Lungomare Residency 2021: Binta Diaw
The artist Binta Diaw has been developing a site-specific artistic work for Bolzano since April 2021. Binta Diaw (Milan, 1995) is an Italian-Senegalese visual artist. In her installations, she investigates social phenomena such as migration and identity politics, which are inextricably linked to Europe’s colonial history. In the process, she questions the transmission and meaning of cultural heritage. Her artistic work is strongly influenced by intersectional, afro-diasporic and feminist practices and reflects her personal experiences as a Black woman in a largely white Western context.
Binta Diaw studied in Milan and Grenoble. Her work has been shown at Villa Romana (Florence), Galleria Giampaolo Abbondio (Milan), Biennale dei Giovani Artisti dell’Europa e del Mediterraneo, Museo MA*GA (Gallerate) and Fondazione Sandretto Re Re-baudengo (Turin). She has been Artist in Residence at Savvy Contemporary (Berlin) and Viafarini (Milan).
A project by Lungomare
During the Lungomare Residency 2021, the artist Binta Diaw conceived a project based on a series of participatory actions. The actions, understood as Collective Practices, involve people with whom to generate new critical forms of “experiencing and witnessing” the local territory.
The main inspiration for the project is the text “Südtirol ABC Sudtirolo” by Alexander Langer. The text is based on a list of key words which the author thought of as “a language” to be able to narrate and describe the past and the reality of South Tyrol at his time. Despite the incompleteness of the work, the open form and contemporary nature of some of the terms have prompted the artist to re-propose them in a different way in order to reflect on and question the current territory of South Tyrol. The various collective practices, having been deliberately documented through audio, video and photos, will be the material through which the artist will devote himself to writing a new, choral and contemporary primer.
– The Land of Our Birth Is a Woman –
“If we want to create new forms of feminism, we need intergenerational solidarity, but above all we need to maintain the quality of relationships between those who were, those who are and those who will be”.
Alex Martinis Roe, in To become two
The first collective practice, called “The Land of Our Birth Is a Woman”, presented itself as a space of care, transmission and listening for women with a migrant background, residing in different South Tyrolean cities.
The meeting included the drafting and realisation of a collective patchwork, sewn by several hands.
Why a patchwork?
Textiles and sewing are vital and cultural elements that unite all communities around the world. Sewing is an ancestral practice of transmission that often involves women. The symbolism behind the act of joining different pieces of fabric, one with the other, is the foundation of the first collective practice, that is, uniting women from different communities and invisible.
The intention of this moment is to raise awareness and discuss the figure of the body of marginalised women, de-constructing the multiple stereotypical representations that support certain lines of thought.
Among the various objectives of this practice, we see “raising awareness” and “questioning” the perception and the multiple stereotypical, patriarchal and Eurocentric representations of women’s bodies.
The objectives of collective practice I:
– Local inclusiveness, as a vision that goes beyond gender, geographical and identity boundaries
– Sense of community, integrity and empathy
– Create safe, sensitive spaces based on courage, collaboration and horizontality
– Using the universality of Art
Key words from ABC South Tyrol:
– Taking sides
– Foreign body
– We are Potluck –
The meeting included a collective dinner, cooked by several hands and several ingredients. Why the choice to base the whole evening on food? Ingredients and cooking practice are vital and cultural elements that unite all communities around the world. The potluck is a communal meal in which all guests actively participate. Originally, potlucks were meals created in religious and non-religious communities to emphasise the importance of sharing.
The objectives of Collective practice II:
– Local inclusiveness, as a vision that goes beyond gender, geographical and identity boundaries through cooking
– Sense of community
– Creating fluid, sensitive spaces based on courage, collaboration and horizontality
– Dialogue and confrontation through one’s own experiences
– Using the universality of art and food
Key words from the ABC South Tyrol:
– (right of) home/living
– Living Young, Wild and Free –
The Collective Practice III Living Young, Wild and Free opened up a space for the exchange about the living experience of the second-generation youth in South Tyrol. For one evening, in the TILT youth center in Merano, key words from the „Südtirol ABC Sudtirolo“ were reflected upon in relation with their own biographies. Afterwards, these reflections were written down and read aloud collectively.
All participants in the collective practices were invited to fill out a questionnaire in advance, which the artist Binta Diaw had formulated based on keywords from the “Südtriol ABC Sudtirolo” by Alexander Langer. In the exhibition, visitors can work on one of these questionnaires themselves. The thoughts and suggestions will be part of the publication planned for 2022 on the project “Collective Practices: A Living Experience of Feeling Listened”.
