Interpreting the smart and sustainable city of the future
With Cherimus’ artists Simone Berti, Derek Di Fabio, Isa Griese, Isamit Morales, Andrea Rossi, Matteo Rubbi, Emiliana Sabiu and Carlo Spiga
Conversation transcription below
Giulia Macchiarella: Emiliana, can you tell us something about Cherimus, how it was born and how it works?
Emiliana Sabiu: The Cherimus association was established in 2007 in Sardinia (Italy). It includes several artists as well as people not connected with the art world. Together, we are trying to use contemporary art to establish a contact with the several figures that are part of society. We are trying to understand how we can use art to participate in the life of the village of Perdaxius (editor’s note: in the provinces of Carbonia-Iglesias ,Sardinia), where Cherimus has its headquarters, and we use the same approach also when operating in other contexts.
GM: Could you introduce us to the final event of the Savona Campus Be Sm/ART project?
ES: The final event is a synthesis of everything we did up to now.
During the three-week workshop in the Campus, we involved the children pupils of the acting company Cattivi Maestri, the engineering students and the Campus’ several groups and projects, such as the Web radio and the Youngsters for Science. We wanted to involve all these groups of people, including the professors, and we identified with them the different ways they contribute to the project. The workshops with the students brought about the idea of creating a sustainable sculpture, as the whole theme of the Campus is focused on sustainability. It’s going to be a sculpture that is illuminated by means of pedal-produced energy. The theme of sustainability was also shared in the workshops with the kids: we wanted to leave a sign of our presence on the Campus and we wanted to figure out with them something to create that would have made sense. This is how the idea of creating this giant thirty — intended as a grade — came about, obviously illuminated by pedal-produced energy. It has a logic of its own in this Campus. The Youngsters for Science’s presence will be marked out by a sustainable performance: they’ll be illuminating some objects with a Tesla Coil.
The dancers called in by a girl student will also be taking part in the event. It‘s going to be a choral experience in which we are hoping to convey our presence on Campus to the public.
GM: So, what were the strong points of this project?
ES: The chance to create a pleasant atmosphere on Campus and the fact that the engineering students could take part not merely as such, but also as dance, rhythm gymnastics or music enthusiasts.
During the final event, a professor will also be playing guitar with the students. This is rather unpredictable and it shows participation. I believe the best thing was actually the collective participation that was established, as well as the fact that the whole project had to be continually questioned to find solutions that could be shared among this Campus’ several groups and entities. The project therefore continued to change on a daily basis. It was tiring, but also very interesting.
Giulia Macchiarella: How did the art research project fall into your research? And which were the project’s winning points and weak points, according to you?
Renato Procopio: One day, Federico Delfino, the Campus manager, got in touch with me to tell me about Tiziana Casapietra’s idea to try and express from an artistic standpoint the concepts we are trying to develop from a didactic and research viewpoint, with the goal of finding another language to express and communicate our work.
As the group’s musician and therefore the one most likely to be more connected with these issues, I was offered to coordinate the interactions between artists and engineers within the project.
This created a synergy that involved several kindred spirits.
Looking for partners was neither fast nor trivial, because we had to go through a rather long casting process to find the final team. Eventually, we built a team that simultaneously included both professors and students from the Campus, the artist group — Cherimus — and the Cattivi Maestri group, the latter bringing the children.
The children were actually the heart and soul of the project, the ones who found the ideas that gave birth to everything else.
I was surprised when Tiziana mentioned the concept of contemporary art as a vehicle of integration for the different souls. I thought the goal of art was to create something nice to see. But I shouldn’t have been surprised, because, as a musician, I know that contemporary music is not about creating something nice. The project helped me to enter this mechanism in which what the artists thought was actually very different from what I was imagining. The strong point was to communicate to us a concept and an idea that were rather different from what we expected, and this required an integration-oriented approach.
The difference between the several souls of the project was apparent not so much in the contents, because we agreed them rather easily, but in the organization’s forma mentis.
We have a rather rigorous method, therefore, if I have to develop a project, first of all I define the team, the budget and the people, then I assign the tasks; each member carries out its work and we meet periodically. The artist’s approach was definitely different, so we were often asking ourselves what would have happened.
In this sense, at a certain point I started to feel that we weren’t getting anywhere, so I turned to the engineer’s tools not from a technical standpoint but an organizational one. I organized a global meeting of all the members of the team to discuss and decide what we would have done. I realize that it’s a strongly procedural approach, but it works.
