Statement by Directors of Cinema, Dance, Music and Theatre of la Biennale di Venezia
The syncretic art par excellence, cinema has drawn sap from art of the twentieth century, taking over other expressive forms to cast them in a new language. But while the relationship with theater, music, dance and the visual arts has been widely examined, the same is perhaps not so true of the links with architecture, which nevertheless constitutes one of the strongest bonds. Both are arts of space, in that they are destined to exercise a reciprocal influence formed of numerous implications, exchanges, and subtleties. It is no coincidence that some of the greatest directors in the history of cinema should have studied architecture at some point of their lives (Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Nicholas Ray, Michael Cimino...), or that many architects have declared themselves to have been profoundly influenced by some films seen while designing new buildings, destined to change the face of modern architecture. It is in virtue of this fruitful multiplicity that cinema takes its rightful place in the Monditalia project organized by the Architecture Biennale as a sort of common denominator. With the program of over 70 films (or, in reality, fragments of films) arranged along the itinerary of the exhibition, they offer the visitor a mosaic of suggestions from which he can stitch together one of the possible interpretations of this appealing offering. Italy and its history recur in these fragments and, thanks to the ontological realism of the film’s images, suggest a visual testimony of the complex evolution of urban structures and natural spaces, social and industrial backdrops, economic and political perspectives, the individual and collective aspirations of a people and country with extraordinary force. These are the models used by Rem Koolhaas as model for comparison and reference in order to effect a profound and informal reflection on the nature and developments of architecture. Apart from the value of film as document, one that historians have recognized for many years, comparing these audiovisual fragments with the heterogeneous group of other materials on display helps set up those sudden illuminating flashes of understanding that the exhibition’s curators intend.
The year 2014 will be one of dialogue between the 9th International Festival of Contemporary Dance/Biennale College Dance and the 14th International Architecture Exhibition directed by Rem Koolhaas, with the two programs sharing spaces and projects. In this dialogue, the body is used as a crossroads in which poetically to dispose experiences and projects, constructing a place crisscrossed by the memory of gestures and by the new life that the “disrobing of the dancer’s body” allows to emerge; a dancer who is a demiurge indicating a possible way forward, running close to the dance of life. The event offers a meditation outside the rules, through the body of dance. From June 7 to 29, Dance and architecture_Polis Corderie will be presenting a varied program of practices, visions, and performances at the Corderie dell’Arsenale. The spaces have been designed to share the sense of passage, of agora, and of frequentation: a continuum of events concerning living within a body in which choreographers, dancers, and artists, together with children, mothers, the elderly, communities, and groups, and the blind will all form a polis founded on gesture, alternating study and workshop, rehearsal and performance, creating a series of choreographic cycles. From an idea of work in progress and a system of practices towards creation emerges a series of proposals of various formats, duration, and location, which will draw in both the 9th International Contemporary Dance Festival 2014 (June 19–29) and the training and creation programs of the Biennale College Dance, together with the phases of creation of paintings in the Vangelo secondo Matteo project.
A journey between the transfiguration of Giochi popolari interpreted by very young dancers and Ballate understood as choreographies migrating into exhibition; from the concept of crowd, which will give rise to sudden agoras of stratified gestures to the Prima danza project in which two young choreographers will be involved in their process of creation, understood here as living in a space in terms of frequentation, between the eyes of the visitors and intimate research. The Corderie will also be the venue in which blind and sighted dancers will present choreographic forms in progress (Danze leggermente diverse, Danze per capire), seeking the space for the event amongst the visitors to the performance. At the same time, the places that will open daily thanks to the concept of the Corderie program, will be playing host from time to time to reflections and tests on the pictures of the Vangelo secondo Matteo, a project by Virgilio Sieni involving 200 performers of all ages and professions, together with the choreographic input from projects by Cristina Rizzo, Roy Assaf, Michele Di Stefano, and the Kinkaleri group. The performances and practices towards creation presented in the Dance and architecture_Polis Corderie will deliver visions and itineraries in cities in line with the construction of a fragile geography of glances, changes of position, and halts. The spaces of the Polis San Marco (roofed over and open spaces) and those of the Polis Arsenale will in turn, during the 9th International Contemporary Dance Festival, host the performances developed and presented in the Corderie, creating a system of resonances and echoes, reflections on the architecture and geography of the local surroundings.