Collective Practices: A Living Experience of Feeling Listened
Opening: 11.11.2021 at 19:00 with the artist Binta Diaw and the curators
Breakfast with the artist: 13.11.2021, 10:00 to 13:00
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 14:00 to 18:00, and by appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org
Foreign elements, domicile (rights), showing your colours, ethnic, mixed, prejudiced — many of the words and phrases from the Südtirol ABC Sudtirolo, an unfinished fragment from the late 1980s by politician and activist Alexander Langer, are still as relevant as ever to contemporary debates about culture, identity and living together.
Binta Diaw has selected certain terms from this document of contemporary history in order to re-examine them in light of current socio-political issues. Three collective practices produce new readings and cross-references that allow us to reflect on and rethink the concept of community for our post-migration society. The artist has consciously chosen to open up intermediate spaces without predetermined roles, identities or dynamics, places where interactions can happen. The installation “Collective Practices: A Living Experience of Feeling Listened” translates the collective acts of narrating and listening, sewing, cooking and writing into a multimedia artistic landscape that attempts to construct new frames of reference and to collectively define their parameters. The exhibition negotiates cultural identification, social participation as well as the democratic constitution of the region.
As anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing has argued, we are no longer in a position to relate to stable communal structures; we exist within shifting frameworks that change us and those we come into contact with. In this precarious state, unexpected encounters can be transformative. In this sense Binta Diaw’s collective practices are proposals for living together. They are temporary spaces set up in opposition to a world that reproduces singular power dynamics, spaces that promote difference and where the dichotomy between familiar and foreign can be elaborated and overcome.
Alexander Langer’s key terms – from fear and violence through opposition and survival – reach right down to the present and are re-animated in Binta Diaw’s collective practices, which put them in the service of a society that goes beyond narrow definitions of nationality, ethnicity and culture. Journalist Simone Zoppellaro has given a good description of what Alexander Langer’s texts and ideas can do for us now, in the year 2021: they compel us “to question our limited view of the world, to overcome our boundaries, our hesitancy and our unwitting complicity.” Ultimately they are a call to action. In the works created during her residency at Lungomare, Binta Diaw has taken up these challenges and imagined collective visions of how living together in future might look.
What´s onEXHIBITION :: Binta Diaw :: Collective Practices – A Living Experience of Feeling Listened
Lungomare, a cultural association founded in Bolzano in 2003, was created from the desire and necessity to open a space in which to share differences, experiences, opinions and desires, a space in which to make the link between cultural production and the political and social dimension. Lungomare undertakes projects that investigate and test possible relationships between design, architecture, urban planning, art and theory, the results of which are presented in different formats: public discussions, conferences, publications, exhibitions and interventions in public spaces. All these formats are characterised by the intention to interact with cultural and socio-political processes relating to the region in which Lungomare is located.
Currently Lungomare’s activities focus on long-term residency projects, a format whereby Lungomare invites guests to engage and interact within the context of South Tyrol. Lungomare’s activities are based on three principles: specific attention to the context in which the association’s projects are undertaken, the transdisciplinary approach that distinguishes these projects, and reflection on the role of Lungomare as a cultural institution in connection with the region in which it operates.
2003 Angelika Burtscher and Daniele Lupo establish Lungomare
2003 – 2005 curators: Patrizia Bertolini, Angelika Burtscher, Roberto Gigliotti, Manuela Demattio, Paul Peter Hofer, Brita Köhler, Daniele Lupo
2005 – 2013 curators: Angelika Burtscher e Daniele Lupo
2011 – 2013 scientific committee established: Angelika Burtscher, Roberto Gigliotti, Daniele Lupo, Vincenzo Mancuso, Lisa Mazza, Paolo Plotegher, Heimo Prünster
2014 − 2020 curators: Angelika Burtscher, Roberto Gigliotti, Daniele Lupo, Lisa Mazza, Paolo Plotegher
2021 artistic directors: Angelika Burtscher, Daniele Lupo
Production and organisation: Ada Keller
Lungomare is located at the edge of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, and relates to the context in which it operates, attempting to highlight the dynamics of change. Large urbanized areas alternate with broad areas of intensive cultivation and yet others of picturesque landscape, all of which penetrate the centre of the city. The city is surrounded by mountains and this is one of the reasons why the tourism industry has become a driving force in this locality. The demographic structure of the city has been characterized for a long time by the coexistence of two populations, those speaking German and those speaking Italian. However, the social and demographic composition of Alto Adige Südtirol is changing. Migrants, including those from non-European countries are making their way to the area to settle, whilst others, including political refugees, are flowing through the region.