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ICW 2013 - International Curatorial Workshop
3rd - 5th, June 2013

Vessel is looking for applicants for its 3rd annual International Curatorial Workshop (3rd - 5th, June 2013). The Course will be composed of fifteen young curators from around the world. They will be offered the opportunity to work with curators and art practitioners of international reputation who have participated in projects focusing on the various forms, analysis and creation of social art practices.

ICW 2013 will be tutored by Consonni, Leone Contini, Curandi Katz, Marco Degaetano – XScape , Fernando Garcia Dory, Carolina Rito, WochenKlausur, Stephanie Smiths, Viviana Checchia, Anna Santomauro , Francesco Scasciamacchia, Charles Esche, Ilaria Gianni, Viktor Misiano and Marco Petroni together with other members of vessel’s committee.


The Course consists of a single three-day workshop. It is practice-oriented and conceived as an organic structure. The participants will be expected to share their experience in dealing with social practice and asked to join workgroups chaired by members of the organizing team. The objectives of the curatorial course are:

  • To articulate a consistent collective reflection on the contemporary role of the socially engaged art practices in the current economic, cultural and political climate;
  • To set up working platforms which would enable participants to develop further curatorial projects;
  • To encourage processes of networking among young creators in the visual art scene and the international circulation of cultural projects.

Day one and day two will consist of presentations of case studies. Day three will be an open format in which participants can discuss and get advice regarding current works/projects in progress.


The focus of the workshop is socially engaged practice and its various permutations at this point in contemporary society. We are interested in practitioners that believe in socially engaged practice as a tool to support an alternate system of labor and production; i.e. long-term engagement with marginal populations and territories rather than a limited-duration exhibition. We favor projects that apply social engagement as a means of investigating public opinion and need.

Our particular geographical area is the region of Apulia in connection with our neighbors in the Balkan and Mediterranean areas. Thus, the type of projects we seek use geographically specific information to confront political, social and cultural identity of specific populations that can be connected and applied on a wider scale.

To practically analyze this phenomenon, we will use case studies of examples of regional social practice that respond to these urgencies.

Additionally, each participant will be required to bring their own case study that connects to the instances of social practice. This can include the work of people, collectives or spaces.


We are pleased to announce the selected curators for vessel's 2013 International Curatorial Workshop, which will take place in Bari (Italy) from 3rd to 5th, June 2013.

Katherine Andersen; Camilla Crosta; Micaela Deiana; Michela Lupieri; Caterina Nolfo; Orlaith Treacy; Alessandra Ferlito; Ted Barr; Caspar Hall; Emma Ines Panza; Federica Sosta; Fruzsina Kigyós; Hannah Conroy; Karem Ibrahim


Research questions of the day 1:

  • How 'socially engaged practices' respond to specific contexts

  • What strategies can be adopted in order to meet the needs of a given community in terms of both functionally and imagination?

The participants selected by ICW vessel met with Marco Degaetano, representative of X-Scape, who for the last three years has been working on the project BIR – Borgate in rete. vessel's team has 'adopted' the project following the similarities ofBIR’s goals and strategies to vessel’s modus operandi, in addition to the same deep interest in the context of Puglia. In particular, vessel offered X-Scape skills from the art field thanks to the involvement of the artist Fernando Garcia Dory with Degaetano.

The research carried out by the Degaetano, BIR - Borgate in rete, despite still being under development, has reached an intervention strategy. The visit of the ICW participants included stops in three of the many fractions/borgate analyzed by the project: Borgo Incoronata, Duanera Borgo La Rocca and Segezia.
The complexity of the socio-economic development of villages is evident through the exploration of the three places, which are all very different from each other considering the architecture, presence of facilities and diffusion of commercial activities. For Degaetano, the start of a dialogue with these communities is the first goal, which they could initiate a reflection on the definition of strategies for a possible change of the status quo.
These various mutual ambitions could be achieved via urban planning and social engagement activities designed for the suburban community.

