Trasformation: A Lab for Performance, Sustainability and Community in Sicily

Hallo to all,

I introduce myself. My name is Federico Bonelli, I am italian buit I live in Amsterdam. I started out as a philosopher of science and remained a philosopher since, but mainly I work my way on the border between  the arts, science and sustainable culture as a free thinker.

My actual interest is to practically setup a laboratory for treating performance, sustainability and community development. And this is the core of the project “trasformatorio” that together with fellow artists we lounched with a test case this april in Sicily. I believe in situations that include people, expression, technical attention and good design, and that is the spirit of the laboratory we thought of and started.

I am joining this community in the hope of enlarging my network and knowledge, with meeting interesting people that have similar vision about the future and a larger base of competences, sharing ideas and experiences between pairs. I am very interested in collaborating to other projects if is the case and I can learn something in doing it.

I cut and copy here below the introduction to my main project. You can see some outcomes from number zero on our projects for the rest you can google my name, but take care that I am not the ballet dancer :slight_smile:

Have a good day!!!

Trasformatorio is about settling and developing an annual laboratory for performative arts in a remote community in Sicily: Montelbano Elicona (province Messina). This laboratory focuses on development of innovative site-specific performances and theatre installations, in close connection with the landscape, history and traditions of the people of Montalbano.

A group of international artists, from various disciplines is invited and selected to participate in workshops and initiate projects within the community and its surrounding landscape. Main challenge to the artists is to go ‘back’ to the basic questions of performative arts in this specific place: ‘what can we be aware of here and transform into a vital work; a work that shares/communicates a pure reflection on what is present for us here?’ The topic of sustainability, both of natural landscape and cultural life, follows directly and organically on these basic questions. Awareness of the place and local culture is artistic starting point. The ‘transformations’ that we seek, are meant to enrich the cultural exchange of both the local people and the visiting artists. Artistically ‘reading‘ a place means in our project: taking care of the place. Therefore we explicitly connect research of sustainability in site-specific performative arts to the artistic research.   


Is Trasformatorio bounded by location?

Hello again! Thank you for sharing with us your work, I watched the video about the prototype event last month and thought it was a very candid exploration of the space and people coming in… and it seems both youth and the less young resonated. I didn’t understand if they were involved in performances or not, although they seemed to be much more than spectators. How do people respond to this?

Are you planning on doing it again, also outside Sicily? If you are looking for potential artists or maybe feedback on ideas, then you should meet Eimhin, he’s quite a great performer and traveller (his story here), or Bembo, who uses theatre & imaginative performances to increase awareness, also political from what I read on his website, and then Alex Fradera who is involved in the Dark Mountain Festivals and, here's a bit about him. 

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More details about the trasformatorio idea

Thanks for your question,

As a Lab, I really wish that trasformatorio happens once a year, in that form, and in the same place, because i want to see the way it evolves, like moss planted on a wall. As a group of people collective effort is indeed spinning off many projects, that transform into collaboration, research projects, design ideas etc.

We are using internet and personal meeting already to keep the ball rolling. Next get toghether of some of the artists is going to be in a couple weeks in Amsterdam, were some of us are already collaborating on a performance project.

People of Montalbano was involved in a very horizontal and transparent way on many levels. It has also to do with the way we founded the number zero of the lab: it was totally self produced. Practically we had no money at all, and therefore counted on the help of the city and the citizens to make our activities possible. The lack of MONEY, favoured a different economy, of exchange that fueled on mutual acceptance and hospitality. It worked well and really made our first experiment really possible, because not existing a money based economy everything else was following out of sincere generosity and acceptance, to a very intricate level of almost self organising complexity. Even having planned it and foreseen it myself I was the first to be surprised by the way it worked.

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Money hurts

Hello Federico, nice to meet you. I was stricken by this comment. It contains a powerful intuition, namely that money can be a problem too. Or rather, than sometimes it’s better to have no money at all than just a little money. For handling money costs money, and people dealing with your project shift onto a different mode. If you have none, than you waste no time thinking about it, allocating it, trying to be transparent as to where it comes from and where it goes, and you just get down to do stuff.

Having a lot of money is also a viable model. You need to spend a lot of resources to manage the money, but hey, you’ve got money! You can just hire administrators, accountants and generally people who will take care of it. The worst is having just a little money: you get the administrative issues but not the firepower. 

I like the Trasformatorio concept. A lot. Is it still up and running? From the website I don’t understand. You definitely should get together with the Matera crowd – by the way, that is not a big project at all, it is very small. Are you going to be in Italy in the fall? More about the project and the context in which it was born (in Italian): here.

Hi there

Hi Frederico,

good to read of your work, I think Matera could be very interesting for you, and perhaps for a collaborative work.

I dance, play with objects, and  am something of a social connective, also with a background in philosophy, in fact Latour’s Essays on the nature of Science Studies is the only book I am travelling with and reading the glossary, of actors and actants etc, I have thought about the adabtability of the model to a performance scenario. Perhaps a little meta for the folk of Matera, but something we may enjoy in the space of life between perhaps.

Have you looked at the Matera project yet?

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Hallo Eimhin!

I saw the ideas on Matera, found them really very interesting, the scale of the project seems very big!

Our focus is similar in a certain sense, and i believe very much in open exchange. We found really interesting/vital to work artistically inside the community and plan to further that up on many levels. My idea is that involving also designers into this research and media artist I both insert terms of hypercontemporary jargon into the struggle to reach a poetry geared language. I wish to generate/test/showcase shortcircuits of prototyped ideas that can be of interest for developing new design objects, of a sustainable nature while serving to hint to new transformations of ancient wisdom. As far as I understaind this is the right palce for these lines of thinking…I would love to exchange ideas and stories and eventually mutually collaborate…

Let’s talk!