by Eugenia Bertelè
The 12th edition of Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial will open its doors in Palermo, a crossroad city located in the heart of the Mediterranean, next June 16th, 2018 until November 4th, 2018Manifesta, originated in Amsterdam during the early 1990s, was born in response to the political, economic and social change following the end of the Cold War and beginning of the European integration process. This time the exhibition titled The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence, explores coexistence in a world moved by invisible networks, transnational private interests, algorithmic intelligence and ever- increasing inequalities. According to the words of Hedwig Fijen, art historian Director and Founder of Manifesta: “Today biennials should be more than the sum of a series of exhibitions. The added value of Manifesta 12 is the fact that the biennial programme takes place in 2018 in the Sicilian city of Palermo, where important geopolitical, social and ecological realities of our times are arising. Palermo constitutes the deep complexities that people worldwide are facing. We hope that Manifesta 12 creates new perspectives in terms of staging the immaterial and material legacy for the future of the city.” There are then a present and a future imagined for Palermo: a long- term series of education projects that will kick-off during the biennial in order to create a sustainable impact after the exhibition, using the fantastic energy and vibrant culture of the city. This year the international creative team is interdisciplinary and includes Bregtje van der Haak (Dutch filmmaker and journalist), Andrés Jacque (Spanish architect founder of Office for Political Innovation), Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli (Sicilian born architect Partner at OMA) and Mirjam Varadinis (Swiss contemporary art curator at Kunsthalle Zurich). The concept was inspired by the city itself through a preliminary phase of investigation made by the international architecture firm OMA, Palermo Atlas, which allowed a deeper understanding of social, cultural and geographical texture of the city. Manifesta 12 will look at the idea of the garden, exploring its capacity to aggregate difference and to compose life out of movement and migration. Palermo has historically been a laboratory for diversity and cross-pollination, shaped by continuous migration and mixing a vegetation from Asia, Middle East, Australia, etc. The exhibition is articulated in 4 sections: Garden of Flows, exploring toxicity, plant life and the culture of gardening in relation to global common goods; Out of Control Room investigating power in today’s regime of global flows; City on Stage, addressing the existing opportunities in the center and in the suburbs of Palermo to carry out projects so far interrupted and never realized; Teatro Garibaldi hosting a library, café and program of public events, including debates, workshops and film screenings.
Manifesta 12 features 30 new commissioned art works, public installations, performances and urban interventions, taking place in 15 iconic venues of the city. Among others, Nigerian contemporary art performer, Jelili Atiku, will set up a processional performance on June 15th, through the streets of Palermo. French contemporary landscape architect and philosopher Gilles Clément, who inspired the biennial’s curatorial concept with his book The Planetary Garden will engage in collaboration with the multidisciplinary design studio Coloco and create an urban garden in the Zen district of Palermo. Maria Thereza Alves will dedicate a site-specific work dedicated to the floral syncretism of Sicily at Palazzo Butera. London-based collective Cooking Sections will show a project on agricultural irrigation systems held in various venues. Marinella Senatore, will feature on June 16th a collective dance movement in the streets of the historic centre and Giorgio Vasta, with the project City Scripts, a digital app dedicated to the narration of Palermo. More information, click here See collateral events, click here