2014 A Natural Oasis, San Marino, Jacopo Rinaldi Constructing through dispersion, proposal to send back the archives
A Natural Oasis? A Transnational Research Program
curated by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi
The third edition of a long-term training and research program open to curators, art writers and cultural researchers, under 34 from Cyprus, Greece, San Marino and UK
A Natural Oasis? is a two years nomadic free school dedicated to the development of new curatorial research paths in the field of contemporary visual and performing arts starting from the geopolitical peculiarities of the artistic scenes of those European territories which are commonly considered remote, marginal, small, insular or liminal.
The purpose of this project is to build a transnational cultural platform able to critically question the ideas of territorial remoteness/marginality/smallness/insularity through the lenses of artistic research, triggering a reflection on the fictional procedures that empowered the idea of Europe in its geopolitical and cultural immunity via the exclusion or the vampirization of its “provinces”. The project aims to develop radical curatorial and artistic discourses assuming geo-cultural areas as polemical fields in which a precise ecology of fluxes describe their cultural, economical and political morphology. Moreover, this project focuses on the controversial shortage of cultural professionals in “peripheral” cultural and artistic systems in relationship with on-going processes of educational centralization and with the concentration of artistic legitimation processes in big European “centres”.
A Natural Oasis? is a transnational research training based on the tools that social sciences provide to contemporary cultural practices and develops specific context-aware professional figures in the frame of a global contemporary artistic scene. The aim of the project is the development of what we can call situated practices in the context of a specific locality but with a transnational perspective. A Natural Oasis? bases its working methodology on the tactics of conversational and dialogical research and on the main strategies of oral history. In this view, work sessions, visiting professors’ lectures and seminars will be characterized by a discursive approach based on study and in-depth analysis but also on storytelling and more fluid transmission of diverse knowledges. The project privileges an idea of knowledge production through direct rough experience and travelling experiences in the territories accompanied and tutored by local partners.
The final result of A Natural Oasis? will be composed by a performative lecture series, an educational program to be organized after the training program and an editorial object, which will include critical essays and visual researches developed by curators, visiting professors and participants during the program.
The project is based on a structure of 5 theoretical paths, developed during the two years of work. The five paths questions differently the identity of contemporary Europe, its crisis and identity, helping curators in the research and the productions of new works, ideas, and connections. All these paths share the desire to internationalize, develop, and give shape to art practice within a dialogue with cultural and political context, advancing themselves in a strong link but also in an independent and critical way with institutions but also, collaborating with them as well. From this standpoint, the art practices, cultural strategies, and cultural identity of a territory, challenging the very nature of the notion of nation, the strategies of survival, resistance, and presence. Taking the floor in the context of globalization and polarization of contemporary cultural policies becomes important the moment when this presence bears a discourse that expresses itself through works and ideas, but also through structures and projects of production. On the other hand, art has always been an atypical language: together with its contents it has always invented the language to express them, and today, in order to survive, it also becomes responsible for the strategies to ensure and spread its own presence.
Starting from these premises, these are the 5 Paths: HOSPITALITY | MARGINALITY | EDUCATION | MEMORY | WORK
Step 1 Manifesta 12 collateral event, Palermo, July 24-25-26
The selected practitioners, together with the two senior curators Alessandro Castiglioni, Simone Frangi, will participate to STEP 1 of the project in Palermo, a two-day open seminar (July 24-26) included among the collateral events of Manifesta Biennial. The seminar will be hosted in partnership with Viasaterna gallery, in its brand new temporary space CASINO PALERMO, an ancient and charming palazzo situated in the heart of the historic Kalsa neighbourhood, at number 129 of Via Alloro. A space that brings together exhibition events and residencies in the dimension of the on-going atelier, planned and curated by the gallery.
Step 2 Nottingham, 9th February 2019, in the framework of UKYA City Takeover
ON INSULARITY organized by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi and Carolina Rito (Head of Public Programmes and Research of Nottingham Contemporary).
On insularity is a one-day seminar and sharing session organized by the curators and the research fellows of the third edition of A Natural Oasis? in collaboration with Carolina Rito, Head of Public Programmes and Research at Nottingham Contemporary, and in partnership with Nottingham Trent University in the frame of UKYA City Takeover 2019. A Natural Oasis? Transnational Research Program is a nomadic free school curated by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi. It is dedicated to the development of new curatorial research paths in the field of contemporary visual and performing arts starting from the geopolitical peculiarities and the artistic scenes of those European and Mediterranean territories that are commonly considered remote, marginal, small, insular or liminal.
The research group of A Natural Oasis (2018-2020) will be curating MEDITERRANEA 19, forthcoming edition of Biennale de la Jeune Création de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée, which will be held in the Republic of San Marino in October 2020. The project privileges an idea of knowledge production through direct rough experience and travelling experiences in the territories accompanied and tutored by local partners. These encounters base their working methodology on the tactics of conversational and dialogical research and on the main strategies of oral history. In this view, the working sessions in the territories are characterized by a discursive approach based on storytelling and fluid transmission of diverse knowledges. In intersecting the Public Programmes of Nottingham Contemporary, On Insularity will focus on the relationship between institutions, education formats and the curatorial as well as on the idea of a “post-Brexit insularity” and on how it could affect cultural and artistic production in UK.
Step 3, Limassol, Cyprus, in the framework of Bodies Of Work, Oct 1 – Oct 7
BOW – Bodies Of Work is a five-day intensive training program organized by Dance House Lemesos, supported by the Cultural Services-Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus and developed in collaboration with BJCEM – Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean. On this occasion, the research group of the project A Natural Oasis?, curators of the forthcoming Mediterranea 19 Young Artists Biennale (October 2020, Republic of San Marino) will take part to the activities of the workshop in the frame of their curatorial research in preparation of the 2020 Biennale. The workshop and its results will be presented during the Biennale as well. During the workshop, participants will be introduced to specific creative and research tools and will be encouraged to developed artistic discourses that allow to articulate the question of embodiment: how social bodies, labouring bodies, political bodies which are put “to work” in performance are able to mirror the complex relationships between subjectivities in motion and their environments? The activities of the workshops are rooted in a social and geopolitical understanding of the bodies and their mobility. In this perspective, we will look at how geographical, social, artistic boundaries are affected, transformed, through the constant shift and relocation of the bodies in a possible transnational space.
Step 4 Bienniale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean – San Marino 2020 – October 2020
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Promoted and developed by
BJCEM – Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean
Republic of San Marino
Ministry of Education and Culture, Department of Tourism and Culture, Cultural Institutes – San Marino National Gallery,
San Marino University
UK Young Artists
Republic of Cyprus
Ministry of Education and Culture, Cultural Service
Republic of Greece
Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs, General Secretariat for Life Long Learning
& Youth Directorate for Youth Culture and Social Participation Department
The first step of the project has been selected as collateral event of Manifesta 12 Palermo among over 630 project applications received. Manifesta is the European Nomadic Biennial, held in a different host city every two years. It is a major international art event, attracting visitors from all over the world. Manifesta is the go-to place for discovering emerging artists, thought-provoking ideas, new artworks especially commissioned for the event, and creative experiences in dialogue with spectacular locations of each host city.