sin-full love of his youth, all the life that has passed, the cold touch of old age and and his imminent death and ends with a solitary quote:
Stat rosa pristina nomine; nomina nuda tenemus.
Yesterday’s rose endures in its name; we grasp only the nude names
Umberto Eco had to explain that riddle sentence in the “postille” and kept explaining and be asked about till the end of his life. Up to changing the postille in the last reviewed editon of the book he curated.
That sentence he thinks he has taken from a XII century monk (a real one that wrote in that time) is bigger than him. I am convinced that is that line that made the Name of the Rose a classic.
Is the ostrakon that has the potential of reverting the whole story told so far, and is a riddle. Is, in the inspired words of Rob, the “bug” we strive for and talk about.
Not the “bug” that destroys a theory, or crashes a machine, but the one that makes a classic. A small stone that blocks the mind for a click. The Bug unmasks the background for the real foreground. The found book from wich the story unfolds, in a network of meanings, stands for a man life, for its time political struggle, for meaning of unknown, for flash to be burn.
It is at the same time a meme and a bug. The girl without name, her revenge. The Rose that is not her name (cause it is unknown) yet the name is the only thing that stands.
As all the rest, time and meaning emerges and gets forgotten, the sound of the garden we explored somehow keep re-sounding now in my room in Amsterdam. And that sound is what we should start to design into.
The forest in the night, were the tree as fallen unheard yet, even if his number disappeared from the “whole city dashboard”.
To close my talk to the student I point to the stage of the makeshift teather and after noticing the acoustic I describe a red fish standing there. We all see it.
It is this, the red fish on stage of the silenced theatre of CCP in Hangzou, that everyone seen with his own eyes, different and the same, and no one can ever cook, the matter to the end.
So while I agree with the political sense of calling in the cultural egemony of Gramsci, As Rob magnificently puts it, with the urgency of the “now”, with the scheme of things to be done to re-design the space of the struggle, and the overall sense of the practical application of theory we all share. I feel the need to add something. Subtracting.
Any realist interpretation of antropocene fails to give space to my beloved skepic pharmakon. Attention and enphasis neither have to fall here on the medicine, but on the “love”.
It is the situation were the chanting shaman fails to access the dream and has to bullshit his way out with art.
The idea self of control is a dream, suggested by death grinning’ face. Complex system cannot be controlled forever, precisely or securely. And moreover complex systems will always emerge complex patterns of behaviour unexpectedly. There is more: complex systems cannot be defined cybernetically in a closed way, and the latter is a stone on the grave of many of the monsters of our time. The algorithm will always need to admit undecision. Agency will always need exception, bureaucracy corruption, favour and mercy, the algorithm the virus and the bug. Determinism is a status of a more complex system that can range from order to chaos unforeseeably.
Unforseen is a powerful tool for design!
The generation before the one of these kids in Hangzhou was building very fragile high entropy systems that are impossible to make resilient. Energy flew in the system and through the system but as well outside and despite the system. Fragility is not always a bad thing, but should not made an absolute. They shall design with it.
Other principles are needed, to be resilient, sustainable, multi stakeholder and transparent. Systems that self organise and self heal and more over do not stand in our way when we like to think, sleep or loose time.
Too much fathers in the IoT smartcity bla bla space. We need some mothers. And I giggle and think about the mothers of invention caustic bravado…
I think it was wise to include in the conference a disaster relief expert, even if his solution to that type of complexity he was describing, ina small city struck by disaster, seamed a dreamlike book of instructions fairytale to me. Totally unforgivable in its way of excluding completely both self organising patterns of behaviour and human feelings from the top down approach he presented. And instruction books stay such, even if you write them in algorithms that are to be explored by AI and implemented by robots. Can you let an algorithm decide how much time is allowed to one soul to close forever the eyes of a loved one?
To read the signs as shamans, as sometimes we manage to do, implies to create a screen of possibilities. A screen were the abyss can project its answers back to our questions from above. Were chaos can be a teacher. It will hurt our bodies and our pride as well but it works.
Our lust for death, the wish of self immolation of the egos of the wanna be masters of the youth, seems then (to me at least) only like a sort of totalitarian wish for hipocalypses (a apocalypse that ends anyway in a demented, delusionional act of ridiculous proportions). As the Slavoj Žižek says “we cannot imagine the end of capitalism without the cathegories of the apocalypse”. Is in that such a relief to talk about the future in places like China and Taiwan.
A precious gift to be here now.
Hypocalypse: a fart in the wind announced by thunder and followed by embarassed laughters. In its more grim interpretation the ridiculous demented act of academia that keep dancing on the dead bodies of the real masters like a headless chicken.
