Intro

I was thinking about those who put their heads out the window because the wind is the best way to dry your tears without wasting them.
Riccardo Benassi, Morestalgia

Why are we enchanted, watching nature explode under raindrops, yet can’t get excited about what human beings propose, because this pseudo-collectivism shaken by virus and economic crisis seems dumb and blind to us as if it is our parasite-infested kitten that we are treating with desperate stubbornness? Here is the starting point in telling you all about this Festival: the obstinacy to find remedies, which are not “at all costs”. We know that now it is more important to say NO than to compromise. But it is distance we are declaring war to, which has nothing to do with the social or safety, but sinks directly into the self, into the emotional loneliness that the new bidimensional social life has created in these months and that, drop by drop, continues to be infused even now. We are disturbed by the system’s ability to not allow us to record changes, to not let us sink. We desire quicksand, carnivorous and hostile plants that do not allow us to move on as if nothing had happened, but suck upon us violently to keep us there, in the faded and frightened image of human fragility that we are newly experiencing, of the amplified need for care that bodies (the weak and non-compliant ones all the more) and the planet, demand loudly. But we do not listen.
Maybe it’s just a question of decibel: 108 dB, 200 dB, 400 dB… It’s a lacerated roar that we have to compose, like that of engines under stress “between minimum and maximum rpm” in the performance created by ZAPRUDER for this complex edition of the Festival: a hymn to an eternal ignition that never occurs. The rhetoric of the re-start is not good for anyone: better to stay still in one place and launch signals to sound the alarm around the world! While in the United States the African-American community reclaims an identity ripped tooth and nail away from slavery and segregation and manages to knock down the symbolic statues of colonial oppression, are we miserable white people content to sing the Italian national anthem, drunk and out of tune, hanging from the balcony? It is often said that the important thing to fight obesity is to move, to meander from here to there… Bullshit. To fight obesity, you need the dream, the adrenaline, the anger to want to do something, the passion to take on a project (and this is not meant to be an attack on overweight people, sorry, for there are those who have much excess fat in their minds despite their athletic physique). Tore, therefore, between the crystallised moment and the illusion of a future that carries with it the germs of the present and of our colonial and exploitative past… Now, we are a bit in the odourless shit of science fiction. We’re content with B-grade novels without expecting the absolute Fantastic. And yet, despite the atrocious words we’re writing, our artistic/curatorial head is active and lucid in affirming that perhaps a small glimmer, not fully colonised, has opened, exists, right in this postlockdown period calmed by schizophrenic regulations and so much behavioural chaos. It’s a bit like in Giacomo Cossio’s performance, ControNatura: under the “unnatural” and uniform crust of fluorescent colour that he applies to the vegetation, the internal life of the plants continues and, after a while, emerges and sprouts, erupting into a new “mutant” plant, which will never be the same again… Let’s try to think from this perspective, being together at the Festival, to create new hybrid possibilities – as I had written imagining July 2020 – This emergency edition is etymologically intended as an “act of emergence”. In botany, protuberance of the surface of the stem or leaves and homologous organs, which can originate not only from the epidermis, but also from the underlying tissues, such as the thorns of roses and brambles, or the glandular hairs of some carnivorous plants. What I am looking for, alongside the artists and the large number of volunteers who have joined us (and whom we thank here), is to imagine, provoke, flow together: to recognise the fate and follow it, if it lasts, as Claudia Castellucci writes. This implies also being able to break the concrete of the walls, real and imaginary, as in the title of Mara Oscar Cassiani’s project, inspired by the famous monologue by Bruce Lee, Be water, my friends.

We may have no shape, but we may also have the same shape.
We’ll be different, but we’ll also be equal.
We will be Separated, but we will be united […]
Water can flow, but it can also split.
Be water, my friend.

Enjoy watching and sharing in our far out Festival!

Daniela Nicolò & Enrico Casagrande