Donatella Bernardi & Beat Lippert, September 2007
Workshop for the second edition of the RIFRAZIONI festival
For the Rifrazioni festival, Valerio Montuschi, of the Utopia association, invited us to develop a project for the castle Sangallo, Nettuno. We quickly had to deal with the conditions of the situation and considering the limited budget, we had to make a "low cost" installation.
The first proposal came from Yves Mettler: To re-arm the fort with Cadere Style batons, Cadere beeing a french minimal and conceptual painter of the sixties who installed painted batons in places where he was not always invited, claiming the transformation of a space by the objects.
We immediately thought about making the batons with PET bottles that we can find in the rubbish left all over the streets of Nettuno. Aiming an exchang with the local population, we decided to make them trough a public workshop. That's how we got in touch with Marco Mansueti and Paolo Garau, whose collaboration brought new ideas, like droping "messages in bottles" in the fountain in Nettuno.
The installation went mainly over the two aisles of the fort. One got occupied with canes producing a forest of lances between which black rubbish bags floated like Marcel Duchamps shredded bathing caps (Sculpture voyage, 1918).
In the other aisle we laid out by ground a fishing net offered by Salvatore, a fisher of Port Anzio, shifting it from its original context to the exhibition context, offering a new space to the imaginary of the viewer.
Nearly all materials have been found on site. It's an In Situ project.
Highly priviledged in Donatella Bernardis performance Il Pagliaccio, interpreted by Souphiène Amiar, as well as in the composition Apprendista Stregone by Hans-Jürg Meier, interpreted by three young percussionists from Nettuno, the cultural exchange become a central point in this experience. In relation with the tendency to centraliza cultural activity in Rome, creating an event in Nettuno was a challenge.
There is a giant gap between the local youth culture and what we proposed, obviously informed by contemporary art. In the hope to continue the exchange, we think of taking part in the festival of the next year, to develop the potential we discovered in the other parts of the festival, especially in the performances of the Ibis.
In Nettuno, for the second consecutive year, Valerio Montuschi of Utopia ONLUS and Livia Caputo & Isabella di Cola, as their collaborators organize the festival “Rifrazioni”, a festival which federates events of very different nature, experimental theatre with cover rock concerts, inevitably less actual for the contemporary world.
Donatella Bernardi, an italo-swiss artist in residency at the Istituto Svizzero di Roma, has been invited to
to assemble an exhibition project in the fort Sangallo, which is not far from the medieval borough where take place the concerts. She invited to collaborate the swiss artist Beat Lippert, living and working in Geneva. Togehter they set up the workshop GLOCAL from August 27 to September 2 2007.
We started to work on Yves Mettlers idea. He proposed to re-arm the fort, echoing the forts history (1501-1503) , an typical defensive architecture of the first renaissance, but more generally defense weaponry and the allied stranding on january 22 1944 still haunting the place.
The budget limitations forced us to work with zero costs. So we found the PET bottles that overflowed the bins everywhere as the sorting of rubbish was hardly respected, producing an urban image in contradiction with the luxury of cars and mobile phones the people buy and show.
Message in a bottle
First we thought about offering the visitors to write a message in a bottle and to exchange it with another one left here previously. Marco Mansueti brought La Pronoia by Rob Brezny and proposed to put extracts in the bottles and to drop them in the Neptune dedicated fountain of Nettuno.
As Marco never showed up again, and paralelly, the guardians of the fort offered Beat a book of letters written by Gabriele D'Annunzio, bringing up a content in complete opposition with the spirit we wanted to express, we decided to leave the visitors writing messages and that we would drop them in the fountain after the festival. Around thirty messages were written.
As we were looking for small rubbish to put in the bottles, an idea we realised with the installation Repubblica Trash, to which the visitors freely added their own trash, like german beer bottles, we arrived to the port of Anzio. There we found a fishing net we thought would be very nice for the exhibition. Salvatore offered us an old one. Back in the fort, we layed it out all over, creating a new space: Some saw the waves, other the sky. This installation is a metaphor of the social and economical network that infoms any culture, so we called it Reti Culturale, cultural net.
Viaggio nelle Canne
We observed at the port how the fishers made little floating flags with canes, rubbish bags and sagex. They probably mark where the nets are left out during the whole night. Inspired by that, we went with Paolo Garau to get a maximum of wild canes growing out of Nettuno, at Tre Cancelli.
Once the leafs taken away, the flagged pole were mounted on the fort. The remaining were used to reproduce Duchamps installation Sculpture Voyage in the aisle of the fort. It was an image we linked with what we saw where we get the canes: At the beginning of the forest we found piles of computers and fridges.
The last challenge was to bring the people from the old town where the concerts were to the fort. We developed a signal system that would be to wrap with rubbish bags all the bins on the way from the Fort to Borgo to finally wrap the Neptune statue of the fountain.
This beeing to much for a quick action, and also mayba to provocative towards the local population, we just wrapped some objects on the way and the three fishs of the fountain. This had as a result that the fountain got emptied, washed and all the water tubes activated.
A article about this especially symbolic wrapping and the flags out of rubbish bags has been published in the Messaggero on september 2 2007.
Back to the fort, we also wrapped the amphoras. This action was kind of metaphor of what happens with conservation: it's protected, but also made inaccessible.
Jingle for the festival by Rudy Decelière and Donatella Bernardi