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Filippo Berta. One by One. Online talks series

26 January 2021

Still image from the video presentation of Filippo Berta's project One by One

Curated by Giorgia Calò and Francesca Ceccherini

Every Thursday, from February 4 to March 25, 2021 at 6pm
on the Instagram page of Nomas Foundation

In this era of globalisation in which communication has no frontier nor barrier and connects every corner of the globe, one comes head to head with a completely opposed phenomenon: the construction of physical walls and barriers that divide countries, cultures and identities.
The Berlin Wall fell on the 9 November 1989, on the 3 October 1990 the two Germanies were united, and the 26 December 1991 marked the end of the dissolution of the USSR. In the space of two years, Europe changed its physiognomy completely, with effects that are still being witnessed today. If on the one hand these events embodied the defeat of the Soviet régime in favour of a Western and capitalist oriented process of democratisation, they symbolically failed to represent the dismantlement of walls dividing the world, nor prevented many other barriers and confines being raised and that physically divide many sovereign states today.
One by One is a project by Filippo Berta born with the precise intention to denounce through artistic acts those barriers, raised or implemented in the last few years. Berta starts from Europe (Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Turkey, North Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria) to reach North America (United States and Mexico), and finally Asia (South Korea) by creating a series of video recordings of people living in areas separated by such barriers. He asks these people to count the number of barbs used in each barbed wire barrier in their own language; a Utopian task and impossible to answer precisely but which initiates a participative performance through a series of pressing topics that merit reflection today more than ever. Firstly, the logic of confinement and the crisis of democracy, with the consequential resurgence of hate, intolerance, and discrimination.
When considering the map of the world where we live today with its continually shifting political, social and environmental equilibria, our capacity of critical discernment is ensnared without truly comprehending the identity of those on one or the other side of these barriers. Walls are not only geographical but also mental and cognitive entities, as if the Berlin Wall had never been demolished thirty years before but still exists today and manifest in many obstacles that represent veritable frontiers expressed through thoughts, homes, existences and embodied in the words of different people, in their existential trajectories, and in their interventions in the territory. In the meantime, Europe is transformed into “what surrounds its borders”; a fortress upheld by xenophobic and supremist sentiments, a betrayal of constitutions that should govern its single states and yet disregard their values. Thus the barbed wire becomes the narrator of these borders by its dramatic transformation into a symbol common to all and everyone.
The strength of Filippo Berta's work is in his vision filtered through the video camera which reveals the souls of the inhabitants of these regions or even people merely passing through; it conjugates narrative and social reflection to present us with a poetical yet problematic vision of global political transformation. The artist has taken ownership of the sentiments and stories that he encounters to present us with a biopolitical work in which art and existence are almost indistinguishable in his inquiry into the possible destitution of identity, the impoverishment of values fueled by words such as “progress” and “welcome”, and lastly on a cultural decline that takes up arms under the banner of censorship. Thus, the issue of immigration is united with a reflection on the role of images in the story of our existence and those interstices created between geographical spaces and human spaces.

Waiting for One by One by Filippo Berta exhibition, that will open next spring, Nomas Foundation hosts One by One talks curated by Giorgia Calò and Francesca Ceccherini on its page IG. From Thursday 4 February to 25 March, some thinkers, researchers, writers, philosophers and curators will be invited every week at 6.00 pm to reflect on the key topics of One by One: borders, migration and identity. The goal of One by One Talks is to discuss these issues, reflecting on Europe and its identity, both on flows of migration and new forms of power. Moreover, the talks intend to deepen the phenomena of populism and sovereignty that threaten our democracies, the meaning of state of law and the hope in a future of possible integration. Finally, we wish to solicit a reflection on the epidemiological crisis that has started on global scale since last year, forcing the countries to close themselves within their borders, changing relations between states and asking new questions on whose answers the definition of the new international structure depends.

One by One is a project by Filippo Berta, supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism under the Italian Council program (2019), with the scientific direction of Nomas Foundation and Sapienza University of Rome, in collaboration with Tools for Culture. The work One by One will enter the public collection of GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea of Bergamo.

Partners: CZKD Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade (Serbia) | Galeria Miejska - City Gallery of Gdansk (Poland) | hase29 Kunstvarein, Osnabruck (Germany) | Italian Cultural Institute, Tirana (Albania) | Italian Cultural Institute, Brussels (Belgium) | Italian Cultural Institute, Seoul (South Korea) | MigrationsMuseum, Zurich (Switzerland) | MSU, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (Croatia) | The Art Foundation, Athens (Greece) | Academy of Fine Arts G. Carrara, Bergamo (Italy) | Contemporary Locus, Bergamo (Italy) | IED, European Institute of Design, Venice (Italy) | Mamiani State High School, Rome (Italy) | Mediterraneo Sicilia Europa, Noto (Italy) | NABA, New Academy of Fine Arts, Milan (Italy) | Palazzo Monti, Brescia (Italy)


February 4: Lorenzo Giusti, Director of GAMeC - Galleria d'arte moderna e contemporanea di Bergamo. In conversation with Francesca Ceccherini

February 11: Eleonora Stassi, Director of MigrationsMuseum di Zurigo and pedagogue. In conversation with Francesca Ceccherini

February 18: Silvana Greco, Professor of Sociology of Culture and Judaism at the Freie Universität di Berlino. In conversation with Giorgia Calò

February 25: Eugenio Viola, Chief Curator MAMBO - Museo di arte moderna di Bogotà. In conversation with Giorgia Calò

March 4: Francesco De Renzo, Professor of Didactics of Modern Languages at the Department Istituto Italiano di Studi Orientali of Sapienza University of Rome. In conversation with Giorgia Calò

March 11: Stefano Velotti, Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy of  Sapienza University of Rome and Coordinator of the PhD program in Philosophy. In conversation with Francesca Ceccherini

March 18: Claudia Löffelholz, Head of the School in Advanced Studies of Fondazione Modena Arti Visive. In conversation with Francesca Ceccherini

March 25: Piero Zanini, Researcher at the Laboratoire Architecture Anthropologie of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture di Paris-la-Villette. In conversation with Giorgia Calò