TRANSDISCIPLINARITY IS THE CONTEMPORARY FORMAT
OF PERFORMATIVE PRACTICE by Sergio Mario Illuminato
a multi-voice artistic and cultural project of painting~sculpture
in character coexistence-oriented in publishing~cinema~dance~music~photography
with the complicity of the artists: Rosa Maria Zito (photographic and scenographic shots)
Federico Marchi with Roberto Biagiotti (moving images)
Patrizia Cavola and Ivan Truol with Camilla Perugini and Nicholas Baffoni (dance signs)
Andrea Moscianese with Davide Palmiotto (art of sounds)
Throughout an eclectic artistic journey, I have processed, through a blend, the fragile condition of human reality. The practice of painting and sculpture, above all, has unveiled physical and mental territories beyond conventional boundaries, allowing me to unlearn, regrasp emotions, choices, and tensions that characterize perception and behavior in daily life.
From these experimental and observational evidences, I made a valuable discovery: the vulnerability-and-the-body in-one, rooted in the history of human societies over millennia, notwithstanding the digital revolution with the yet-to-be-written chapter on artificial intelligence and the metaverse, has confirmed itself as a fundamental anthropological structure even in the contemporaneity of the infosphere defined by philosopher Luciano Floridi. This reflection has marked not only the formal and aesthetic perspective but has also had a deep impact on me philosophically, ethically, and politically.
Another aspect but converging. Major international exhibitions of contemporary art are witnessing an increasing use of art as an abstract entity separated from reality. Art seems to be increasingly confined only to ideological spaces codified as museums, fairs, and galleries. Claudio Parmiggiani, among artists with international voices, has raised an interesting question: What can be built today in art, starting from the offensive, fashionable, and festive optimism of an art world covered in talcum powder that, while everything burns, points us to Disneyland as a perspective?
Personally, in response to the dramatic current situation, I have felt the need to artistically re-react by escaping from the pre-defined anesthetic spaces that relegate art to the margins, and I have tried to bring forth the world, as Alighiero Boetti stated. I work to rehabilitate the “contemporary cathedrals of vulnerability” which include former prisons-hospitals-slaughterhouses-barracks-churches-factories-schools… and other places in a state of severe abandonment.
My research in these spaces aims to create a potential experiential environment, a meditative space characterized by crystal-clear nakedness, in order to recover a ritual dimension open to the other, where artists and participants can immerse themselves to listen to the vibrations of pre-existing elements together with the sensitivity and energy of the Communicating Artistic Organisms (CAO) that I have developed over the years. The exhibition spaces thus become places where a process of unparalleled relationships develops, revealing a shared lexicon.
I have called these devices Communicating Artistic Organisms because they do not have a fixed and final form, but are composed of an ever-evolving “Cosmic Fabric-Weave,” where everything is in a state of change: chemical reactions, fermentations, chromatic alterations, and degradation. This name reinforces the idea that art is a process closely linked to life as raw material and involves an active and inclusive interpretive nature between artists and participants.
From these and many other experimental and observational experiences, the BOOK entitled “Corpus et Vulnus: homage to masters Tàpies, Kiefer, Parmiggiani” was born.
The ideas presented in the book were then transformed into creative works during a unique and unrepeatable ARTISTIC RESIDENCY that we organized at the former Pontifical prison of Velletri, a space of over a thousand square meters built in 1861 by the Romani family. During the six months of the residency, I collaborated with a group of students and painting and sculpture technicians from the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, as well as teachers and professionals from film, dance, music, and photography. Together, we explored this space that had been in a state of hibernation for about forty years.
We dedicated these months to conceiving and creating a deep, articulated, critical, fragile, necessary “intellectual space.” Through unusual perspectives guided by the concept of transdisciplinarity, we practiced an inclusive and open relational life in which it was possible to explore and unveil the nature of the multiple connections between isolated issues, in a space where issues are revisited, alternatives reconsidered, and interrelationships revealed (UNESCO – Division of Philosophy and Ethics, 1998).
The final result was the birth of the VulnerarTe MOVEMENT, the realization of the SHORT FILM “Vulnerare,” and the TRANSDISCIPLINARY PERFORMATIVE PRACTICE “iosonovulnerabile.” These activities, intertwined with each other, encapsulate the essence of an immersive site-coexistence experience, which we are presenting to journalists, the public, and students at the former Pontifical prison of Velletri.
But there’s more. The structure that hosted us was for many years owned by the State. Today it’s one of the seven million abandoned buildings in Italy. Various proposals have been put forward for its conversion for different purposes, such as apartments or a shopping center. We don’t know many details about its bureaucratic history, but the question of how to requalify it has troubled the last three municipal administrations, eager to recover the building in a useful way. Thanks to an expenditure of 1.3 million euros, the former prison has been preserved from any real estate speculation and is now owned by the Municipality of Velletri.
For one of the many accidental synchronicities that mark our path, the project presented in these pages represents the latest experience and living testimony of the building in the state in which it has come to our eyes, preserving the memory and original traces of its history spanning two centuries. The book, the artistic residency, the short film, the transdisciplinary performative practice, and the photographic shots of the entire residency process, along with the testimonies of the protagonists, constitute the last useful documentation before the architectural restructuring and change of destination and use of the nineteenth-century structure, scheduled for next October.
I wish to thank the many people who have contributed to this thought, study, research, and experimentation that developed from 2019 to 2023. Special thanks go, in addition to the writer, art critic, and curator Franco Speroni who accompanied me in writing the book; to the artists who generously shared this journey with me: Rosa Maria Zito (photographic and scenic shots), Federico Marchi with Roberto Biagiotti (moving images), Patrizia Cavola and Ivan Truol with Camilla Perugini and Nicholas Baffoni (dance signs), Andrea Moscianese with Davide Palmiotto (art of sounds).