A SOCIALLY ENGAGED DRINK incontri su arte e società

Lunedì 28 maggio 2012 dalle 18.00 alle 20.00
DOCVA, Fabbrica del Vapore, via Procaccini 4, Milano

L’appuntamento del ciclo A Socially Engaged Drink di lunedì 28 maggio è dedicato a NEXTFLOOR, progetto di riqualificazione sociale e urbana dell’Associazione Sintetico in collaborazione con ALAgroup e Boîte. Il progetto punta alla conversione degli spazi urbani ottenuta attraverso la creatività e l’organizzazione di momenti partecipativi e il coinvolgimento diretto degli abitanti.
 Il progetto pilota è composto di due momenti: il primo, Temporary School, a cura di Maria Rosa Sossai (ALAgroup) è un laboratorio della durata di una settimana proposto da ALAgroup, durante il quale vengono sviluppate nuove destinazioni d’uso del Portico di Piazza Gramsci; il secondo è NEXTFLOOR?_Open Call, un concorso di riprogettazione e riallestimento semipermanente del Portico destinato ai partecipanti al laboratorio.

L ‘incontro al DOCVA vuole dare particolare risalto al workshop Temporary School, laboratorio di educazione/formazione che prevede la centralità dellʼartista nel processo di apprendimento/insegnamento inteso come spazio di libertà creativa. Ne discuteranno Maria Rosa Sossai, critica e curatrice di arte contemporanea, in conversazione con Sreshta Rit Premnath, poliedrico artista indiano residente a New York e che spazia tra diversi medium espressivi, e Francesca De Luca, co-director dell’associazione Sintetico.

Viafarini DOCVA
Fabbrica del Vapore
Via Procaccini 4
20154 Milano

p/f +39 02 66804473
p +39 02 45471153


30 May 2012

Notes from conversations between Rit Premnath and Maria Rosa Sossai written in preparation for the Socially Engaged Drink which took place on the 28th May 2012 at DOCVA, Milan.

Rit Premnath and I met for the first time last summer at Civitella Ranieri where he was attending an artist’s residency. We spoke about the experience of teaching in India and in other venues:

When Sintetico asked me to curate a project for the association, I thought it could be an occasion to invite him to run the workshop. So we started to write each other, conceiving the project Temporary School via Skype and mail.

Temporary School took place in the porch of Piazza Antonio Gramsci in Milan. We started to ask ourselves how we could go beyond traditional education which is usually characterized by a neutral setting, which means it doesn’t matter where we study as long as information is transmitted from a teacher to a student. But we realized that a school should not be a neutral space but rather an emotional one, shaped by where we are and who participates.

Traditional education re-affirms the social division between people who think and people who act. Usually those people who think, the “intellectuals” are placed socially higher than those who do, the “labourers”. But we wanted to create a different kind of school that doesn’t reproduce this division.

In order to create a community, which will then redesign a public space, a recycled banner has been used as an educational tool; its two sides have become the symbolic wall delineating a pedagogical space – a wall that separates the public from the private.

Some of the questions written on the banner aim to give the inhabitants of the area and the group of participants a chance to develop new active and creative forms of participation.

What is public and what is private?

Is the body public or private?

How important is enjoyment in education?

What is learning and what activities does it imply?

Does it deal only with rational knowledge or also imply emotional understanding?

And how to transform knowledge into understanding?

Must we care for a place before we can transform it?

In order to collaborate with each other must we first care for each other?

What happens within the space and how we communicate this to those people – the public – who passes through the space?

Our first activity was to write questions relevant to the participants both about the space and about education.  And the surface of the classroom  – you suggested – is the pvc banner which can itself gather these questions.

In this way the personal questions of the participants are voiced to the public who passes through Piazza Antonio Gramsci and perhaps resonate with them and become their personal questions as well.

The walls of the Temporary School itself has become a “pedagogical sculpture” demarcating the discursive space – the unanswered questions – that are more important to struggle with than to resolve.

No matter what the participants have created within the classroom, it has been the classroom itself that became the sculpture at the end.

Another question I would like to ask you, refers to the mental and creative place the educational activity has in your work. The experience we had during this week has been very important in order to understand how it is possible to build a relationship with people in an open space like the porch of Piazza Gramsci. And the most interesting suggestion is that written by a woman on the postcard: I would like the temporary school to become permanent and continue with open and free lessons run by teachers, students and artists. So, what people need is the possibility to share knowledge and ideas. Do you find any similarities between your previous experiences and the workshop you are running here in Milan?

To be continued…