Fernando Garcia Dory exposed the question of the plurality of factors to consider when analyzing the context of the villages: ideological, historical, social, and economic details. All these aspects should be taken into account for the development of a practical operating as much as responsible and effective as possible. The specificity of the BIR event triggered a broader discussion about the role of art and culture, as an agent, promoter, and facilitator of change in difficult socio-economic contexts akin to the one taken into consideration. Discussion followed, in which all participants contributed their experiences and stories coming from their practices and the contexts in which each of them operates. The debate brought out the belief that if on one side, artistic practices in facing similar contexts cannot act effectively, on the other side just the fact that art is far from effectiveness in these, probably means that it could be the instrument, or the lens, through which to observe and operate accordingly.

Marco Petroni presented the concept of a current project, which he intends to test using Vessel’s platform in order to find out limits and potentialities. In 2666, Petroni intends to deal with a steelwork company, Ilva in Taranto, popular for its difficulties related to the safety conditions of the workers and its emissions. The closure of the leisure center and the dilemma of employees 'life or work' both occupy the core of Petroni’s investigation. He aims to use art and culture as an instrument of redemption and affirmation of the working class and the entire Ilva citizenship of Taranto. The main question resides in whether art and culture can be the tools to draw an alternative scenario for the city of Taranto.

Stefanie Smith, the curator of the Smart Museum of Art in Chicago, spoke of the development of socially engaged practices in the U.S. and quotes various examples of what she considers effective.
Consonni, represented by María Mur Dean, described its own methodology of action in the Spanish context, which has many affinities to the Italian context. The main target set by the group is to react to the risk of showing business and exploitation. The day closed with a discussion among the participants on the issues of the day.

Research questions of the Second day :

  • What are the Spatio-temporal characteristics when operating using 'socially engaged practices'?
  • How can the dynamics of space and time respond to a certain curatorial and artistic ethic?

The second day for the ICW participants began with a conversation with Carolina Rito that dealt with the concept of the event completed by the researcher with the idea of a 'non-event'. Thanks to the understanding of the notion of 'non-event', synonymous with everything that is happening around the events of art and life, it is possible to open a dimension generating ideas and actions that do not follow a logical and pre-determined sequence. The position in which anything can happen 'out of control' aroused skepticism among the participants in the discussion following the presentation. After a heated debate on the definitions, the common consensus was that attention to the definition of terminology in these practices is quite useless. Therefore, it is more meaningful to opt instead for a dedication to the practices and content that the 'socially engaged practices' may develop.

Following the presentation of Carolina Rito, WochenKlausur took the stage. The artistic collective from Vienna explained to participants the ways in which the group operates and additionally gave insight into its latest projects. For 20 years, WochenKlausur has developed actions that have the goal of producing positive socio-economic impacts in contexts of discomfort and / or contexts lacking subsidies for 'social welfare'. Their intervention on society is possible thanks to the presence of different abilities possessed by various professionals who, in turn, provide their expertise for the common good.

Leone Contini presented his project ToscoCHINA: Food in Transition. The artist created a dialogue between the local culture and the Chinese community in the context of Prato, characterized by a significant Chinese community. In response to the missing integration, Contini realized workshops based on the preparation of traditional foods, thanks to which the two communities shared a common experience. The presentation of the project opens new scenarios and proposes solutions with respect to the parameters of time and space in socially engaged practices.

In the afternoon Viktor Misiano presented the case of the exhibition he curated, Interpol. The exhibition, conceived as a dialogue between East and West Europe unintentionally become a case in the history of exhibitions for cultural debate due to the media attention that it catalyzed. This project was preceded by a series of experiments run by Misiano and Jan Aman in the summer of 1993.

The methodology of this process of collaboration between Russian and Swedish artists was based on an idea of confrontation and dialogue, which enabled the show itself to stand as a 'total object' that became the basis of developments in cooperation. The exhibition area of confrontation became alive, and a space for collaborative action.
In spite of the fact that the theme developed by Misiano is not of direct concern to the socially engaged curatorial methodologies, it brought to the discussion table two fundamental aspects that are central when it comes to socially engaged practice.