171144R could hardly believe his eyes. Something wasn’t registering. He failed to perceive any parallels between the coordinates in space and time. He rechecked the settings to make sure it was indeed Venice during the period of maximum insolation in the year 2014. He had first-hand experience with the hardships of such heat and in some way was already used to the climate. It actually wasn’t completely unbearable. The city offered many places to shelter from the heat, and the Arsenale was certainly a place with soothing temperatures conducive to contemplation, discussion, and meditation… and with works of great creativity and aesthetics immediately at hand. Fortunately, this too had remained unchanged in the city, in spite of the temporal distance that 171144R had travelled. Venice was also a classic architectural museum conserving the most precious contemporary content. It was the evolution of art and the human being in a dream space. After his atomic transport, 171144R boarded a vaporetto to the Arsenale and the Giardini. There was a pleasant breeze as he traveled and he had time to mull over the reasons for this mission. What had happened at the Arsenale during this period of La Biennale to justify this investigatory mission, in the year 3014? Passing through the main doors of the Arsenale, he immediately felt a refreshing coolness: it was just as he knew it, and even the bookstore was in the same space. As he entered the first room, which would later be called the Sala Baratta, he began to understand the reasons for his journey. There was something about the place that he couldn’t quite grasp rationally, something that had much to do with believing in human beings, in their possibilities, in giving, offering, and being open to others. Architecture, theatre, music and dance came together here to impress their meanings on the senses. La Biennale opened its doors to international artists so that they could venture, perhaps err but not fear plunging into the depths. It was a testing ground, a direct and generous gift of the International Architecture Exhibition, where master Koolhaas and his team had set the stage for a creative interplay. There were many different spaces engendering an equal variety of relations between observer and artist. The artists had embraced the generous gift. And with the same generosity they set out to regale the city with the results of an intensely creative week. However, the key was not the results, it was the experimentation and the idea of sharing knowledge. And there was also knowledge to be gained in the conferences held by preeminent masters of theatre. 171144R enjoyed his week at the Theatre Departmentof the Biennale College. At certain points he even felt a flutter of emotion. There was nothing else like it on the planet. It made Venice a special place for knowledge. After returning to Venice in 3014, 171144R met with the mayor, Delmercato23, to relate what he had seen. The mayor thanked him for the report and it was then that the question suddenly struck 171144R: Was August 2014 really such a crucial moment for human beings? “Dear 171144R,” responded Delmercato23, “any gesture of creation, knowledge, beauty, or generosity is a crucial moment for human beings.” artistic residences—workshops—talks—work-inprogress performances.
The Biennale College—Theater project has the spirit of an artistic workshop: a place for hypotheses and comparing notes, a space open to encounters and to experimentation. The Biennale Theater is intended to present itself as a useful moment for artists, scholars, spectators, enthusiasts. A genuine centre of ideas around the possibilities of theatre entrusted to masters and experts from all over the world to share and experiment. Biennale College—Theater will take place from 30 July to 10 August 2014. Playwrights, directors, actors, set designers, theorists, leading personalities will share their knowledge with more than 200 participants from all the world at the college. Prestigious international companies will develop their future projects. We will approach masters and artists engrossed in talks and performances. Twelve days of intense theatre activity within the reach of Venice’s visitors.
The contribution of the Venice Biennale’s Music Sector to the Monditalia project consists of two performances closely associated with the theme of the event, with two particular references to the recent history of Italy. Kater i Rades, a chamber opera by Albanian composer Admir Shkurtaj performed in collaboration with the Cantieri Teatrali Koreja of Lecce, conducted by Salvatore Tramacere, takes another dramatic event from Italy’s recent history as its theme: the sinking of the Kater I Rades ship in the Strait of Otranto. The albanian ship, loaded with 120 refugees fleeing an Albania in open revolt, came into collision with the Italian navy’s Sibilla, which was trying to prevent its arrival on Italian shores. On that Good Friday in 1997, more than eighty people lost their lives. The event became a tragic symbol of the boat people seeking a country that might give them their freedom and dignity as human beings. Finally, Compasso de navegare offers the historic theme of the Mare Nostrum, the Mediterraneum. The performance takes the form of a concert by the GEO (Galata Electroacoustic Orchestra) comprising musicians from the universities and conservatories of Istanbul, Barcelona, Cagliari, and Genoa, conducted by Roberto Doati and Tolga Tüzün. Ethnic music and improvisation blend with an electronic setting that multiplies and develops the seductive sounds.