July 7 - 16 artistic direction EVA NEKLYAEVA and LISA GILARDINO
During this preparation of this Festival, there was a moment when we sat down before a laptop, switched the camera on, and got to talk to a merman for the first time in our lives. As neither of us has ever talked to a merman before, we had no idea what to expect of the encounter. During the chat, we discovered that through the eyes of a merman, we are the “two-leggers”, strange creatures who chose to walk on two legs instead of swimming freely with a magnificent glittery tail. We were immediately fascinated by this and invited him to create his own habitat in the Festival, to teach everybody how to swim as mythical creatures of the sea.
Santarcangelo has very strong magic of the place, and so the idea of the Festival becomes deeply connected with the idea of the space, both physical and symbolical.
How to inhabit the space? How to share the space? What kind of hosts do we wish to be? From here, the idea of habitats came invitations to the artists to use spaces within the Festival, running their own “programs within programs” and creating diverse ambiances for the audience to experience.
Habitats are open-ended spaces where the unplanned can happen, where unexpected encounters can take place. In this mode, curators become facilitators rather than presenters and the dialogue with artists becomes a conversation that invites surprise.
Over the past years, we have seen how art institutions can become platforms for generating alternative knowledge, where new ways of thinking become possible. Instead of just producing and showing the finalized artistic products, there is a desire to turn more and more into spaces where things happen and ideas are challenged. For us, the question was, how the Festival can also generate energy. Can we make an event that would serve as a battery, charging up both the audience and participants?
It’s the first really hot day of summer now that we are writing this together. One of us is on a balcony in Santarcangelo, and the other on a terrace in Bologna. The first mosquitos have arrived, and we are sharing this space with them. We (and mosquitos) are all looking forward to welcoming you during the Festival this July.
Artistic director Eva Neklyaeva co-curator Lisa Gilardino and Santarcangelo Festival team