Now, set aside the necessary skeptic pill, lets go back to the core of the argument (that has somehow to include the hangover grogginess in our interesting discussion afterparty).
A list of the things I think I understood and I want to pass over in my activities:
What. A epistemologically correct methodology you learn by doing, like the dangerous dance of the shaman and its drumstick. Concepts and tools presented as pieces for a multistakeholder unvealing exercise in dialogue. The situation evolves and only gets recognised but never framed. The algorithm that is enhacted by actors and at teh same time represents them. A trasformator as a art piece, that lives in a real situation and might be bugged. And a lab to study and invent situational awareness and transformations: this is a trasformatorio.
When. Here and now, the space that exist and flows above and below any rational human philosophy. And were, in a way, the bacteria speacks as well as the urban planner and much better then human hubris. Above the “totalitarian state of comfort” is the in between that talks and we have to stop and listen for once.
Who. Things and their inventors and maintenance mechanics, Animals, plants and landscape, the humans with and without agency, those who facilitate, building streets, fixing toilets and maintaining the space of possibilities open. The enxymes of fermentation and putrefaction. The whole fucking spaceship has to talk. “Alarm Captain, maybe we can re-design a new cycle, there is no need anymore of a bridge on planet earth spaceship”.
Why. Because we need to go out and walk like beings and not be kept in the state of minority by an illusion. Is a tutor we have not cultivated and chose ourselve. Big Brother is as death as the Holy Father and its cameras and he’s brain police.
Where. In a wet space that includes the cyber and the flesh, the actuators, the design, the law. The empty space left to nature and art to feed the uncoscious, to the science of the artist and the maker to explore the possible and to the human wisdom to talk reason and chose. Or in stories to tell the next generations around the fire, when they will be learning their place in the world.
In this respect the choice of the chinese government for the signs that fobid behaviours and promise police enforcement of those are made with drawing of friendly puppets is truly revealing.
Ethics is Kantian, morale is the istinct of the flock in every individual…
(Ref:—> Kant, “Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?”, 1784)
Is it possible, I argue, that the only end of any ethics -were humans and non humans species interact- has to be imagined as a holy nothing, were the fear of the abyss glance brings inevitably to the fratricide brotherhood of the guillotine?
Georg Büchner’s “Danton’s Tod” investigates this paradox brilliantly. Andrzej Wajda in 1981 made a film, “Danton”, from an adaptation of a play by Stanisława Przybyszewska, were there is a scene that fits with the argument I am proposing here. Danton and Roberspierre meet in the prive’ of a restaurant. Danton offers to his ancient comrade a sumptuous dinner. “behind the scenes” a rytual of political “Grand Jeu” is put on scene. Robespierre does not touch food, Danton can only drink wine. The table, that is France, and “wetware” at the same time, is destroyed by Danton that throws away any food the other does not want to touch. A rapid process that evolve quickly and that will destroy them both. Their factions, and the opposite idea of revolution and state will self erase. The attempt to majority of the human spirit ended under the guillotine.
I toy with some questions.
What do we have to know and what will be what we don’t have to know, were will be the balance of those forces?
Who will be the maker that loves hopelessly its creature and can express his sad love with poetry? And what does this code look like? What do we have to design for? And what will be left us to design with?
And moreover what kind of situation-defining enzymes we have to design into the world with our craft? What will make it to an art?
Situation have always been designed to desired effects by wizards. But the real power is in the goddess.
Rituals of power that include all the senses, music, chinesis, intoxicans and visual stimulation and language. Opera and Liturgy.
We will need to unveal and design those as well. And our methodology will be a transparent transformer that evolves the situation in positive productive or destructive cycles. An ebb and flow of information and noise and a short span of time to rest in between.
Memory, dreams, the ever changing flow of the space and time and conscience from situation to the next has to be explored again in unity of human self reflecting action. The four winds set the wood in motion, ready to inspire the secret journey of the fool, contain all the magic of the illusionist and all the wisdom of the whole world that is female and dances naked on the fire.
All this space of design to be scavenged for opportunities and be teathre for gratuitous acts of courage and beauty.
There is a space of unity between tools for awareness, like dowse; tools for constructing complexity and simplicity in economic exchange of values like the SWAPI, and other software projects in dyne.
This is not an ideological space more than a world, a vision or an haiku.
At best it wishes to be a seed, or a young gynco tree that has in his fragile roots the possibility of becoming a giant one.
