Artquake - rebuilding places, rebuilding identities
The dramatic earthquakes that devastated the eastern side of Central Italy during 2016, drew the attention of the international scientific community to a word used above all in specialist fields: resilience. Its original meaning refers to a physical property – the resistance shown by a material undergoing dynamic deformation testing. But in the psychological sphere, resilience also identifies the capacity of an individual (or a community), to react positively to a traumatic event. This is no easy task in the case of a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake, given that, in the course of a few short seconds, people can witness immense loss: both in artistic and architectural terms, with the damage caused to monuments and buildings, and in economic and social terms, as factory production and tourism grind to a halt. All that is left to do is to wait. It is an inevitably long wait, determined by technical considerations and procedures, and by a reconstruction process organized primarily around the needs of the professionals involved, but which could, instead, be elevated to become an opportunity for artistic experimentation, as occurred in the past, with the preparation of temporary architecture, installed to celebrate weddings or military triumphs. Because, after an earthquake, we should not simply rebuild places, we should also, and perhaps above all, rebuild identities.
This is the sense of the research project ARTQUAKE, promoted by the University of Perugia’s Design degree course, synergically with the school of artistic design for business at the “Pietro Vannucci” fine arts academy in Perugia, and aimed at maieutically ascribing new meaning to the three invariants of the post-seismic landscape: ruins, rubble and temporary works. Rather like the approach taken by the Japanese art of kintsugi, where the fragments of broken ceramics, even the most insignificant, are recomposed and elevated to the status of a work of art thanks to the use of gold in the repair work, so as to highlight the lines of the breakage instead of hiding them. A way to safely carry memories and hopes through a moment of crisis and on into the future.
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