Kinespheres. Happy June
Staycation in Rome and more cool stuff, in your every-1st-of-the-month newsletter
What's up? I’m back at doing things again, which is great!
Last week I took part in Greg Jager’s performance About Kinespheres, which happened in the square nestled between that immense concrete jungle that is Rome’s Tor Bella Monaca, as part of “IPER - Festival delle Periferie” (Rome’s Outskirts Festival).
The performance was about the interactions between participants' kinespheres (the sphere around our body), the in flux, vectorial composition created by the intersections of the corrugated black pipe we were holding, and it was about the coexistence of the kinesphere of this constellation (us as a whole) and the public space that hosted it.
I joined the performance in an impetus of finally being face-to-face with Greg Jager after one year of Skype calls and Whatsapp messages needed to write this artist feature on my blog, so I didn’t have any sort of expectations nor preconceptions about the performance itself. Moreover, art performances are not usually my thing, and so my first movements holding the corrugated pipe were extremely self-conscious (am I doing it right?) and accurately premeditated, which is my default response to performance anxiety.
As we kept moving into the space and around the urban furniture, switching places and creating new relationships between our kinespheres (links made tangible by the black pipe we were holding, which traced the spatial consequences of our movements), I let go of my self-awareness and progressively felt part of a group.
When I stopped making intentional movements, surrendering to the kinetic energy of the group instead, my maneuvers became spontaneous, somehow fluid. Suddenly, all the physical and mental strength I was struggling to put into it became superfluous. My body started moving on its own, while my mind played at envisioning from above the very precise geometry we were creating, as the visible structure for our personal interactions.
Was it different from the invisible yet very concrete proxemic bubble we all kept in mind during the past year? And would Greg Jager’s performance gain a different meaning if we hadn’t spent a whole year questioning the way we inhabit our personal and public space?
The sparkle of this latest thought had actually come to me from our spontaneous audience; as I moved at the periphery of our collective kinesphere, I heard someone comment, “It must be a protest against social distancing.”
Other people were driving up and down the square, marking their proxemic spheres with showy motorbikes and nobody stepped into the performance as we expected. Although a little girl with beautiful cornrows came very close to us, but then she must have realized that she was too short to grab the pipe, which - at that point of the performance - was being pulled around quite enthusiastically.
Indeed, after the initial awkward stage, and thanks to the close-knit dynamics of a group of participants towards which the rest of us were unconsciously gravitating, our bodies were finally moving without crosstalk from the controlling mind. Our kinespheres changed size, collapsed, fragmented, and expanded as fast as our legs could carry us. Our bodies never touched, but we always stayed connected through the black pipe that outlined the interdependencies within our shared space, like an ever-changing star map that expanded and shrank at the same time.
And I (or my body, I should say) was a part of it, a pivot of this living spatial structure that framed the public space of a forgotten square in Tor Bella Monaca.
Back into the public space, and owning it.
Until next month,
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NEW on Blocal’s YouTube Channel
My ‘Weekend by Locals’ in Rome
NEW on the blog!
The Return of Street Art in Garbatella
Even without street art, Garbatella would remain one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Rome. Let’s wander together through its picturesque courtyards and admire the two different generations of Garbatella’s street art.
Handpicked by yours truly
Stuff I liked this month
The latest issue of Nuart Journal is finally online! Produced by the world’s leading street art festival, the fifth issue of Nuart Journal explores the theme of lockdown, and the ways in which researchers and artists have responded to the challenges we’ve encountered over the last year. Among the contributors of this issue, there’s filmographer Kristina Borhes, whom I interviewed in 2019.
Save the Date: The first edition of HipHopCine fest is taking place online from June 7th to 20th and, among all the movies available, there are some good ones about graffiti, such as Hello my name is: German Graffiti, Focus on your dreams and Alamarilove. You can check out the full program here, while more hiphop cult movie recommendations can be found on the festival’s Instagram;
FAME festival (2008 - 2012, Grottaglie, Italy) was one of the most unique street art festivals in the world, said Juxtapoz Magazine, which has shared on their IGTV the full FAME documentary movie with English subtitles!
Mural of the Month: “The Strength of the Community” by Millo, in Nembro (IT)
Painted in one of the Italian cities most hit by Coronavirus (in March 2020 they experienced an increase of 1000% in the number of deaths, compared to the previous year), Millo’s latest mural celebrates the inner strength of Nembro’s inhabitants and their re-discovered sense of community. I’ve always loved Millo’s poetic works, more so after spending one week with him in Pescara to document the creation of his mural in Fontanelle;
Barcelona’s creative space Konvent Zero organised Ruines, a visual art collective project on identity and ruins. Several street artists investigated what does it mean to live in a community that rebuilds the ruins of an industrial colony by painting their artwork on abandoned buildings and actual ruins in Cal Rosal (where Konvent Zero is based). My favourite interventions are the abstract piece by Berni Puig and the mural by my friend Jofre Oliveras, what are yours?
This secret street art spot in Paris; (thanks Severine for the info!)
In Italy, these days, the debate about cancel culture is particularly hot, so I couldn’t help spotting this video by my friend Dough at Fifth Wall TV on a very close topic: cultural appropriation. Dough makes an interesting point by highlighting the work of artists like Fin Dac, Dan Kitchener and Hush, white men well-known for painting geishas all around the world:
I’m reading Tiziano Terzani’s “A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East”. After a fortune-teller urged him to avoid flying in 1993, the Italian journalist travelled throughout Southeast Asia by land for a year, thus further refining his observation skills and his perspective on Asian people. Tiziano Terzani is my favorite travel writer, I highly recommend any of his books!
You somehow stumbled upon my blog and subscribed to the newsletter, but you have no idea who I am and how my blogging journey has unfolded so far? Here I share the ups and downs of my first 9 years of blogging :)
From the Archive
Banksy’s Hotel Opens in Bethlehem
Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel is a bubble suspended in the chalky air of Bethlehem, a town where streets are crumbling and buildings derelict. Its red curtains, as the entrance of the rabbit hole, let you enter a sophisticated world that could be ages away from the reality surrounding it or, perhaps, it could be just on the other side of the wall.