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In-ruins residency 2024

V EDITION

 

NATIONAL MUSEUMS OF MATERA

& METAPONTO ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

9 SEPTEMBER - 13 OCTOBER

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DEADLINE - JULY 7th

2024 JURY

 

Bruno Barsanti & Sofia Schubert

DIRECTOR & PROJECT MANAGER, FONDAZIONE ELPIS

Director of Fondazione Elpis since 2021, Bruno Barsanti has conceived and coordinated exhibitions and editorial projects for art institutions, galleries and fairs in Italy and abroad. As an independent curator he often confronted unconventional exhibition processes and venues, working alongside international artists.

Graduated in Art History and Museology from the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, Sofia Schubert worked as an assistant curator at the Centre Pompidou and managed various exhibitions and projects at Galleria Continua. She is currently the project manager at Fondazione Elpis in Milan, where she oversees exhibition projects and cultural programming. She is the founder and editor of Altremuse, a platform for Art History and a creative agency for cultural institutions. 

Simone Frangi

CURATOR, RESEARCHER AND ART CRITIC

Simone Frangi (PhD in Philosophy, Aesthetics and Art Theory) is a researcher, curator and art critic. Since 2013 he has been co-directing with Barbara Boninsegna Live Works - Free School of Performance at Centrale Fies (Dro, Trento, IT). Since 2014 he has been co-directing with Alessandro Castiglioni “A Natural Oasis?”, a nomadic curatorial training programme in the expanded Mediterranean. Since 2013, he has been Professor of Art Theory and Visual Culture at the ESAD - Grenoble (FR), where he co-founded with Katia Schneller the research unit 'Hospitalité Artistique et Activisme Visuel: pour une Europe diaporique et post-occidentale' (2015 - ongoing). In 2023 he was appointed co-curator of the contemporary art programs at Kunst Meran (Merano, IT) where he currently conducts with Lucrezia Cippitelli the research program “The Invention of Europe - A Tricontinental Narrative” (2023-2027). Recent publications include “Coloniality and Visual Cultures in Italy”, co-edited with Lucrezia Cippitelli (Mimesis, 2021).

Stella Bottai

CO-CURATOR, POMPEII COMMITMENT

& CURATOR AT LARGE, ASPEN ART MUSEUM

Stella Bottai is co-curator of Pompeii Commitment, the long-term contemporary art program of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, and Senior Curator at Large at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado USA.

Niovi-Vasiliki Zarampouka-Chatzimanou 

CURATOR AND CO-DIRECTOR, COUNTERPOINT ARTS

Niovi Zarampouka-Chatzimanou, is an independent curator and co-Director of Counterpoints in Greece. Her work involves socially and politically engaged art projects, participatory and learning practices, primarily on themes like national identity, citizenship, displacement and the policies/politics of public space. As Director of Victoria Square Project she developed the long-term curatorial project “Who is the Contemporary Athenian?”. Prior to this position she worked as Director of Art in the Public Space for Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture and Community Liaison at documenta 14. She has an academic background architecture, cultural management and curatorial practices. Niovi is currently a fellow at the Allianz Foundation.

This year, we will follow routes suggested by ancient geographies rather than by modern cartographies.

For the first time, the residency will take place outside the borders of Calabria to land in Basilicata, which shares with the former ancient histories and modern destinies. In collaboration with the National Museums of Matera - Regional Directorate of National Museums Basilicata, we will explore the National Museums and the Archaeological Park of Metaponto. This area of the Lucanian territory witnessed the rise, expansion, and decline of the great polis of Metaponto. The polis minted its own currency and enjoyed great agricultural and productive autonomy. It hosted Pythagoras’ School, was allied with Pyrrhus against the Romans, received Hannibal and his troops, and was looted by Spartacus and his army of rebels...

The Residency Locations include:

- Matera National Museums (including Museo Archeologico nazionale Domenico Ridola, Museo nazionale d’Arte Medievale e Moderna della Basilicata di Palazzo Lanfranchi, Ex Ospedale di San Rocco)

- Archeological Park of Metaponto 

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Metaponto was one of the most important colonies of Magna GraeciaLocated on the coast of the Gulf of Taranto, in the plain bordered by the Basento and Bradano rivers, the ancient city was built in-between mountains, rivers, and the sea. The settlement was founded by Achaeans around the mid-7th century BC,  sponsored by the Achaean league (Sybaris and Kroton) to hinder the territorial expansion of the rivals Taranto and Siris.

 

The origin of the name is uncertain. According to some, it can be traced back to the ancient hero Metabos, confirming the mythical pre-Achaean foundation by the Pelesgians led by Nestor, who were shipwrecked after the victorious siege of Troy. According to other genealogies, the etymology, related to the geographic positioning of the city, should be emphasized. In this sense, μετά (τόν) πόντον [metá (tón) pónton]  could poetically mean both “city beyond the sea” and, more unlikely, “city between two rivers”.

