A BOOK TO/BE
a DIY user manual for art practices in urban regenerations
by Irene Pittatore
Curator: Nicoletta Daldanise
With the collaboration of Lisa Parola, Luisa Perlo (a.titolo), Giovanni Semi, Alberto Vanolo (Turin University) Publisher: Archive Books
The project stems from a comparison of two artistic experiences. Firstly, one between Irene Pittatore and Annelies Vaneycken, which was focused on regenerative urban interventions carried out at Porta Palazzo, Torino, during the international programme Viadellafucina A.I.R., in 2012. Secondly, an on-site investigation dedicated by Irene Pittatore and Nicoletta Daldanise to the dynamics of regeneration which involved citizens, cultural operators and artists alike in Mitte, Kreuzberg and Neukölln (Berlin).
The artist’s book – that will be published by Archive Books, Berlin – explores the reasons, as well as the consequences, of the public administration and investors’ choice of using inexpensive “young creativity” in urban regeneration projects in a period of socioeconomic crisis. Teetering over the potential contaminations between art practices, the social realm, public entertainment and spontaneous socio-cultural embedding, an artist, a sociologist, three art curators and a geographer discuss regenerative practices, strive to put the puzzles together and compare controversial case studies.
The final form the book took on is one of an instruction manual, without instructions . A “performing book” under development (to be), making the reader part of a journey between Torino and Berlino (To/Be) that became object of study, production and comparison of experiences of “public art” between these two cities – whether fruit of a rigorous research and production programmes or extemporaneous interventions in response to trend and/or convenience.
What does carrying out interventions in an area under regeneration mean for an artist? Who is responsible for the promotion of urban regeneration plans and who are they for? Just what responsibilities does the artist have to him/herself, the citizens and the patrons? Is the artist aware of the risks in gentrification as well as the economic implications involved in requalification programmes?
The key issues are eviscerated through interviews, essays, workshops, talk groups, photographs and on-site visits. This “half- written” book, with numerous blank pages at the disposal of both theorists and practitioners, has the scope of stimulating debates, from the pure and simple process of storytelling to pin-pointing critical instruments and a reference language to share.
A BOOK TO/BE’s structure and division into chapters is based on the operative and interpretive methodologies generally adopted in the production and presentation of this type of artistic intervention in the public sphere, i.e. long premises, participatory research and public confrontation, documentation of the territorial and scientific context under discussion.
The project has been set-up with the support of:
– the 2013 session of DE.MO./MOVIN’UP, under the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism – the General Management for Cultural Heritage and Landscape, Fine Arts, Architecture and Contemporary Arts – the General Management for live performing arts and GAI – Italian Young Artists Association
– The cultural Association Kaninchen-Haus, programme viadellafucina twinning residency, set-up and organized with the patronage of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Artisanship and Agriculture Torino
– Archive Books, Berlin.
And has taken part in:
– Festival Architettura in Città, Torino (2014 and 2015)
– We-Traders – Swapping Crisis for City, Torino (2014)
– University of Torino – Sociology of Urban cultures course (2014)
– kunststadt stadtkunst 62 magazine, the information service of the “Kulturwerk” of the bbk Berlin (2015)
– the Swiss television RSI – Space for Culture, curated by Alberto Vanolo and Irene Pittatore (2013)