The time is now, the tools of the painter are set in front of her, the light is dim and the brush is ready to touch the paper. Again.
thanks for the food to my thoughts…
(1)”All your base are belong to us” is a popular Internet meme based on a broken English (“Engrish”) phrase found in the opening cutscene of the 1992 Mega Drive port of the 1989 arcade video game Zero Wing. The quote comes from the European release of the game, featuring poor English translations of the original Japanese version. Means “Hi dude, someone took total control of your system”
We had to let some days pass and capture the sign of the times.
I had to travel south, to work this out with Giuseppe Morgana and Trasformatorios friends in Sicily.
It has been a busy and terrifying month, and yet we can finally announce:
Giampilieri shares with last year location, Scaletta Zanclea, many naturalistic details and the territory, as well as the outcomes of the terrible landslide of 2009.
Is not a second choice location at all. The great support I received from the local community made me take the decision to move there immediately. It was sufficient to arrive in Piazza Pozzo, and see the strange white concrete scar; the ground works to secure the village, with the traces of the houses. To see the welcoming party from the association “Giampilieri 2.0” that offered help and did a great job in reconstructing the damaged community, to talk with Don Alessandro, the 30 something dynamic priest of the local church and to have a short walk in the landscape.
Giampilieri has all the strength and the weakness of many of the locations we have been operating so far and, if possible, these contradictions are pushed to the maximum. Yet it seems a community busy with re-generation and not at all a desolate, remote place. The land is cut through by a river, dry in the hot months of the summer and now rumbling with water. The place used to be a place for mills, treating the grain to make flour. Higher than the village two fractions, Molino and Altolia, even smaller and more remote. From here departs many old roads, stepping up to reach the high of the mountains above and reach the interiors of the islands. Remaining of towers, churches and old monastery are within the reach of a short uphill walk. Including Scaletta Superiore and her mysterious towers that we see at last, in the dusk, for a last glimpse and a picture on the mobile.
Giamplieri, explains Padre Alessandro, is too far away from the center of Messina not to be a de-facto independent community but has no major, no local police station or Carabinieri. All the community regards to the church and to the local civic associations as “Giampilieri 2.0” for reference. Yet as any small village in Sicily the community has her history, identity, and traditions. As an example the holy feast of the “Annunziata”, where the community gathers (even traveling from abroad on purpose) to feast the local Madonna and carry her statue to the sanctuary uphill.
The suggestions for the next trasformatorio as you see are many. And we will try to do the whole of the program, even if the main focus is on the Lab, where our temporary community of transformators has to be able to work in peace and use the materials found in many ways hiding in the territory.
And so we spoke with the culture group of the City of Messina. The usual one-man band here has been given as a task to 5 people. The first we have encountered, Alessandra Mammoliti, we met in the studio of the radio. She is the first person we meet and her suggestion for Giampilieri reassuring and leading to Donatella, from Giampilieri 2.0 and Pierpaolo Zampieri. In the next days, we managed to meet most of the group, that have really acted fast with wise and prompt advice. I have to thank them all. The Assessor himself, Federico Alagna called in to reassure us. The city of Messina will happily allow our activities for 2018. And this is how we passed from a 2000 something village to a city of 238,000.
I must spend some words as well on this unexpected change of plan.
The reasons why the administration of Scaletta Zanclea has decided not to renew the agreement with us are still a mystery. The agreement was on their table, together with the whole plan since 29 of August 2017 and the positive experience of the previous year. Actually, in the previous edition, everyone invested time and efforts to help us, up to village officials paying out of their own pockets to allow us to be there in the terms agreed. The administration was constantly upgraded on the status of our preparations, invited to join to meetings and had given us no reason to worry about a change of plan. You can imagine the stupor when the decision not to grant us anymore their favor has been communicated via a WhatsApp one-liner!
This is probably the only concession to modernity from an inaccessible Major, that still does not returns my phone calls. That is a mystery that I am sure will solve by itself one day.
We even agreed to pay out of our own small budget the places to accommodate the artists, just to be denied any access afterward. Following a formal request, formulated as agreed between the various frantic negotiators. Maybe the proximity of the elections (both the political one and the local in may) got us, unwillingly, into a local power struggle.
Lesson learned: one should never underestimate the power of influence of local political struggles no matter how small is the community. They tend to reproduce, as in a fractal, the shape and tactics of the bigger ones. And in Italy this is a field for brave at harts to play in.
What we know for sure that the people of Scaletta Superiore were looking forward to having us with them. Working the second year in the area was something a lot of people was looking forward to. And so it will be, in a way, because we won’t let them down moving to the twin city of Giampilieri that is merely a 30′ walk from Scaletta.
And we will keep negotiating a visit to the area to please our old friends in the somehow neglected “Scaletta Superiore” area, to view the installations and traces of last year work and to appease any doubt will be around about our commitment to work together with our friends.
