MONTEDELLARTE 2017

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MONTEDELLARTE is the umbrella title for a project consisting of four parts: a performance, an interactive installation, an exhibition and a publication.

MONTEDELLARTE will be realised in 2017 and is a co-production with the Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto (I), Erasmus University College Brussels (B) and Publishing Viaindustriae (IT).

MONTEDELLARTE provides a contemporary response to our connection with the landscape and forges a link with the cultural and historical issues concerning the relationship between nature and culture. The landscape is seen as a set of contour lines that are, quite literally, given shape.

MONTEDELLARTE examines the relationship of the individual to the landscape and questions the correlation between perception and reality.

MONTEDELLARTE is about the small and the great, the individual and a group, visibility and invisibility, an attempt towards objectification and the failures thereof, control versus the loss of control, chaos and order, nature and culture.

CONCRETE PLAN

In 2012, the performance The Map is not the Territory was realised in Woubrechtegem in cooperation with the non-profit organisation Arpia (Art and Landscape) and the municipality of Herzele, Belgium. By allowing a group of 200 hikers to walk along a contour line in the Flemish Ardennes, a physical map was drawn in the landscape.

This performance will now be conducted on a larger scale in the Italian Prealps on 1 October 2017, at the invitation of Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto near Biella.

The performance is preceded by a two-phase residency. During these extended visits (June - July and September - October 2017) the preparatory work for the walk will be undertaken.

There will be ‘actual’ walkers and ‘virtual’ walkers.

CONTENT: key aspects

It is as though Meaning, which for centuries was linked to an ideal of permanence, solid and complete, had gone out in search of a new habitat, dissolving into a form that is mostly movement, extended structure, journey.’

Alessandro Baricco, The Barbarians. An Essay on the Mutation of Culture.

The map is not the territory. Originally coined by the Polish-American philosopher Alfred Korzybsky (1879-1950), this term subsequently came to widespread attention via a similarly titled novel by Michel Houellebecq [The Map and the Territory, 2010]

My own work, The Map is not the Territory, is about the fact that people sometimes confuse the representation of reality with reality itself. The mapping of a territory, therefore, does not constitute the actual territory. Despite our best efforts to control the world around us, we often fail. Perception does not always coincide with reality.

MONTEDELLARTE questions the correlation between perception and reality. Today, it is perfectly possible to see the world through the virtual eyes of Google maps. At the same time, the experience of a global and immense space gives rise to the need for a smaller scale. MONTEDELLARTE is about the small and the great, the individual and a group, visibility and invisibility, an attempt at objectification and its failure, control versus the loss of control, chaos and order, nature and culture.

MONTEDELLARTE extends the line that was drawn in The Map is not the Territory. This time, however, we go higher, further and deeper.

The performance MONTEDELLARTE is an attempt to draw a living map in the landscape. Will the line that arises be perfectly proportioned? Who decides where we go? Or do we decide for ourselves? Do we walk in groups? Like a herd of animals, a shoal of fish or a swarm of bees? And how do we deal with people who don’t cooperate?

In Barbarians, Baricco describes the influence of the virtual world and our fear of losing control: ‘We see the looting but we fail to see the invasion. And, therefore, we do not to understand it. Believe me: you would have to look at it from above.’

MONTEDELLARTE examines our contemporary relationship with the landscape and forges a link with the cultural and historical issues surrounding the relationship between nature and culture.

The landscape is viewed as a set of contours which are, quite literally, designed. The contour forms the framework within which the individual finds a foothold. An invisible contour line in the landscape – a natural, geographical fact – is made visible. It is explored using the most sophisticated equipment, and is measured and marked. This produces scientific data. The aim is to achieve absolute accuracy, yet it remains a human undertaking.

The audience participates. The walkers set off. The proliferation of individuals in the landscape is akin to a flock of birds, a shoal of fish or a herd of animals. This group is directed: the artist’s management of the group, and the dynamic that this fosters, is created both before and during the walk.

The hike is the product of convincing people to walk.

The layered nature of the MONTEDELLARTE interactive installation, is based on the science of gamification and draws positively on the eight basic pillars of human motivation (as identified by Yu-Kai-Chou).

The connections are forged by the literal presence of these ‘virtual realities’ on smartphones. Everyone seems to be (or is) interconnected with everyone else. Every possible tool and all contemporary methods that might help establish dynamic networks will be tried and tested.

Text Els Vermeersch