Thauma - Atlas of Gesture, the third I-DEA exhibition by Virgilio Sieni
Between art and dance, the third I-DEA Thauma - Atlas of Gesture exhibition, from 13 September to 7 October, was a heartfelt search for lost gestures. A journey that started from the study and exploration of materials from the archives of Basilicata and other Italian regions to create another archive of the gesture through exhibitions, installations, practices, choreographic actions, performances and special projects. Virgilio Sieni, former director of the Venice Biennial Dance Sector from 2013 to 2016, is one of the most iconic dancers and choreographers on the European scene, and he was the curator behind this extraordinary exhibition for the first time. In Cava Paradiso, Thauma -Atlas of Gesture hosted a series of tables on the exploration of the body in search of the disappeared gestures that contained drawings, photographs, annotations, sequences,objects, videos and maps. A real atlas of gestures was enriched every day with research materials in the field, becoming a study platform and a permanent research and creation workshop, in a participatory process that actively involved citizens. The set-up, the pulsating and living body of the project in constant evolution, has retained some elements of Studio Formafantasma's previous exhibition, as always happens in the transition from one exhibition to another within the I-DEA project. A rich programme of performances, actions and practices on the gesture accompanied the exhibition throughout the month of September. On the occasion of the inauguration on 12 September, we attended 'Domestic Dances' accompanied by live music performed by Roberto Cecchetto on guitar: dances created with some citizens previously met in their homes by Virgilio Sieni and his team, who collected gestures and objects to transform them into choreographic installations created starting from ritual gestures and recovered objects.
From 11 to 16 September there was a Workshop to build wooden sprites and elves for children between 6 and 11 years old, conducted by Viola Tortoli Bartoli, and inspired by the tradition of characters from Lucan folklore. The programme of choreographed actions continued on 13 September with the 'Dances toward off the evil eye', which the Compagnia Virgilio Sieni (with live music performed by Michele Rabbia on percussion) presented as installations on tuff pedestals, on 15 September with Agorà Mothers and Children, duo dances performed by mothers and their children, the result of a creative process carried out with Sieni, and live music by Roberto Cecchetto on guitar, on 19 and 22 September with the Frontier Dances, on the disappeared gestures, interpreted by citizens and born of a process of immersion in the nature of the gesture. Between 23 and 28 September, Officina Tattile breathed new life into the Quaroni Theatre in Borgo La Martella, the space designed by Ludovico Quaroni at the request of Adriano Olivetti for the great utopian urban intervention conducted in the 1950s by the entrepreneur, who brought together architecture, enterprise and attention to the community.
Performances, workshops and dialogues alternated in this wonderful space given back to the whole community for a week. The programme was completed, still within the Theatre and the Spazio Tattile workshops, in collaboration with the visually impaired dancer Giuseppe Comuniello (with whom they will also produce the short work Blind Dance), with the performance 'In front of the eyes of others' with Virgilio Sieni. Finally, on 28 September there was the 'Communal Dance', where Sieni led a final collective dance open to all, citizens, dancers and performers of all ages and
backgrounds, created on the spot basic instructions on the simple gestures that form us as individuals: a sequence of movements freely performed according to one's abilities, creating a series of repetitions. A project accompanied by musicians Spartaco Cortesi and Naomi Berrill. The I-DEA space for 'Thauma - Atlas of Gesture' is in transition and will gradually be transformed into 'The Land of Cockaigne' curated by Navine G. Khan-Dossos and James Bridle, the fourth exhibition that will open on 18 October and will remain open until 18 November.
Thauma - Atlas of Gesture was an unprecedented search for postures, for physical but also emotional resonances of the people put into dialogue with the images recovered from the historical archives of Basilicata.