 

The population of Metaponto likely presented among the highest degrees of ethnic interaction with the indigenous communities present in the territory, already influenced by Greek culture yet bearing strong native traditions. It minted its own currency - a sign of political power and wealth - and had an agricultural sector counting thousands of farms. It is no coincidence that the symbol of the city was a wheat ear, and it is said that a precious “golden harvest” was donated to the sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. Apollo and Hera were indeed the main deities worshiped in the city. One of the monumental structures still visitable on the shores of the Bradano River is the Temple of the Palatine Tables, dedicated to Hera. Passed-down stories tell that Epeius, the mythical builder of the Trojan Horse, was buried here; and, in the same place, Pythagoras established his philosophical school upon his exile from Croton.

 

The city allied with Sybaris in the war that led to the destruction of Siris (around 530 BC) and possibly participated in the subsequent annihilation of Sybaris itself by the Crotoniates (510 BC). Following the weakening of the Achaean alliance in the Ionian Sea, it underwent the rise of Taranto’s power in the following centuries, entering a phase of growing political uncertainty. Metaponto remained autonomous until the full Roman era when it sided with Pyrrhus in the Battle of Heraclea (280 BC). About seventy years later, it hosted Hannibal during the Second Punic War. Once recaptured by the Romans, the defeat was accompanied by the construction by Rome of a castrum on the eastern side of the city, which significantly impacted its urban fabric. Many of its inhabitants were deported. Over a hundred years later, the city witnessed the passage of Spartacus and his army of slaves.

 

These and other stories are recounted by the unique artifacts preserved in the National Museum “Domenico Ridola” Matera, whose collection dates back to Prehistory.

RESEARCH AXES

 

In continuity with the history and stories explored during the 2023 residency at the Archaeological Park of Sibari, the curatorial team of In-ruins - in concert with the Regional Directorate of Museums Basilicata, the National Museums of Matera, and the Archaeological Park of Metaponto - proposes, for the first time, a journey beyond the borders of Calabria to venture into the Lucanian territory. The two regions share not only ancient Magna Graecia geographies but also southern and post-industrial destinies. International artists / researchers are invited to submit research projects or proposals for the production of original works inspired by the following research axes:

 

 

1.   BORDERS IN TIME

Calabria has not always been defined by the borders we know today. Like any land, it underwent countless phases of political and cartographic transformation. Disparate peoples have inhabited, colonized, and sometimes abandoned it. Interestingly, during the times of Magna Graecia, the southern part of the region was called Italy, while the entire Ionian arc belonged to Lucania. Until the 6th century AD, the term Calabria referred to the current Salento area, in Apulia. Only with the establishment of the Duchy of Calabria by the Byzantines was the name Calabria extended to the territory we know today. However, the borders we now cross were not established until 1948. What may the relentless overlapping of borders and cartographic signs over time suggest? Also in light of the terrible developments of the conflict between Israel and Palestine - where the “right to the land” is often discussed in terms of temporal precedence on the territory - what critical tools can arise from recognizing that any sufficiently deep excursion into the past of a territory opens to transcultural and cosmopolitan narratives? 

 

2.   MIGRANT LANDSCAPES

The Mediterranean has always been an incessant route of cultures and peoples. Today, however, the trajectories crossing our sea are unidirectional: from South to North. On a macro level, multitudes move from the farthest territories of the African continent towards the European coasts. Internally, each nation experiences movements dictated by the greater or lesser poverty of a certain area of the country. Despite these movements, travels, and abandonments, our bodies do not let go of the relationship with the landscape that created, nourished, and raised them. The physical presence in a place and the tactile experience of its physicality define and crystallize our identity and sense of belonging. Lanscape architect Marc Treib asserts that it is in funerary burial that the definitive and enduring bond between body and landscape becomes manifest. This bond, hence destined to turn archaeological, does not cease to exist throughout our lives. With our body migrate stories, sensations, gestures, and memories: we are fragments of landscapes left behind. What cultural, historical and muscular heritage is traced by a body without home, heir of minor but present diasporas - such as that characterizing the gap between Southern and Northern Italy? How can bodies and performative practices be carriers and makers of landscapes, generating an affective and contemporary archaeology? 