See you in Sicily in 6 weeks time!
Abbiamo dovuto lasciar passare alcuni giorni per catturare il segno dei tempi.
E ho dovuto viaggiare verso sud, per risolvere questo problema con gli amici Giuseppe Morgana, RE e Mose’ e tutti gli altri amici “trasformatori” di Sicilia.
È stato un mese impegnativo e terrificante, eppure possiamo finalmente annunciare:
La prossima location di Trasformatorio sarà Giampilieri, un quartiere della città di Messina
Giampilieri condivide con la location dell’anno scorso la posizione e molti dei dettagli naturalistici e paesaggistici, nonché l’aver sofferto la terribile alluvione del 2009.
Non è affatto per noi un luogo di seconda scelta. Il grande sostegno che ho ricevuto dalla comunità locale mi ha fatto prendere la decisione di trasferirci qui immediatamente. E’ bastato arrivare in piazza Pozzo e vedere la strana cicatrice bianca del cemento; come il terreno e’ stato lavorato per proteggere il villaggio, le tracce delle case. Vedere la festa di benvenuto dell’associazione “Giampilieri 2.0”, che ha offerto aiuto e fatto a detta di tutti un ottimo lavoro nella ricostruzione della comunità danneggiata; Parlare con Don Alessandro, il trentenne e dinamico sacerdote della chiesa locale, fare una breve passeggiata nel paesaggio. Nessun dubbio.
Giampilieri ha tutte le forze e le debolezze di molti dei luoghi in cui abbiamo operato finora e, se possibile, queste contraddizioni sono spinte al massimo.
E nonostente cio’ sembra una comunità piu’ alle prese con la rigenerazione che con il lutto e non e’ affatto un luogo remoto e desolato.
La terra è attraversata da un fiume, asciutto nei mesi caldi dell’estate che ora canta pieno d’acqua. Il villaggio era nato come valle piena di mulini, che trattavano il grano per fare la farina per tutti.
Più in alto del villaggio, salendo la strada stretta verso i monti, due frazioni della frazione, Molino e Altolia, ancora più piccole e remote. Da questa valle partono molte vecchie strade, che si intravedono salire per raggiungere l’alta montagna sovrastante e raggiungere gli interni dell’isola.
Resti di torri, chiese e di un antichissimo monastero sono tutti alla portata di una breve passeggiata in salita.
Compresa Scaletta Superiore e le sue torri misteriose che vediamo finalmente, nel crepuscolo, dalla collina di fronte, inaccessibile, tante volte ammirata l’anno scorso, per un’ultima occhiata attenta e una foto sul cellulare.
Giamplieri, ci spiega padre Alessandro, è troppo lontano dal centro di Messina per non essere di fatto una comunità indipendente: non ha né stazioni di polizia locali né carabinieri. Tutta la comunità considera la chiesa e le associazioni civiche locali come ad esempio “Giampilieri 2.0” come il suo riferimento.
Tuttavia, come ogni piccolo villaggio in Sicilia, anche questa comunità ha la sua storia, identità e tradizioni. Ad esempio la festa sacra della Madonna delle Grazie, dove il paesello di mille anime si riunisce (anche viaggiando dall’estero apposta per non mancare l’occasione) per festeggiare la Madonna locale e portare con coraggio in salita e discesa la sua pesantissima statua al santuario.
I suggerimenti per il prossimo trasformatorio come vedete sono molti. E proveremo a fare tutto il programma previsto, con gli opportuni cambiamenti. Anche se l’obiettivo principale è sul Lab, dove la nostra comunità temporanea di trasformatori deve poter essere in grado di lavorare in pace per utilizzare i materiali e le suggestioni che si trovano in molti modi nascosti nel territorio e nelle sue genti.
E così abbiamo parlato con il gruppo dell’assessorato condiviso per la cultura della Città di Messina. Quella che in genere e’ una one-man-band, qui nella citta’ Messina della democrazia dal basso è gestita da 5 persone. La prima che abbiamo incontrato, e’ stata Alessandra Mammoliti, con cui eravamo in contatto. Ci siamo incontrati nello studio della radio. È suo suggerimento per Giampilieri che ci porta a Donatella, dell’associazione Giampilieri 2.0 e a Pierpaolo Zampieri altro attivissimo professore universitario e assessore. Nei giorni successivi grazie a loro e a tanti altri siamo riusciti a incontrare la maggior parte del gruppo consiliare, che ha agito davvero in fretta con consigli saggi e tempestivi. Devo ringraziare tutti loro. Lo stesso assessore, Federico Alagna mi ha chiamato per rassicurarci. La città di Messina consentirà felicemente le nostre attività per il 2018. Ed è così che siamo passati dal lavorare in un villaggio di 2000 abitanti ad un villaggio di 1000 che e’ aprte integrante di una città di 238.000 abitanti.
