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Stay safe! #37 - 20 maggio



Stay safe! #37 - 20 maggio

Durante la chiusura al pubblico dell'Istituto, in questa pagina vi proponiamo testi e riflessioni di amici e scrittori, talvolta scritti per l'occasione, scelti ogni giorno per voi. Un modo di rimanere vicini, anche nella distanza.

‘Art and museums in times of crisis’

Like any other exhibition space, the Italian Cultural Institute is grappling with a set of unprecedented challenges during the lockdown. At the time of closure, we were about to return an exhibition of pietre sonore to their home, the Fondazione Pinuccio Sciola of San Sperate in Sardinia. Created by the innovative sculptor Pinuccio Sciola, the pietre sonore are evidence of the interaction between the visual and the performing arts. The stones are meaningful insofar as they are touched and ‘played’ like a musical instrument by human hands. The stones are currently still sitting in our exhibition space. Without a public and without players the stones are silent and deprived of meaning.

If culture is social, if art is social, then ‘social distancing’ means cultural distancing too. That’s what we are missing now. Culture is a shared experience. I’m talking about the conviviality, our gathering together over food and drink. Most importantly, I am talking about the poetics, the haptics, the touch, the hearing, the mood, the colour of the art work. We miss the vital qualities of art that we can no longer take for granted. It is going to take a huge effort of imagination, collectively, to overcome this loss of presence.

Overwhelmingly, the strategy of art institutions worldwide consists of moving existing content and creating new content online. We are doing it too right now. However, we should remain on our guard with respect to the seduction of the digital. Putting content online is a bit like translating: in the transfer from one language to the other, something is ‘lost in translation’. Additionally, the digital medium flattens time. The great art historian Aby Warburg talked of a Denkraum, that is to say the space of reflection and contemplation with which we should be able to approach a work of art. Our Denkraum is compressed, flattened in a digital world. The work of art is deprived of its aura, its intrinsic ability to move and inspire. Everything becomes flat, including our relationship with the art work.

Are there any positives arising from this crisis? Well, yes! There are conversations and dialogues to be had at this time. Making new friends at the international and European level has become our mantra in this time of social isolation. These encounters are building a novel sense of community, not merely with a view to exchanging initiatives and sharing ideas, but primarily to forging new and, hopefully, long lasting connections that will thrive beyond the end of the current emergency.

Katia Pizzi, Director ICI London


Date: Da Wednesday, May 20, 2020 a Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Entrance : Free