STARTUP 2 - Page 116

“A world-Size House” is the title of Jorge Conde’s project: a really full immersion of the artist in the Roman social-cultural context with archive documentation, interviews, photos, videos. A sociological, anthropological, artistic and architectural investigation on the impact derived from the recuperation and transformation of abandoned buildings and degraded urban areas that recently have been recovered giving them new life as cultural institutions. In other words art and culture can stimulate growth and reactivate declining urban areas. This is not really an utopia because he has found many real examples: MAXXI (the National Museum of 21st Century Arts) is the first Italian national institution devoted to contemporary creativity. Conceived as a broad cultural campus Zaha Hadid’s project has the capacity to integrate with the urban fabric and to have an extraordinary sequence of public spaces; MAAM Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove is a cultural space located in an abandoned former salami factory with a dual function: an exhibition space for contemporary art and housing for two hundred homeless Roma. Needless to say that whilst some of these transformations have been successful, some others have faced great difficulties being therefore forced to reinvent themselves or adapt their action to a worsened context with decreasing resources. In addition, there are cases which could be regarded as truly disappointing, a complete failure or projects that due to various reasons (i.e. budget cuts, lack of effective cultural policies, political disputes, poor management, etc.) still remain unfinished. It is crucial to evaluate to what extent these transformations serve the purpose of getting people involved in the city’s cultural scene or in delivering a higher quality cultural outcome. It is also worth analyzing whether this strategy only works well in the good time and in “healthy”, growing economies. From this perspective crisis can be approached as an opportunity to rethink the role of cultural institutions, the concepts of social impact, creation and education, along with some utopia-generating mechanisms. Can this model survive and remain faithful to its essence?

Really different is the context in which the filmmaker Alberto Diaz has developed his project. Have you heard stories of your parents or grandparents, or friends about places and situations in the past? Often these stories are told so often that they become familiar. It seems that us have lived them and in our minds we can imagine those situations. "Lembranza" by Alberto Diaz is a film essay, a short film of 21 minutes created by the artist after the discovery of some Super 8 footage that his father and his aunt had shot in the 60s and 70s working in the circus as trapeze artists. The movies are related to Rome. Hence those stories that the artist had always listened to and imagined acquire a real shape. Those memories with which he was familiar but he had never lived become real images. A particular film suspended between reality and imagination.