Devo spendere anche alcune parole anche su questo inatteso cambiamento di programma.
I motivi per cui l’amministrazione di Scaletta Zanclea ha deciso di non rinnovare l’accordo con noi sono ancora un mistero. L’accordo era sul loro tavolo, insieme all’intero piano di lavoro per il 2018 dal 29 agosto 2017. Assieme all’esperienza positiva dell’anno precedente. Per essere giusti per la precedente edizione, tutti coloro che avevamo incontrato nell’amministrazione avevano investito tempo e sforzi per aiutarci, fino ad assitere al fatto che i vari assessori del villaggio avevano pagato di tasca loro per permetterci di essere lì nei termini concordati, non essendo ancora disponibili le foresterie. E’ anche da dire che l’amministrazione è stata costantemente aggiornata sullo stato dei preparativi, è stata invitata a partecipare alle riunioni, anche a quelle in calce all’ottenimento dei fondi europei per il progetto 2018, e non ci aveva dato motivo di preoccuparci per un cambiamento di programma. Potete immaginare lo stupore quando la decisione di non concederci più i permessi necessari e l’accesso alle strutture ci è stata comunicata tramite una linea su WhatsApp!
Questa è probabilmente l’unica concessione alla modernità di un Sindaco che si e’ dimostrato nei giorni seguenti inaccessibile, e che ancora non risponde alle mie telefonate. La ragione di tale comportamento un mistero che sono sicuro si risolverà da solo prima o poi.
Avevamo persino acconsentito nei giorni che si sono susseguiti ad inviare una richiesta formale, formulata come concordato tra i vari frenetici negoziatori, e a pagare dal nostro piccolo budget noi i posti necessari per ospitare gli artisti. Senza alcun risultato che un formale diniego in tre righe.
Forse la vicinanza delle elezioni (sia quella politica nazionale che quella locale prevista per maggio) ha portato, controvoglia, a esser vittima di una lotta di potere locale.
Lezione appresa: anche quando si lavora con l’immaginario non si deve mai sottovalutare l’influenza delle lotte politiche locali
Presentation Day, 30 April 2017.
Some of the works have been presented this day. Some took shape during the presentation itself, as guided, inspired improvisations, till everyone entered the rooms of the tower, in pitch black that night, and got guided by their refined senses. Those documentation media and stories in a different butch.
The day started early, with a wounded falcon escaping a cat, under the bridge of the train, close to the sea. We tried to help but also fear that our intervention could have been disruptive. Maybe another sign from the spirits of the place. The sea gate was guarded by Horus? Or by the cat? The Falcon lately disappeared without any trace.
We went on eating some of the sheep that Eugenio the village butcher sacrificed in our honour. She cooked 7 hours in the wood oven behind his living room/shop. Another 7.
But officially all started as we took care of a group of people from Scaletta, as they came with us on the old path from the sea to the tower, a path that some of them did not step upon since 30 years.
The ascent was steady till the “Batteria” (Battery, both for cannons that to refuel our own), were the dancing stones from Nina Divitschek and Almud Krejza were waiting for us. Powerful poetry was repeated over and over, read from a strip of paper by Dierk Roosen in dutch language. And was translated by the Mother of RE, suddenly, with her german/sicilian incredible voice.
Then, after our offer, some asked to be blindfolded. We had brought too few bandages but improvised some more. And so, lead by friends, or family, as they could see with other senses.
The passage through the old empty houses towards the end of the path was enriched with names of forgotten people. The “Cascionara”, an old lady that used to sit close to the st. Paul memorial image. People that n not o one talked about since long.
We arrived up, to the church. And up again to the castle.
The images in the gallery refer to what has happened in the castle thereafter. These gallery images are taken by Irene Dominguez that was indefatigable during these days. They are (as all content here) cc Attribution-ShareAlike licenced.
More stories soon.
We are very happy to give space here to the news of the birth of a very interesting new project in the City of Palermo, connected to our spring activities by the participation of Andrea Kantos to the trasformatorio#1.
Dimora OZ is opening up to the world in style, and I am sure more collaborations and ideas will spur from this new center. Something is already boiling in the big pan...
So, let's hear what they have to say about themselves and about their program. Opening is the 17th of July, all informations can be found here: on the facebook page. If you are in the area dont miss it!
big hup o/
On July 14, opens in Palermo Dimora Oz, one permanent laboratory for the visual arts and performance.