 

3.   APOIKIA AND DECOLONIZATION

The Greeks used the term apoikia [ἀπ-οικία, “home away from home”] to refer to a newly founded polis created by the settlement of a group of citizens in distant lands, aiming to establish a community entirely independent from the metropolis [μήτηρ + πόλις = “mother city”] of origin. The Greeks carried with them their language, customs, and mythologies, but they did not expand the territorial authority of the motherland and were open to hybridization with the communities they encountered. From this itinerancy and heterogeneity, a civilization tradition was born, and not mere geopolitical dominance. In contrast, modern European colonizations were characterized precisely by the annexation, control, and total exploitation of new lands. The inherent dynamism of ancient Greek apoikia is inspiring in our time of rampant nationalisms. What ideas can we draw from these stories of independence, freedom of movement and traveling communities?

4.   HELEN’S EGG

In the summer of 1986, the Archaeological Superintendency of Basilicata acquired a tomb assemblage of exceptional interest roughly dated 5th century BC, which was accidentally discovered during agricultural work in the countryside of Pisticci. Among the artifacts, a small sculpture depicting an egg from which a female figure emerges; and an anthropomorphic pendant with two faces representing a male and a female figure, stand out. There are no direct comparisons with these sculptures. The first is a representation of the mythical birth of Helen (of Troy or Sparta) from the egg resulting from the union of Zeus, transformed into a swan, and the goddess Nemesis. According to this version of the myth, Leda - Helen’s human mother - found the egg and took care of it until the surprising hatching, which occurred on the still-warm ashes of a sacrificial altar. There are no clear interpretations of the second amulet, but it is plausible to seek its meaning in a philosophical-religious conception of the unity of opposites and in a rare representation of Phanes [Light], the primordial deity of Orphic cosmogony, also born from an egg laid by Chronos [Time] and Ananke [Necessity]. The sculptures may suggest that, at the end of the 5th century, forms of mystic spirituality specific to the female sphere had developed in Metaponto, leading to the birth of actual thiasoi: associations of women, the most famous of which was the ϑίασος of the poetess Sappho in Lesbos. Inspired by these unique artifacts, is it possible to reinterpret the egg— a fertile entity containing both genders— and the myth of Helen— divine, victim, guilty— as symbols and metaphors for current gender claims?

 

 

5.  ARCHAEOZOOLOGY OF THE PRESENT

About one and a half million years ago, the Murgian plateau was entirely submerged by water and inhabited by marine creatures. At that time, Apulia was an archipelago of islands, and a channel up to 600 meters deep connected the current Ionian Sea with the Adriatic Sea. The “Juliana Whale” is from Pleistocene: the epoch during which human beings evolved into their current form. Its remains were discovered in 2006 by a farmer on the shores of the San Giuliano Dam. It is the largest whale fossil ever described. The whale has been the subject of a long and complex recovery effort, and the Domenico Ridola National Archaeological Museum, part of the National Museums of Matera, hosts an entire section dedicated to it. Reconstructing the relationship between humans, animals, and nature in such distant times requires cinematic efforts. Zooarchaeology is the discipline that studies the evolution of these relationships, which are marked today by intensive farming, habitat destruction, and extinctions. What evidence, then, would the perspective of an “archaeozoology of the present” make tangible? What tools can this field of study provide to re-establish our relationship with the world?

 

 

6. INDUSTRIAL DREAMS AND MODERN RUINS

Basilicata is not only tied to ancient histories. The Region was at the center of intense political and labor debates in the 1970s, a period of radical industrialization in Italy. The fate of the “ANIC” chemical plant in Pisticci is an important example of this phase of the country’s history. The industry dramatically transformed the rural and agricultural nature of the local society, eventually employing over 3,000 workers who were housed in a dedicated residential “village.” Farmers, who had seen a more equitable redistribution of land following the Agrarian Reform, rushed to this new opportunity for a stable employment. However, the plant closed its doors in 1984, and the failure of this industrialization project left the areas it covered in a deep state of abandonment accompanied by severe environmental crises. The “ANIC Village” in Pisticci Scalo still exists, bearing the marks of decay inherited from this industrial dream. What kind of archaeology, then, for ruins which are not ancient but modern? Can the artist become an interpreter of dreams whose tragic consequences we still face and live with today?

 

in collaboration with

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partner istituzionali | institutional partners

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research partners 

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HOW TO APPLY

 

 

Applications must be submitted by filling a Google Form available via the following link.

Please send a single PDF file (max 10 mb) containing:

- CV (max 3 pages)

- PORTFOLIO (min 5 - max 20 images of previous projects or research)

- RESIDENCY PROJECT PROPOSAL (500 words max + accompanying images/sketches if neeed)

 

Please note that the project proposal is tentative and can be edited and transformed over the residency.

If you are already aware of materials required for your practice, please do mention these in the application.

 

The PDF must be titled in capital letters as follows: SURNAME_NAME_INRUINS2024

 

If you encounter any issues with the submission of your application do not hesitate to contact us on: info@inruins.org

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