  1. The role of the curator as a mediator between the contending parties and / or adverse conditions (the curator as a facilitator of dialogue).
  2. the notion of ' expanded time ' as opposed to the logic of the 'here and now' - often associated with the logic of the art exhibition and events.
    The day ended with an exchange of views related to the different presentations.

Research questions of the third day:

  • What are the boundaries between socially engaged practices and activism?
  • How is it possible to explore the notion of ‘transversality’ as a conceptual and operational tool through which to advance social change?

The final day of ICW began with the presentation of Nathaniel Katz and Valentina Curandi, who have collaborated since 2008. Their work fits fully in socially engaged practice; it often explores the boundaries between performance and activism. The project presented in vessel, The Pacifist Library, is the collection of a library with pacifist themes in different cities, trying to obtain a reaction and involvement. Their statement that " We enact momentary utopian gestures that emphasize a relational ethic, focusing on the warmth of relationships between individuals, in community and in relation to institutions. A nomadic pacifist library opens a public dialogue on social change " makes clear the reason for their inclusion in the theme of the workshop, and in particular in the third day when it is discussed the subtlety of the border between socially engaged practices, activism and artistic activities.

Curandi Katz answered, "We create actions and events that are compassionate and empathetic and function as catalysts for participation. Performing, constructing, and actualizing poetic acts invites taking part, asks for activation and suggests imaginary alternatives. After effects and side effects are inscribed and implied in the work. Provoking the possibility of reverberation beyond the moment of encounter through storytelling, gifts and the dissemination of desire. " They also add a description of The Pacifist Library, which is a library nomadic made from recycled materials and donated that travels around public places. On the streets, the library of texts created space for the exchange of radical ideas through a reading area, meetings, performances and actions. The presentation aroused a strong interest in the participants and tied in with many of the issues raised in the earlier days, such as the issue of non-event discussed by Carolina Rito. Under discussion in particular was the sensitivity of a definition of this kind of activity, for which Curandi Katz left more possible readings open.

In the afternoon, Fabio Santacroce, an artist from Bari, and Viviana Checchia, co-founder of vessel with Anna Santomauro, invited attendees to visit the city. They met the local artistic scene, which included a visit to the Bonomo Art Gallery, a related digression on the history of the gallery and brief analysis of the local art scene.
The day ended with a collective meeting and discussion of the issues raised during the workshop; an evident satisfaction characterized the days, and in particular, the desire emerged to think about the realization of a new common project, born from ICW 2013, and by the activity of vessel.


Viviana Checchia worked as assistant curator for Eastside Projects, non- profit space based in Birmingham (UK) where she researched and assisted in curating the shows Abstract Cabinet Show (26 September to 8 November 2009); Liam Gillick Two Short Plays. Her projects as an independent curator include Back to Rome, solo show by Angelo Castucci (2010); There’s something to this (but I don’t know what it is) a solo show by Helen Brown at Nitra Gallery- Slovakia(2010)and Twist, curatorial project co- curated with Eleonora Farina at uqbar, 91mQ, Golden Parachutes and Hungarian Institute of Culture (2011) among others; she organized a series of talks and screenings dedicated to art and social change as well as art in Eastern European countries. She took part of the European Course for Contemporary Art Curators in Milan arranged by the Province of Milan and the Fondazione Antonio Ratti (2009), as well as to the AICA International Summer Seminar Program of Art (2009) and the Gwangju Foundation Course for International Curators (2010). Viviana co-founded vessel with Anna Santomauro.

Consonni is a producer of art projects based in Bilbao. It is a nonprofit association of private ownership Since 1997, it has been inviting artists to develop projects which do not take the form of an art object displayed in an exhibition space.Matthieu Laurette, Hinrich Sachs, Andrea Fraser, Sergio Prego, Ibon Aranberri, Itziar Okariz, Saioa Olmo, Iratxe Jaio and Klaas van Gorkum, Virginia Villaplana, María Ruido, Superflex, etc. are developing works with consonni which borrow tools from the contemporary.