The project was born in the rooms of Palazzo Barlotta, where the mecenate Roberto Bilotti Ruggi d'Aragona have supported as he did in the past the artists.
The core of the project is the button coworking area, which houses a Kantos Andrea, Andrea Mineo, Alessandro Giglio, Claudia Di Gangi, Gabriel David Gandolfo, Nike Pirrone, Patrycja Stefanek, while Valentina Parlato are planned for 2014 collaborations with Federico Bonelli, Desideria Burgio, Vincenzo Amenduni, Precarie Editions, Rizma.
At the same time open to the public Oz House launches the first annual workshop: Origins. The workshop will be a reflection on the causal nodes subjective and collective identity, due to practical and relational positions; a "radical" is not intended as a look at the past (culture, styles, or historical processes), but as an inner revolution in the causal processes in which we are connected to the world, and somehow making sure that the latter will prove to be the space of awareness.
The laboratory Origins opens with the presentation of six works: Spare parts Alessandro Giglio, Axis Mundi Gandolfo David Gabriel, Dance Afford Claudia Di Gangi, Shockways Patrycja Stefanek In Your Future by Nike and Pirrone Nowadays, Palermo, July 16th 2014 Valentina Parlato.
Origins is a project on urban and cultural mythologies, the precarious state of things and the desire to pursue an artistic reflection that it is not merely self-referential but a cultural experience of a community that has the need for resources and suggestions. Dimora Oz is a project of placemaking, fits into the recontextualization of spaces making them active and dynamic cultural centers. The form of inquiry into the origins, it is often diverted one way on the past, while Origins, in the sense of relation, causality and determination, open aspects on the present and focus on specific problems and contexts The most modern and repeated.
OZ is an interdisciplinary laboratory dwelling, divided into design spaces: Co-working, Performance Space, Black Room, Living Expo, OZSelect and a laboratory of Green Design (with a hydroponic vegetable garden).
Il 14 luglio apre a Palermo Dimora Oz, uno laboratorio permanente di arti visuali e performance.
Il progetto nasce nelle stanze di Palazzo Barlotta, dove Il progetto nasce nelle stanze di Palazzo Barlotta, dove il mecenate e operatore culturale Roberto Bilotti Ruggi d’Aragona ha supportato - così come accaduto in passato - gli artisti presenti nello spazio.
Il nucleo pulsante del progetto è l’area coworking, che accoglie al suo interno Andrea Kantos, Andrea Mineo, Alessandro Giglio, Claudia Di Gangi, Gandolfo Gabriele David, Nike Pirrone, Patrycja Stefanek, Valentina Parlato mentre sono previste per il 2014 collaborazioni con Federico Bonelli, Desideria Burgio, Vincenzo Amenduni, Edizioni Precarie, Rizma.
Contemporaneamente all’apertura al pubblico Dimora Oz lancia il primo laboratorio annuale: Origini. Il laboratorio sarà una riflessione sui nodi causali dell’identità soggettiva e collettiva, determinata da pratiche e posizioni relazionali; una “radicalità” non intesa come sguardo al passato (cultura, stilemi o processi storici), ma come rivoluzione interiore nei processi causali che ci vedono connessi al mondo, e in qualche modo facendo si che quest’ultimo si riveli come spazio di consapevolezza.
Il laboratorio Origini apre con la presentazione di sei lavori: Pezzi di Parti di Alessandro Giglio, Axis Mundi di Gandolfo Gabriele David, Afford Dance di Claudia Di Gangi, Shockways di Patrycja Stefanek, In Your Future di Nike Pirrone e Nowadays, Palermo, 16 luglio 2014 di Valentina Parlato.
Origini è un progetto sulle mitologie urbane e culturali, sullo stato precario delle cose e sulla volontà di portare avanti una riflessione artistica che non sia meramente autoreferenziale ma un’esperienza culturale di una comunità che ha necessità di risorse e suggestioni. Dimora Oz è un progetto di placemaking, si inserisce nella ricontestualizzazione degli spazi rendendoli centri culturali attivi e dinamici. La forma d’indagine sulle origini, spesso viene dirottata a senso unico sul passato, mentre Origini, nel senso di relazione, causalità e determinazione, apre aspetti sul presente e focus specifici su problemi e contesti attualissimi e reiterati.
Dimora OZ è un laboratorio interdisciplinare, diviso in spazi progettuali: Co-working, Spazio Performance, Black Room, Zona Expò, OZSelect e un laboratorio di Green Design (con un orto idroponico).
