First Mediterranean Encounters with Horcynus Orca
babelmed - 31/05/2005
"Mediterranean Encounters is an inquiry project into the deep currents of visual arts in the Mediterranean regions". Planned to be a three-year event to be developed into three different exhibitions and other side-events on cinema, music, literature, as well as conferences and happenings specifically addressed to the territory, Mediterranean Encounters are thought as a recognition along the entire perimeter of this mobile but persistent border; restless space recently scoured by a mosaic of conflicts and wars that, yet, cannot destroy and remove the concept of "something in common", the continuity of history and of memory that always re-emerges, beyond the differences of the "present tenses" that any region lives.
Persistence and discontinuity: this is the dialectic couple that defines, better of any other, the Mediterranean paradox as well as its strength. In the net of political and religious boundaries, in the confusion of languages and reciprocal suspect, contemporary art, fast and versatile as it is, proves to be the best means to create a link between the single condition of every person and its belonging to a common holistic dimension.
The exhibition is conceived as a three-stop journey around the Mediterranean area: South-East - Europe of the new Frontiers - Western Routes.
Each exhibition (to be held more or less at an annual base) is dedicated to contemporary art works originated in those areas. The first, South-East, to take place from 14th May through 15th November 2005, focuses on the area included between Maghreb and Lebanon, in order to engage in creative dialogues between artists coming from those regions and some Italian artists particularly close to Mediterranean matters such as identity, cultural belonging, memory, tradition and the potential loss of it, a serious risk that the globalising world is facing just in our days. It is, thus, an event that brings not only an artistic significance but also a socio-politic one. It fosters cross-cultural cooperation, to nurture and promote the arts in the Mediterranean region: a primary task.
The location is strategic: between Sicily and Calabria, in the hearth of the Mediterranean, where different socio-cultural and historic realities mingle. A place that (better than other aseptic and interchangeable spot, useful but anonymous) enables to devote a closer and more sensitive attention to the place itself: that is the Mediterranean, conceived classically as huge treasure of memories, history, cultures, traditions, myths; and, keeping a more actual perspective, as a complexity of ecosystems and social structures.
A place seen from a peculiar and extraordinary point of view: the Straits of Messina - in itself a great discourse of nature, thoughts, human relationships. But a place that nowadays needs, more than many others, a cultural improvement throughout qualifying events which would eventually let it gain, once more, the key role that it could play as centre of interchanges and confrontation between North and South.
A place where it could be strategic to promote possible resources of sustainable and productive partnerships such as nets of relationships between different operators similar to the ones already existing around the Foundation Horcynus Orca (where the exhibition will take place) based on the integration of marginalities, whatever they are, and sensitivity to environmental matters.
As a matter of fact, the Mediterranean Encounters project aims to support and develop any ethic tensions already existing in many contemporary art expressions and to encourage their emergence and involvement in an actual and direct social-political sense.
The Foundation Horcynus Orca, promoter and organizer of the event, has a marked environmental attitude and, since its opening, it has been very close to ecological and eco-sustainable matters. It so happens that it is the only cultural institution in Italy to be supplied by a futuristic renewable source, the energy produced by the sea streams and collected by some powerful turbines of low environmental impact (first centre all over Europe). Moreover visitors in the Torre Faro antique tower (site of the Foundation) are given the chance to enjoy a multidisciplinary tour of some structured spaces dedicated to the ecosystem in the Straits, to an archaeological excavation showing the different cultures that housed this part of Sicily, from Greek colonies on; and finally the spaces devoted to contemporary art, which are closely connected with other sections of the tour in accordance with a cultural perspective that privileges complexity and continuity of various forms of expression and different knowledge.
Babelmed Editorial Team