Curated by Valerio Del Baglivo and Michele Bertolino (junior curator)
The Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation hosts the second appointment of The Institute of Things to Come , with an exhibition, a performance and a workshop by the artist Mikhail Karikis . Founded in 2017 by artist Ludovica Carbotta and curator Valerio Del Baglivo, The Institute is an itinerant art program that investigates forms of speculative imagination such as cultural strategies and artistic methodologies for the development of critical positions. The theme of 2018/19 is TERRA INCOGNITA (Latin phrase used in ancient cartography to indicate unexplored lands) and is inspired by the book by sociologist Albert Meister, Sotto il Beaubourg (1976).
In the text, Meister describes the existence of an imaginary museum beneath the original: an underground cultural center (a beaubourg with a lowercase initial) where an assembly of four thousand individuals organizes a pole for counterculture. This reference is the starting point for reflecting on the existence of fictitious territories created by artists, metaphorical or literary landscapes in which forms of subversion, anti-authoritarianism, utopia and elements of fantasy come together.
The artist Mikhail Karikis presents, for the first time in an Italian institution, Children of Unquiet , a research project that rethinks the destiny of Larderello (Pisa), site of the first geothermal power plant in the world and today a territory disfigured by the effects of industrial automation. In his practice Karikis uses the vocal element as a sculptural material and socio-political agent: often triggering processes of collaboration with local communities to foster engagement in social causes. At the heart of his most recent works are the themes of exploitation in the workplace, the industrial landscape and the effects of globalization on local communities. In his practice with the communities, the artist leads his interlocutors in a series of activities aimed at re-imagining the destiny of territories marked by industrial decline.
In Children of Unquiet, artist Mikhail Karikis collaborated with young people to orchestrate the occupation by a group of children of an abandoned workers' village in Tuscany. The video is shot in the Valle del Diavolo area in Tuscany, known for inspiring Dante's descriptions of Inferno, but also for being the place where sustainable energy production was invented in the early 1900s and where the first geothermal power plant in the world was built. Until the 1980s, some five thousand workers and their families lived in a group of modernist industrial villages built around the power plant and designed by the well-known architect Giovanni Michelucci. Following the introduction of technologies that have replaced human labor in the power plant, however, unemployment in the area has increased and the prospects for young people have become limited resulting in rapid depopulation and complete abandonment of entire villages. Children of Unquiet presents forty-five children who live in the region, near the industrial village abandoned by their parents after the almost complete automation of the geothermal power plant where they worked. In the video, young people between the ages of five and twelve take over depopulated sites by transforming the wasteland into an amphitheater, a playground and a self-organized school at the same time. They sing and harmonize with the powerful underground and industrial noises that resonate throughout the area; they gather in the ruins to read political texts by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt and play among the abandoned houses.
In turn playful and meditative, spectacular and intimate, Children of Unquiet imagines the possibility of re-thinking the destiny of territories that are marked by capitalist transformations. It reflects on post-industrial legacies and hints at the possible and desired ecological futures evoked by the poetic and activist imagination of the generation most affected by current socio-economic changes. On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, accompanied by Ilaria Gadenz (co-founder of Radio Papesse), the artist presents the performance 102 Years Out of Synch in which Dante's steps in the Valle del Diavolo are retraced in an attempt to listen to what the poet could have heard. Combining recent footage and snippets from the 1911 silent film Hell, ambient sound recordings, storytelling and extended vocals, 102 Years Out of Synch delves into the planes of legend, industrial archeology, underground sounds and ear imagery.
In the days following the inauguration and in collaboration with the curator Sofia Victorino (Daskalopoulos Director of Education and Public Programs at the Whitechapel Gallery in London) , Mikhail Karikis conducts the Political Love workshop for Associates 2018/19. different political activists, the workshop intends to reflect on strategies to acquire more awareness of the policies of encounters with others and more sensitivity towards the hierarchies implicit in our relationship to architecture and recording technologies, underlining how representation is able to reconstruct agentive possibilities and of empowerment.
Opening: February 14, h. 7:00 pm
Performance: 102 yEARS OUT OF SYNCH, h. 19.15