#4 Bologna: spaces of commoning

After exploring the ‘Right to the City’, Atlas of Transitions Biennial returns to Bologna and invites international artists and foreign communities to exchange their knowledge during a 10-days festival. Looking back at past identities, switching perspectives, the challenges that lie ahead of finding a place called home. Spyros Andreopoulos leads the reader across performances and workshops held in a city which faces disputes while looking for alternative spaces of co-existence. Find more about the role of art in creating social change through interviews with Dorothée Munyaneza, Nadia Beugré, Meike Clarelli, Kristina Norman, Farah Saleh, Nanda Mohammad.

The festival held from 1 to 10th March, was promoted and organized by Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione in collaboration with Cantieri Meticci and the Department of Sociology and Business Law of the University of Bologna.

HOME, otherwise
curatorial notes by Piersandra Di Matteo

The title “Home” comes without adjectives, and in plural form. It may be a invitation to open the doors. Or maybe just a common word through which one can look at migration to overthrow the rhetoric of exceptionality. When Sarah Ahmed invites us to reflect on the notion of what “home” means, she insists on an irrevocable point. Beware of the “stranger fetishism” by cultivating – in Arts – the construction of “figures” whose nature is abstract and universalised: the Migrant, seen as an ontologically uprooted individual. Here, the condition of being “uprooted” acts like a stigma from which there is no escape, like a subjectivity caught up in a perennial transit. Such as the identification of the migrant as a subject who left home, is far from his or her birthplace, is mythologized as native or authentic and lives in a condition of ontological rootlessness, a seal that it seems impossible to be liberated from. This is an automatism that doesn’t take into account the complexity of historical processes in which migrations take root. The outcomes are the depreciation of the bodies in their materiality and the belittlement of the means that people need to create their own futures.

HOME aspires to reach the emotions, the stories, the memories, the knowledge, and the sensory movements that connect bodies with others. Those bodies which are expressed through the concreteness of relations and through ties coming from the ordinary sphere of life, the transformative potential of travel, the representations of domestic space within the care market – all those places in which it is possible to experience the feeling of “being” or “not being” at home.

The bodies of female warriors are the ones taking center stage here. They invent ways to inhabit memories linked to their country. A Syrian actress practices the relation between voice, body and language. A Palestinian choreographer stimulates the archive of being in the cradle of daily gestures. Members from the Moroccan, Eritrean, Rom and Sinti, Iranian, Senegalese, Ukrainian, Peruvian, Chinese, Palestinian, Malian and Ivorian communities conduct lessons, constituting together an affective citizenship, capable of founding new forms of affinity and pedagogy.

In this frame, the use of the juridical institution such as “referendum” is an artistic strategy to generate new spaces for debate, imagined as physical transitions leading to public space. The key words of this ten days-festival are “contact and meeting” and that’s what “home” does, eventually addressing the future. Far from being an idealized place of origin, “home” is a place open to the negotiations and connections that art, after experiencing diversity, is able to promote.

Expand text
Close text
Times in Italy are tough, there is an apparent rise of the extreme right, yet people here seem concerned. I witness that every evening during the School of Integration lessons, a section of the festival where various foreign communities of Bologna, come to meet the audience, their co-cizitens. What is really striking is that these exchanges do not take place under a veil of mere exoticism and, even though each community is sharing their particular cultural idioms, the prevailing feeling is the one of contiguity.
And here comes the paradox, the controversy of our times, there’s people who have the choice of leaving their home and travel the world to satisfy whatever needs they have and at the same time there’s the people that need to leave their home, not by choice but by force and they are not allowed to travel.
Next morning, I find myself too, having to fight my own clichés, as. I am walking down the street a bit lost in my thoughts, when suddenly a young man asks something in Italian. I turn to him and since I haven’t understood his request, for a split second I am trying to process the situation based on whatever facts are there, to comprehend and respond...