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2021 is the year of the Italian presidency of the G20, the forum that brings together the major economies of the planet around a working theme of pressing urgency for which an integrated and collaborative intervention among the nations of the world is essential. But it is also the first year that marks the “after” 2020, the year zero of the Covid-19, the global event that has pulverized the sense, the opportunity and the effectiveness of competition between states, social classes, cultures, throwing us into an affair from which it is impossible to get out if you pretend to do it to the detriment of the other. So the theme of the G20 2021 is “People, Planet, Prosperity”: a formula that expresses how the destinies of peoples can be intertwined not only in the lightning spread of a virus but also in the development of solutions for environmental sustainability, the fight against poverty, social equity and universal rights.

On 29 June 2021 the meeting between the foreign ministers of the countries that make up the G20 will take place in Matera. For this significant occasion, the city of Matera have imagined providing a real opportunity for “social mending” that consists in the possibility to call the citizenship around the use of a public space of exceptional prestige, as well as to lay the foundations for the story of this territory in a world perspective favourable to relationality, as well as, again, to carve out a moment to retrace and process the many issues that the collective trauma has removed from the sphere of social consciousness. “Strangers and Strangeness”, realized by Porta Cœli Foundation and curated by Donato Faruolo, is a double exhibition of reportage photography in Basilicata interconnected with a double architectural installation on the forms of social liturgies in an era of distancing between bodies. Both events tell about ways of overcoming the sense of extraneousness: photography as a tool used by the photographic gaze to penetrate the meshes of a society that is alien to it and to bring back to the collective benefit the singularity of a dense relational experience; architecture and the design of relations in public space as tools to bring to a higher degree of awareness our presence in the places of civil sharing through the intelligent and meaningful critique of the signs of prohibition and distancing.

For photography, we propose two photographic projects that, between affinities and vertiginous divergences, will tell how Lucanian society has changed since the post-war period and how the linguistic tools used for such an ambitious story have changed with it. The Rocco Scotellaro Documentation Center of the town of Tricarico contributes to the initiative with the fund of the greatest photographer of the twentieth century, Henri Cartier-Bresson: a true monument of recent Lucanian history, developed in two phases in the 1950s and 1970s, the reportage traverses the epochal events that shaped Basilicata in those years, including Agrarian Reform, vaccination campaigns, displacement from the Sassi of Matera and infrastructure and industrialization of the territory: twenty-six photographs of the decline of that atavistic peasant civilization whose capital Carlo Levi had placed in Matera. A photograph nourished by a light, layman’s gaze on the ethnographic background, when Basilicata was the land of the unknown to be plumbed. On the opposite side of this parabola, after the 2019 European Capital of Culture in Matera that offered once and for all an image of the region for global imaginaries, stands “Tarsus,” the work that photographer Eli Dijkers produced during an artistic residency in Basilicata in 2018. His narrative, in one hundred images, crosses photographic genres and divests itself of any anthropological temptation. He no longer declaims to the world, no longer illustrates for all to see and know, but subtly recounts the contradictions and uncertainties of something that, with an abused term, we might call “resilience,” but that does not prescind from the true and melancholic tone of “despite”, according to an all-contemporary reconfiguration of the theme of peripheral lives. Both projects focus on the experience of photography as a real moment of reading the possibilities of a relationship with a “strange/extraneous” social context, offering us edifying moments of reflection on what we are and how we represent ourselves, starting from the acceptance of the fruitfulness of the moment of the disturbing.

For the architecture and the design of relationships in urban space, we have called to the conference in the exhibition space, to make it an opportunity for reflection, two experiences of great interest in the field of experimentation on the theme of prohibition and interdiction of public space in the pandemic era. Osa Architettura e Paesaggio (Rome) and Volumezero architecture and landscape (Potenza), on the one hand, and Caret Studio (Florence), on the other, will present two updated and in-depth re-editions of two important reflections made in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, specially studied for Matera.

Osa and Volumezero present “Love is in the air”: starting from the installation “Meno”, conceived for the fluid and critical fruition of an industrial space temporarily reconverted to the functions of performing arts for Città delle 100 scale festival, the two studios develop a project that focuses on a highly symbolic image of air, a fluid that, after having been seen as a vehicle for the propagation of viruses, will be interpreted in its virtue as a vehicle of life, a carrier of plant spores.

On the other hand, the project “StoDistante” by Caret Studio (Florence) commissioned by the Municipality of Vicchio, in Mugello, reconfigured in the form of the new installation “Metrografia”: a paradigmatic and internationally recognized episode in which the forms of prohibition also become forms of possibility, through a formal elaboration that allows exploring the unknowns that are hidden in the familiarity of public space. At this juncture, Caret Studio offers a version that is about the changing social liturgies applied to the G20 liturgies. Both experiences reflect on the suggestion that the grids we use today to distance ourselves in the space we know are paradoxically similar to the grids that the geographer Gerhard Kremer developed in the Renaissance (after the terrible plague of the 14th century) to bring people together in the unknown space of the globe, in a functional relationship between “people, planet and prosperity”.

open to the public from June 30, 2021
open every day / closed on Wednesdays
hours 10:00 - 13:00 / 15:00 - 19:00

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is not merely a place: it is an avant-garde idea generated and nourished in an Italian province, quite far from huge capitals.

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