Giacomo Ardesio & Harikleia Karamali
The investigations of the AA Museum Lab on the role of museums and cultural institutions, their paradoxes and transformations, is carried forward this academic year focussing on the Mediterranean and its epicentre: Palermo.
The fragmented nature of the Sicilian city – century-long catalyst of exchange between civilizations; destination of enlightened Grand Tour travellers; target of severe bombing during WWII; site of governance experimentation between the ‘50s-‘90s with the infamous “quadrangle of powers of politics, mafia, religion, aristocracy”; terminus of multiple waves of immigration; and, contemporary laboratory of global conditions – was chosen as 2018 “Italian Capital for Culture” by the Italian State, as venue for the nomadic Art Biennale “Manifesta”, and, finally, as site for our unit project.
Aiming to reveal unknown practices of cultural production in the city and in the sites of origin/destination of its fluctuating and (at times) temporary population, the students are invited to develop their thesis project based on independent research and to articulate their findings though an expanding collection of work-books critically edited, designed and produced. Ultimately formatted in provocative media of choice, the individual projects will be presented in Palermo in form of a collective exhibition – an official Collateral Event of Manifesta.
Developed in close collaboration with the Technical Studies team, the design and construction of such exhibition, the choice of the venue and the analysis/manipulation of its architectural substance, will be developed collaboratively as a live project of the Dip 15 “office”.
Innumerable abandoned and unfinished architectures that punctuate the urban landscape of Palermo – testimony of destruction, corruption and speculation – will be visited during the unit trip to Sicily to collectively choose the site of our curatorial intervention.
As in previous years, the unit programme will be enriched by numerous specialised visits and seminars. External collaborators will be invited to host regular workshops and access the unit Blog (dip15.aaschool.ac.uk) to retain a close dialogue with the students throughout the year.