Leone Contini is an Italian social practice-based artist whose work often refers to intercultural frictions, conflict and power relations, displacement, migration and Diasporas. Coming from an anthropological background, his mediums often include performing lectures, ethnographic narratives and interventions in public space. In methodological terms his research borrows the tools of contemporary anthropology in order to short-circuiting spheres of common feelings and significance. Recent topics: The subsistence agriculture of Chinese immigrants in Tuscany; The conflictual heritage on the Italia/Slovenian border; Displacement, migration and food in the Milanese suburbs; body-care practices among immigrants in Genova former Jewish Ghetto; immigrant enterprises in the working class neighborhood of Poble Sec, Barcellona.

Curandi Katz
Since 2008 Valentina Curandi and Nathaniel Katz have been working collaboratively in an artistic practice that emphasizes a relational ethic, focusing on the warmth of relationships between individuals, in community and in relation to institutions. Performing, constructing, and actualizing poetic acts that invite taking part, ask for activation and suggest imaginary alternatives. Curandi Katz have been included in the exhibition at the Moscow Biennial for Young Art and at the NY Art Book Fair in PS1 MoMA in New York and Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Villa Croce, Genova. Their project the Pacifist Library has received recognition from the Italian Ministry of Culture, the Canada Council for the Arts, nctm e l’arte, and the European Cultural Foundation. In July 2013 they will be among the finalists at the LIVE WORKS performance prize at Centrale Fies, Trentino.

Marco Degaetano is an architect/urbanist who graduated in 2004 at the Polytechnic of Bari. He grows up a deep interest in traditional architecture in developing countries during a research program at the School of Architecture in Ahmedabad (India). In 2007 he graduated in “Master of Human Settlement - Urbanism and Planning in Developing countries" at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) where he deepens the meaning of “urban design and strategic planning”. Since 2008 he works as urban planner and designer in collaboration with the Polytechnic of Bari, private Studios and Public Administrations. Since 2008 he is Teacher assistant in the Urban Design Studio at the Faculty of Architecture of Bari. He is co-founder of the cultural association "X-Scape", an architectural collective immersed in their BIR (Borghi in Rete) Project. The BIR project explores fascist period construction from the 1900s and its ramifications on the community currently squatting in these abandoned structures. Physical exploration of the land and process-based brainstorming are utilized with cultural operators to construct a BIR Art Map, i.e. a map consisting of potential solutions for the territory.

Charles Esche is a curator and a writer. He is Director of van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and co-editor of Afterall Journal and Books based at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London. He is also an advisor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam. In 2009, he curated the 3rd Riwaq Biennale, Palestine together with Reem Fadda. In the last years, he curated major exhibitions including the 2nd Riwaq Biennial, Palestine, 2007; the 9th Istanbul Biennial 2005 with Vasif Kortun, Esra Sarigedik Öktem and November Paynter and the Gwangju Biennale 2002 in Korea with Hou Hanru and Song Wang Kyung. Before that he was co-curator of ‘Intelligence – New British Art’ at the Tate Gallery, London and ‘Amateur – Variable Research Initiatives’ at Konstmuseum and Konsthall, Göteborg, both in 2000. From 2000-2004 he was Director of the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö. From 1998-2002 he organised the international art academic research project called ‘protoacademy’ at Edinburgh College of Art. From 1993-1997 he was Visual Arts Director at Tramway, Glasgow. A book of his selected writings, Modest Proposals, was published by Baglam Press, Istanbul in 2005.

Fernando Garcia Dory: His work engages specifically with issues affecting the relation between culture-nature now, embodied within the contexts of landscape, the rural, desires and expectations related with identity aspects, crisis, utopia and social change. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology in Madrid and Amsterdam. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional art languages such as drawing to collaborative agroecological projects, actions, and cooperatives dealing with various international art galleries and museum spaces.

