ITALIAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE
ITALY. THE (IN)VISIBLE STORIES
January 30 – April 26, 2020
Opening on January 30, Thursday, 6 pm – The Palace, 1, Knyaz Aleksander I Sqr., Sofia, Sofia
The exhibition is organized by Glocal Project Consulting in collaboration with the Roman Central Institute for Demoethnoanthropology, its director Leandro Ventura, and in collaboration with his specialized staff.
In 2003 UNESCO, which main objective consists in the implementation of measures aimed at promoting the transmission of intangible cultural heritage throughout generations, has established “The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage”, and which was later ratified in Italy, in 2007. The Convention provides a series of procedures for the identification, the documentation, the safeguarding and the promotion of the so called intangible cultural heritage. A Cultural heritage that is not merely restricted to monuments and collections of objects but that also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, including oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or knowledge and skills aimed at producing traditional crafts. Such miscellaneous list of Intangible Cultural Heritage includes oral traditions and expressions that include socio-cultural practices (i.e: the Kochari, traditional Armenian group dance, recently confirmed in 2017), celebrations, rituals, and religious practices (i.e: El dia de los muertos, Mexico or the famous Italian big shoulder borne processional structures of Viterbo, Nola or Palmi…), and further theatre and performing arts (the Japanese Nogaku theater), traditional craftsmanship, food preparation (like the Italian art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’), and, more generally, ancient knowledge about nature and the universe. Keeping these practices alive is of crucial importance for they characterize and define the time, the space, and most importantly the memory of people and regions throughout the world. Traditions and customs that write, interpret and shape the perception and the memory of human history.
In such a context, the iridescent and ephemeral nature of our intangible heritage often represents the source of contemporary artists’ creative research.
Italy. The (in) visible stories narrate un-encoded stories, records and represents unwritten memories interpreting the intangible heritage as a cultural passage, as a corpus of knowledge and skills and finally as an expressive diversity that, on an individual, regional and finally national scale composes the human mosaic of what we call Italian-ness or Italianity.
The exhibition project is conceived as a multi-sensorial journey into the heart and soul of Italians, articulated and staged as an invisible thread of Ariadne, aimed at leading us into the labyrinth of our boundless human and cultural heritage, between past, present and future. The project develops throughout a polyphonic visual audio immersion that varies from the famous processions of big shoulder-borne processional structures to a series of video documentaries on our traditional cuisine and music. The visual itinerary is sprinkled with ethnographic objects from the Italian folk tradition dating back to the early 1900s. Not yet archaeological, but no longer contemporary, these objects – whistles, games, votive offerings, simple tableware, street vendors shop signs – with a unique sense of continuity, keep a great and curious narrative potential that helps the visitor to perceive and reveal their past voices and stories.