With big pleasure I have been giving two presentation of Trasformatorio in Norway. The first one, invited by Per Plateau from PNEK, in Atelier Nord Gallery in Oslo.
The space of the gallery is beautyful, in a cool zone of the town. To get there was easy enough, walking in the city, and Per’s hospitality impeccable.
Not many people attended, because there was something more in contemporary in town but was a very good exercise, after wich I changed a bit the presentation to make it flow better.
PNEK (Production Network for Electronic Art, Norway) is a network structure aiming to provide good production conditions for artists working with electronic and interdisciplinary art. As you can read in their ABOUT pages PNEK assists artists and structures with competence building, project development, workshops, screening/distribution of works, and activities aiming to raise the general awareness about hybrid artforms through seminars and social/artistic events. PNEK can provide limited travel support for artistic/structural exchange between the nodes, and for developing international relations (artists, curators, critics etc.).
The following day I moved to Bergen by train, crossing the norwegian frosty landscape.
Piksel is a creature of Gisle Froysland, and is an annual event for artists and developers working with free and open source software, hardware and art. I always been happy to join in Piksel because of the workshops, and I have already attended more than an edition. It is organised in Bergen since 10 years, and involves participants from more than a dozen countries exchanging ideas, code, presenting art and software projects. There are also performances in the evening and open discussions on the aesthetics and politics of free and open source software.
I spent some days attending to the works, building tools and networking, busy mostly in communication trasformatorio idea and in gathering good ideas to implement or experiment with in sicily. For example data aquisition an visualization or sonification as part of a adventurous way to be in the open, something we had also interesting enough done immediately in Trasformatorio #0, is done in various ways by many other people attending piksel.
In particular I have followed a workshop called “Suntongues” on capturing and using sun related data with Benjamin Freeth and Prof. John Bowers from the Culture Lab of Newcastle University (UK).
Another enlighting workshop I have followed was
Víctor Mazón Gardoqui LIMEN, an experience well rewarding: an empowering surface soldering nightmare and a lesson over the fragility of public wireless communications. The Projects of Victor and his companion Mario wonder through the use of custom made wireless blocking devices, scanners, spectrum analizers. With their precious help I build a FM/UHF, WIFI, GSM, GPS spectrum scanner and started listening around the invisible electromagnetic noise that surrounds us.
My presentation of Trasformatorio #0 was then done in a rather full venue the 23rd morning. You can see it all on the recorded streaming following the link here below.
To conclude I feel that it was a very interesting trip, and it’s results will eco in our number one meeting next April.
L’Argimusco è un altopiano che si trova in Sicilia, poco a nord dell’Etna, all’incirca al confine tra i monti Nebrodi e i Peloritani, ed è diviso amministrativamente tra i comuni di Montalbano Elicona, Tripi (che sorge sul sito dell’antica Abacaenum) e Roccella Valdemone.
In questa zona sorgono numerosi roccioni di arenaria quarzosa modellati in forma curiosa e suggestiva. La tradizione popolare ha identificato questi megaliti, con l’opera di popolazioni preistoriche: antichi menhir e quasi irriconoscibili dolmen. I geomorfologi e gli archeologi propendono piuttosto per l’origine assolutamente naturale di queste forme, dovute in particolare all’erosione eolica.
Tra i megaliti più notevoli, nei pressi della Portella Cerasa si ergono maestosi, solenni e vagamente minacciosi due grandi massi di forma allungata, che richiamerebbero i simboli della virilità e della femminilità, mentre un altro megalite poco distante avrebbe aspetto di aquila e vi sarebbe stato inciso il simbolo del sole.
Più a ovest, in località Portella Zilla, una costruzione pastorale ingloberebbe i resti di un dolmen con davanti un gran masso, che sarebbe quanto resta di un menhir rovinato al suolo.
Attorno a questi presunti monumenti non sono stati trovati segni dell’uomo preistorico (ceramiche, utensili Cialis, ossa umane, ecc.).
The Argimusco is a high plateau situated just North of Mount Etna in Sicily, between the Nebrodi and Peloritani Mountains. It lies within the boundaries of the communes of Montalbano Elicona, Tripi (which is built on the site of the ancient Abacaenum) and Roccella Valdemone.
Numerous megaliths, which local tradition attributes to a prehistoric population, are found in this area, as are ancient menhirs and almost unrecognisable dolmens. It is generally considered that these are, in fact, completely natural, being produced by wind erosion.
Amongst the most noteworthy megaliths, around Portella Cerasa, stand two majestic, solemn and rather menacing large elongated boulders, which recall the symbols of virility and femininity, whilst another megalith, not far way, has the appearance of an eagle and is incised with a symbol of the Sun that was worshipped as a god.