Giulia Macchiarella: To what extent were you and the Youngsters for Science involved in the Be Sm/ART project?
Bianca Ferrari: The Youngsters for Science have been on the Savona Campus for years. Emiliana Sabiu came to see us and the artists watched our workshops and saw the many kids that spontaneously come every Friday to discuss and build science. They were surprised and defined our world as an upside down world. Nobody believes kids can be passionate about physics or even find mathematics exciting. In the creation process, art and science are rather close: both drive the desire for knowledge and creation in mankind.
Giulia Macchiarella: Could tell us about your relationship with Cherimus?
Matteo Rubbi: My relationship with Cherimus began during my academic experience, therefore while our personal path was being developed and identified. That was when I made contact with Emiliana and took the opportunity to be a part of an experience whose final destination I had no idea of. Cherimus is characterized by a sort of in-progress planning of work, of the process itself. Letting the path you are walking on guide you is a key to my personal work and that of Cherimus.
Giulia Macchiarella: Please introduce your work.
Carlo Spiga: I more or less agree with what Matteo said. Work is carried out chorally within Cherimus, trying to tune in with any context we find ourselves working in. Personally, I’m more interested in the objects and the small attentions human beings show to materials. I also work with music and performances. I’m interested in the so-called archaic chorality. I’m interested in these settings, but the modes are — as is always the case — to try to tune in as much a possible with a context and create a work that at least makes sense in the environment in which I will be operating.
GM: How were you involved in the Be Sm/ART project and what was your contribution?
CS: I was called to take part in this project as one of Cherimus‘ internal organs: if Cherimus coughs, I feel it. With Emiliana and Matteo, we started talking with people, we tuned in with the context and we established relationships and tried to develop a proposal that was calibrated as possible. We met fantastic people, starting from the Youngsters for Science or, outside the Campus, the Cattivi Maestri. We carried out a texture work.
Giulia Macchiarella: Can you tell us about your relationship with Cherimus?
Simone Berti: I have worked several times with Cherimus, both in Sardinia and in Lombardy, on projects connected with schools and libraries that involved the presence of visual arts, music and arts in general.
GM: What was your contribution to this project?
SB: We thought of creating abstract and luminous sculptures that would be the setting for the interventions of a group of dancers and performers. The energy required to illuminate the sculptures will be produced by bicycles. The bicycles will be transformed into exercise bikes using dynamos to supply the energy required to illuminate this setting, created with ultra-light materials such a semi-clear plastic shells.
Giulia Macchiarella: Can you tell us about your relationship with Cherimus and how you were involved in the project?
Daniella Andrea Isamit Morales: In this occasion, Emiliana had briefly told me what the project was about and I was intrigued. I had never worked on a projection of the future. I believed scientific work was about feasibility and invention, and my interest was rising. In the beginning I actually didn’t know what my contribution would have been. This always happens with Cherimus, there never is an authorship. There’s a project and we all strive to bring it forward.
Giulia Macchiarella: Can you tell us about your involvement and the involvement of Cattivi Maestri in the Cherimus project?
Francesca Giacardi: We met Emiliana and Matteo when they came to the Officine Solimano (editor’s note: in Savona), where our headquarters are. They came while we were actually holding a workshop with the children, and they found the work we were doing with them and their comments very interesting. The involvement of Cattivi Maestri from a theatrical standpoint came about starting exactly from our relationship with those children. They really liked to imagine something they could actually see created. And there is indeed a lot of anticipation for the final event. Basically, this was how we were involved in the project’s initial phase. In the second part, we actually contributed with our acting capabilities. Maria Teresa Giacchetta and I intervened on Campus with unexpected raids in the several halls enacting scenes written by Iacopo Marchisio, which were ironically addressing issues connected with energy savings and the ethical consumption of energy. The professors were sometimes dismayed, other times glad to enjoy them and take part in the action, just like the students.
Giulia Macchiarella: How was Campuswave involved?
Mattia Salvatico: The Campuswave radio followed the Cherimus event that took place on Thursday the 19th of November at the Savona University Campus.
The actors broke into the lessons, interrupting them and explaining the sustainable energy project by means of comic sketches. Around 11:00 am in the Campus library and at 01:00 pm in front of the canteen, a flash mob took place to interact with the students. We covered for our listeners all the actions scheduled by Cherimus through the whole morning with a live radio broadcast.
English translation: Fulvio Giglio