Ilaria Gianni is a curator and writer based in Rome. After obtaining a postgraduate degree in Art History at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”, she received an MFA in Curating at Goldsmiths College. She is currently Head of Programming of the Nomas Foundation, Rome, along with curator Cecilia Canziani. She has curated a number of exhibitions, including Desiring Necessities, John Hansard Gallery (Southampton, 2009); Fragile Currency, Klemm’s Galerie (Berlin, 2009); Flux Capacitor, Extraspazio (Rome, 2008, co-curated with Isobel Harbison); Behind, Monitor Gallery (Rome, 2008); Here Once again. Where Art and Cinema Interact, MOA and Loop Gallery (Seoul, 2008, co-curated with Hyunjoo Byeon and Jungmin Kwon); I desired what you were, I need what you are, Maze Gallery (Turin, 2008), and Step in Step out, Adriano Olivetti Foundation (Rome, 2006/2007). She is a founding member of the publishing collective IM projects and member of the curatorial platform Art At Work. Ilaria Gianni has collaborated with magazines such as «NERO», «Lo Specchio+», «Circa», «Flash Art», «Arte e Critica», and has contributed with texts to many catalogs, such as Domenico Mangano (Electa, Milan, 2008); Calypso (Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, 2008); Committenti, artisti, fruitori. Uno studio sull’arte pubblica in Italia a partire da IN ALTO arte sui ponteggi (Bruno Mondadori Editore, Milan, 2007).

Viktor Misiano lives in Moscow and in Ceglie Messapica, Italy. He was a curator of contemporary art at the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow (1980–90) and the director of the Center for Contemporary Art (CAC), Moscow (1992–97). In his freelance practice, Misiano was on the curatorial team for Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996) and curated the Russian section of the 3rd Istanbul Biennial (1992), the 46th and 50th Venice Biennale (1995, 2003), the 1st Valencia Bienal, Spain (2001), the 25th and 26th São Paulo Bienal (2002, 2004), the Central Asia Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), Live Cinema/The Return of the Image: Video from Central Asia, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2007–08), and Progressive Nostalgia: Art from the Former USSR, Centro per l’arte contemporanea, Prato (2007, traveled to Athens; Tallinn, Estonia; and Helsinki). In 1993 he was a founder of the Moscow Art Magazine and has been its editor-in-chief ever since; and in 2003 he was a founder of the Manifesta Journal: Journal of Contemporary Curatorship (Amsterdam-Ljubljana) and since then has also been an editor there. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the Helsinki University for Art and Design.

Marco Petroni: law graduate, he studies contemporary art and architecture. He has collaborated with La Repubblica Bari, has directed the designmagazines Design Plaza, Casamiadecor and actually writes on Curator and Head of communication at the research center Plart museum in Naples. He develops innovative curatorial projects and events related to the themes of the design world with a transdisciplinary approach: Nanotech design in collaboration with Laboratory of Nanotechnology Lecce, Light on the design with the scientific direction of Francesco Moschini, Passages, Super-neo-Baroque paths between art and design, and Autarcky and Botanic by FormaFantasma, Mischer’Traxler – Naturally combined. He collaborated on the design and section of the new multimedia and interactive Plart Foundation “Plastic Alchemy“. Art director of the Sud collection of TerreBlu (by Francesca Lanzavecchia, Giovanni Innella e Gionata Gatto). He has lectured at Naba and Politecnico di Milano.

