Francesca Masoero


From : Torino
To: Valletta and Marrakech


Interdisciplinary, Visual Arts

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

The Cimetta grant allowed me to fully benefit from the opportunities provided by the two projects I took part in during my stay in Malta. Transformer is a multifaceted, two-year project presented by Blitz, in collaboration with Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in collaboration with CeRCCa (Barcelona), Le18 (Marrakech), Atelier de l'observatoire (Casablanca), and 3 137 (Athens). The project built a relationship between a Maltese artistic context and an international cultural network through a series of border-crossing curatorial and artistic exchanges through research, artist residencies, an online platform, public talks, workshops and a multi-site exhibition in spaces across Malta during the 2018 European Capital of Culture. The aim of Transformer has been to build a network to help develop artist run organisations and the contemporary art context in Malta. Through its implementation Transformer has developed artistic exchanges with artists from each ARO participating in several residencies in Malta as well as the organization of two networking meetings and a final exhibition in September 2018. The V18 Curatorial School on ‘Social Practices in Curating and Contemporary Art’ is a five days professional programme that allowed for in depth exchanges with international and local artists and curator, reflecting on what the curatorial means and the relationship between art practices and social engagement. How can political involvement within and beyond institutions be formulated and staged with the aim to stimulate social change? How can we build a collective understanding of a territory when territories are fractured? How can curators activate and intervene in real-life contexts? Participants were offered a programme of lectures in the morning and focused workshops afterwards with a selected tutor and a smaller group of fellows, where curatorial ideas and respective researchers could be presented, discussed together and refined. The curatorial programme featured international speakers such as Paul O’Neill, Michael Birchall, Nina Möntmann, Kelly Large, Alfredo Cramerotti and Jeanne van Heeswijk. During the school, I joined the seminar group led by Jeanne van Heeswijk, an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. Her long-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to enable communities to take control of their own futures.

How does exchange, networking and international contacts contribute to the development of your artistic and cultural project?

Transborder collaborations and transdisciplinary exchanges are approaches constitutive both of LE 18 DNA and of my own practice as curator. The participation of LE 18, as well as CeRCCa and Atelier l’Observatoire to the Transformer project was a direct consequence of the collaboration these three organizations have been nourishing throughout the last three years firstly through the creation of NACMM_North Africa Cultural Mobility Map and later through the creation of the platform KIBRIT, an experimental research and artistic project focused on processes of reactivation of collective memory and tangible and intangible heritage. Transformer contacted NACMM precisely because it was interested to capitalise on existing networks of cultural associations to expand it in the Maltese context. The participation in NACMM, the development of the project KIBRIT (which saw LE 18 as leading organisation and myself as main coordinator) are two examples. LE 18 also developed KawKaw in the past, a project that involved artists from the grand Maghreb region as well as several cultural actors from the same geography. More recently, it has been taking part in a collaborative project with four other organisations from Europe, Meet the Neighbours. Further to the initiatives I conduct as curator for LE 18, I have also been co-founding and actively working in the transnational curatorial platform Madrassa Collective, which reunites eight curators from/based in Morocco, Jourdan, Palestine, Cameroon, Egypt and France. Through our work we explore precisely both what collective working, thinking and acting together means, as well as trying to articulate our practice as one that curates networks. Furthermore, since last year I initiated with LE 18 a project that is evolving in the direction of a platform, a transdisciplinary and transregional network called QANAT. Qanat focuses on the politics and poetics of water, and more generally the commons, exploring both the political economic history of transformations and resistances in water rights and access to commons, while bridging researches, methods and approaches of engagement in such dynamics.

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

The experience in Valletta in relation to the project Transformer was a way to explore and research on the cultural, social and economics dynamics of the island, both through the residencies of the artists, the work undertaken by each in a specific locality / community of the Malta and indeed by spending time there. This was further allowed by the VA curatorial school and the methodology promoted by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, facilitating our exploration of Valletta specifically through collective derives and relational cartographies. As curator of (often) collaborative and collective initiatives, having sometimes been covering the role of coordinator/propeller/co-initiator, I was also interested in testing and living the loose network Transformer aimed to create more as a guest than a host. I have to acknowledge that some of my expectations in terms of time spent in getting to know each other and build stronger connections were not met. This was partly due to the energies each partner had to put in setting up the final exhibition and the larger challenging logistics the local coordinators of the project had to face, but would not share with the other members as feeling this was not an appropriate gesture for the hosting body. The experience has been therefore an important lesson to further confirm that both time, space, transparent dialogue and means are crucial to allow for collaborative initiatives to grow. The overall experience, including the (humanly) rich exchanges allowed also through the workshop with artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, have strengthen an understanding of our work as intrinsically and necessarily relational, with regard to both people and spaces.

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Roberto Cimetta Fund

c/o ONDA
13 bis rue Henri Monnier
75009 Paris - France


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