Further west, at Portella Zilla, a rustic building enclosed the remains of a dolmen with a huge boulder in front, which may be the remains of a fallen menhir.
No signs of prehistoric man’s presence, such as pottery, tools or bones, are found around the presumed monuments.
Montalbano Elicona e’ un piccolo comune siciliano in provincia di Messina. A 911 metri sul livello del mare, in linea d’aria 150 km a est di Palermo e 50 km a sud ovest di Messina. Ha una popolazione di 2684 abitanti (dati 2004) e un’area di 67.4 km². E’ particolarmente conosciuta per il suo castello, costruito su fondamenta antichissime nel 1233 dall’imperatore Federico II, e per l’architettura medievale delle sue strade. Ovviamente potete trovare informazioni sulla apposita pagina di wikipedia…
Il villaggio e’ anche incluso nella lista dei 90 “Borghi piu’ belli d’italia” un club che raccoglie i 90 borghi piu’ invitanti della penisola.
Trasformatorio terra’ le sue attivita’ nei luoghi piu’ caratteristici del borgo, a partire dal castello, che ha ampi spazi per la presentazione e l’installazione, ha un teatro all’aperto e una sala conferenze al suo interno. I partecipanti saranno incoraggiati a non limitarsi al borgo e aiutati ad esplorare la zona e a portare attivita’ in luoghi anche piu’ distanti, ma la zona del borgo definira’ il centro di attivita’ principale.
Una seconda location importante sara’ quella del Palazzo Todaro, sede del consorzio, con le sue aule per i seminari e le attivita’ al chiuso, e del wi/fi spot. Il comune dispone anche di un cinema/teatro per 120 posti, nell’immediata vicinanza del castello, e tutte le attivita’ del borgo sono a breve distanza le une dalle altre.
Tutti i partecipanti saranno alloggiati nelle casette ritrutturate del borgo, per due o tre persone, con bagno e cucinino, e lo spazio tra le casette, comune, definisce una sorta di “borgo nel borgo”.
Montalbano e’ un villaggio di montagna su un’isola, non e’ difficile da raggiungere ma remoto.
L’aereoporto piu’ vicino e’ quello di Catania Fontanarossa su cui volano a partire dalla primavera diverse compagnie low cost. Le tariffe sono particolarmente convenienti se potete prenotare in anticipo.
Da Catania si puo’ raggiungere Messina con il Bus dall’aereoporto e poi prendere un bus locale sino a Montalbano o affittare un’auto. O organizzarsi in piu’ persone per avere dei passaggi.
La stazione ferroviaria piu’ vicina e’ quella di Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, sulla linea Messina Palermo, piu’ a valle.
Messina, che e’ la citta’ piu’ vicina al paese e’ raggiungibile anche via mare, con navi daily cialis pill da Salerno, Napoli e Civitavecchia.
Montalbano Elicona (Sicilian: Muntarbanu) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Messina in the Italian region Sicily, located about 150 km east of Palermo and about 50 km southwest of Messina. As of 31 December 2004, it had a population of 2,687 and an area of 67.4 km². THe city is about 900mt. above sea level.
It is mainly known for its castle, built in 1233 by the Emperor Frederic II, and the medieval architecture of its streets.
Of course there is a wikipedia page about the place …
The village is included in the list of the 90 “Borghi piu’ belli d’Italia” a club of the most inviting medieval villages in the peninsula.
Trasformatorio will take place in the top locations of Montalbano Castle, which hosts a space for presentations, an open air theatre and various locations for installations and presentations. Participants will be encouraged and helped to explore the surroundings, and also to think about most remote places, while the core of the lab will be the borgo.
Another central location will be Palazzo Todaro, were the “Consorzio Universitario” has its siege. There are study rooms and lecture rooms for workshops, internet connection and wifi . Moreover, the town hosts a cinema/theater that can sit up to 120 people and the canteen where meals will be served during the Lab. Everything is at walking distance.
Participants will be housed in the small renewed houses that are a self contained “borgo”within the town itself. Every cottage has 2/3 beds, own bath and kitchenette.
HOW TO GET HERE
Montalbano is a mountain village on an island, not too hard to reach but remote. The closest airport is Catania Fontanarossa, that is served by low cost airlines that operate in spring/summer and are convenient if booked in advance.
Montalbano can be reached from Catania by coach (to Messina and Messina/Montalbano) or by car if you decide to rent one. The closest train station is Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto, on the line from Messina to Palermo.Car unfortunately is the most practical way to move in Sicily.
Messina, that is the closest city, has also a big harbor that you can reach via ship with or without car from Salerno or Civitavecchia.