Radio Robida


Care of Margins


In September, Robida collective organised a two-day symposium titled Care of Margins (supported by the Dutch Embassy in Rome, Fondazione Friuli from Udine, the Swiss Consulate General in Milano and Region FVG) where more than 20 artists, architects, curators and researchers from different countries in Europe – Italy, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, UK, Germany – discussed the idea and the meaning of an artist residency in the village of Topolò/Topolove, a village of 20 inhabitants at the end of the road, located on the border between Italy and Slovenia.

The symposium opened many fertile, urgent questions about existing models of artist residencies in marginal areas, especially regarding the relation between guests, the place and its community, and concerning the facilities a residency needs in terms of space. Through rethinking the new residency together, collectively writing, drawing and sketching, we formulated the curatorial and architectural first steps toward this new project, starting from our common values.

Some main reflections of the symposium concern terms such as:
reciprocity – the guests should be involved in the seasonal rhythms of the existing community, sharing responsibilities with its members
care – the sense of care within the residents’ works is expressed through their cyclical coming-back and their long-term work
boundaries & integration – between the life-rhythms of the hosts and needs of the guests
community – to not only consider people permanently living in Topolò as community, but to extend the definition to those who have an affectionate affinity to the place and dedicate care to it
eco-system – the set of relations between people dwelling in the village (permanent inhabitants or guests) and the non-human inhabitants, the landscape, the different spaces of the village.

Besides these, many interesting architectural points opened up. With the future goal of transforming an old house – Zetova hiša – into a residency to host people year-round, a discussion about the shape, structure and content of the house followed. We intend to imagine the house as a toolbox, one that can be activated by the guests, and plan the building of the house as a part of the residency program itself.

This publication contains some of the reflections shared during these few days in September. Some of the contributions question the concept of residency in itself, others are very personal memories of those days highlighting the valuable moments, routines and thoughts we shared. Other texts try to transgress dichotomies such as local vs. foreign, insider vs. outsider, host vs. guest, bringing up themes such as translocal connectedness as in the reflections of Curdin Tones. The affective relation between space and temporary or permanent inhabitants is explored in the poetic text of Mara Usai while a more scientific, micro-biological relation to landscape is addressed by Philipp Kolmann. Jack Bardwell reflects on the possibility of a polyrhythmic co-existence of the guests and hosts while Lenn Cox underlines the importance of generative boundaries, referring to personal and collective everyday ecologies. Francesca Lucchitta widely reflects on daily routines, recalling moments and the atmosphere of those days and Janja shares notes on the power of togetherness. Studio Wild focuses on the building up of the residency, imagined as a collective action where taking part in the residency could also mean contributing to the renovation of the building itself, while Tommaso Garavini proposes the beautiful metaphor of the house as a toolbox or as a Swiss pocket knife. Laura Savina speaks of a fertile white, to refer to the countless and wide possibilities opening in front of us when imagining this space, intended as a new, empty, white paper. Besides describing her experience as the first artist in residency to inhabit the village for a longer period of time, Kim Lang focuses on the concept of the calendar as one of the conclusions we reached during the symposium. The calendar is a tool that addresses all the previously mentioned topics: the relation of the artists/researchers/architects/etc. to landscape, their inclusion in the rhythms of the community and the need of sharing with them responsibilities, of making them become dwellers of the village.

List of participants:
Natalia Agati, Elena Braida, Jack Bardwell, Dora Ciccone, Lenn Cox, Tommaso Garavini, Antoine Guay, Tymon Hogenelst, Philipp Kolmann, Kim Lang, Matteo Locci, Francesca Lucchitta, Tanja Marmai, Jan van der Ploeg, Jesse van der Ploeg, Johannes Reisigl, Elena Rucli, Vida Rucli, Laura Savina, Vid Skrbinšek, Egor Sviridenko, Aljaž Škrlep, Janja Šušnjar, Mercedes Talevi, Rosario Talevi, Sabina Enea Téari, Curdin Tones, Giuditta Trani, Başak Tuna, Mara Usai.

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