Carolina Rito is a curator, writer and researcher, born in Portugal and currently living in London. Since 2011 she is a graduate student of the PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge in the Visual Cultures Department, at Goldsmith College, London, UK. Carolina Rito’s research proposal aims to look at process-based practice in contemporary art that operate as non-events: low key and barely perceptible in the field of practice. Previously she has lectured in the MA and BA programs at ESAD (Escola Superior de Arte e Design Caldas da Rainha, Portugal); in the MA of Arts and Design in the Public Space, at Fine Arts Faculty in Porto, as well as supervising MA theses. In 2013 she is Curator in Residency in UNIDEE - Cittadellarte, in Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy. In 2010/2011 she was curator-researcher at a curatorial residency in CuratorLab at Konstfack in Stockholm, Sweden, supervised by Maria Lind; and worked as assistant curator for the Arts and Architecture Programme of Guimaraes European Capital of Culture. In 2009 she was a visiting curator at Situations (dir. Claire Doherty). Her curatorial projects include, 2012 exhibition BES Revelação in Serralves Museum, Porto; 2011 4th edition of the project ‘Junho das Artes’, in Óbidos, Portugal; 2010 exhibition “o mundo visto da terra, aqui à volta de casa”, at Museu Bernardo; 2008 the process-based project at Botanical Garden.

Anna Santomauro lives and works as curator in Italy. She has collaborated with neon>campobase, a non profit organization devoted to contemporary art, where she has curated a 3-years video program. In 2009 she started the collaboration with the italian curator Viviana Checchia within the projects: 1h art, Festa del Migrante and Green Days. She has recently curated the group exhibition For an Ecology of the Museum at Museo di Villa Croce in Genoa. In 2012 she co-curated the radio program Work in the Field as part of the project Aelia Media by Pablo Helguera. She is interested in practices that challenge the status quo and in Socially Engaged Art as a tool to produce alternative social and geopolitical imagination. She attended International Curator Course 2012, organized by Gwangju Biennale. She writes on Arte & Critica magazine. Since 2011 she is co-founder and co-curator of vessel, nonprofit art organization in Bari - South of Italy.

Francesco Scasciamacchia is a researcher and art writer based in London . He is currently a PhD candidate at the Queen Mary University of London with a project on: “The Return of the Political in Europe: how to react to ‘post-political’ scenarios through artistic, curatorial and activist practices”. He worked during these years for public and private art institutions such as, DOCVA-Viafarini, Milan; MART-Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rovereto (ITA) and Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation, Milan. Recently he worked as news editor for the contemporary art magazine, Flash Art. He is a Critical Studies Fellow for the Whitney Independent Study Program, New York (2013- 2014). Francesco co-curates vessel alongside Viviana Checchia, Anna Santomauro and Vlad Morariu.

Stephanie Smith works at the intersection of contemporary art, experimental museum practice, and the public sphere. As Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art, she has established the museum's reputation for challenging thematic exhibitions that address complex relationships between contemporary art and social issues. Her critically acclaimed projects include Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art (2012), Heartland (2008-2009, in collaboration with Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven); and Beyond Green: Toward a Sustainable Art (2005). Smith is also an editor with the international art journal Afterall and co-directs New Projects—an urbanism studio, research center, and exhibition space. She has lectured at venues from Arizona State University to the Sharjah Biennial (UAE) and in addition to extensive publications through the Smart, her writing has appeared in journals and books including Afterall, Parkett, Service Media (2012) and Land, Art: A Cultural Ecology Handbook (2006).

WochenKlausur solves social problems through tangible, small-scale interventions. The group works by invitation from art institutions, researching, developing, and realizing projects that make concrete improvements through “social intervention.” They work in concentrated, closed meetings, within a specific timeframe. For their first project (1993) the group decided to establish a mobile clinic or a basic medical treatment for homeless people in Vienna. Asking a befriended journalist to write and article about this project they managed to convince the city councilor to fund the project and the van is now a permanent institution that continues to help more than 600 people each month, run by the relief organization Caritas. The article was never published. WochenKlausur has also addressed education, substance abuse, community development, labor market policy, voter rights, immigration, and homelessness. WochenKlausur’s major exhibitions and commissions include the 48th Venice Biennale; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; and the Vienna Secession, the 48th Venice Biennale; and the SMART Museum, Chicago. Founded in 1993. Based in Vienna, Austria.

This announcement was published on 01/06/13