Detailed outline of the project
"TransumArti – Arts in Transit" is a place that, for the moment, only belongs to the realm of our imagination.
I would like to help you picture it as clearly as I see it.
Don’t close your eyes, continue to read, but put on some good music, such as Erik Satie for instance – to set the mood...
We have gone up a hill, the sea is behind us, the air is clearer and we have arrived.
Green is the colour of the land, despite the heat; olive trees, fruit trees, the smell of blooming orange trees, a vegetable garden.
Nothing exceptional you say. I look at you:
‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’, and in a way your own…
We walk into a little cottage, which needs a makeover. And now, behold, outside the house, there is a 50m2 yurt. Solar panels are fixed upon the roof of the house and a wetland of special plants recycles the grey waters.
‘What is it all for?’
We are interrupted by an orchestra of crickets.
From April to September, I would like you all to bring life to this place, and I amongst you. I would like to organise cooking and theatre workshops, I would like for you to taste the fruit of this land, the oil it offers generously, our homemade sourdough bread.
I would like to create a self-sufficient place in electric energy, where used waters are treated on site, where there are water collectors for the rare occasions when it rains, sawdust toilets to save drinkable water…
Your gaze has strayed afar, your thoughts have followed the course of the light breeze.
I am still here, let me continue my tale: ‘I would like to live here 6 months of the year with those of you who would like to share my know-how through physical theatre, improvisation, masks but also learn and practise Italian and French through theatre lessons. Alessio, whom you see over there, will teach you local recipes and the secret to an Italian pizza. Taste the bread – he made it. Does it not taste wonderful? Come, it will be even better with a dab of olive oil and sun dried tomatoes…’
(You may switch the music off now…)
Birth of the project
I am an actress, interpreter and teacher; Alessio is a musician, pizzaiolo factotum.
Of Italian roots, I have been living in Brussels for the past 10 years, before that I was in France, Germany, Egypt and travelled all over, as far away from Italy as possible, which seemed to have nothing to offer.
Three years ago, Alessio followed me to Belgium. He is from Calabria, he brings a piece of Italy to my adopted country. He begins to kindle my love for my native land and I, his love for Belgium.
We live torn between the inspiring visions of a great city like Brussels with its openness upon the world, its languages, its cultural wealth which is of fundamental importance to us, and, on the other side, the need for the sun, slower rhythms of life, the wealth of the earth and nourishment of mother nature. We are subject to the illness of exile. And like all exiled we start to idealise the country that we willingly left.
This frustration has led us to realise: if we are unable to have the best of both worlds in the same place, why not have it within a time and space continuum.
The idea is to create a place where these different lifestyles and cultures can come alive. Somewhat like the nomads : why not travel from one place to another regularly, breaking the traditional pattern of one same activity in one same place all year round, all life-long. Instead we shall spend spring and summer in Italy, winter and autumn in Belgium.
TransumArti – Arts in transhumance / in transit, our regular migration. It is not a flock of sheep we are leading but our art in the original Latin sense of the word, ‘ars,artis’ ‘ability, trade, skill’.
From Belgium to Italy, and from Italy to Belgium, because the exchanges and what we carry goes both ways.
To create a space in Calabria (South of Italy), province of Cosenza, where one is able to take part in a cooking or art related workshop, in unspoilt nature, where the wellbeing of man and nature stand as essential values.
We wish for this place to be as self-sufficient in energy and food production as possible, a place to experiment old and modern techniques (compost, permaculture, food forest and many other principles). We wish to build a yurt in which to organise art workshops and build an outdoor kitchen for cooking workshops.
Around these workshops, which will help to finance the whole project, we wish to create a thick network which enables the local population to benefit from the presence of these travellers, artists, students, tourists, ecologists from the northern regions of Europe and elsewhere, that their stories may mingle with those of the locals.
A plunge into a different time set, another rhythm, of an uncommon quality.
Once the place is set to welcome workshops and that these have started, we wish to put in place evening events producing concerts and shows from the South of Italy, alternating with shows from overseas.
We would like to explore and establish translation within live shows, not simply by putting a subtitle, but by working directly with the actors and presenting shows in both Italian and French, later, Italian and other languages.
We would also like to organise during the months of April and/or September, free Italian workshops for local immigrants, but also to all persons, including those already speaking Italian but interested in this form of teaching for integration…
What will you find at TransumArti – Arts in transit?
TransumArti will offer a wide selection of theatre workshops (physical theatre, improvisation, masks, forum theatre…), language lessons through the medium of theatre (French and Italian) and cooking workshops (Calabrian style, homemade pasta, and pizza making). If you would like, you will be able to come with your tent, stay overnight on sight and share meals with us.
TransumArti will give participants from abroad the possibility of an alternative type of tourism linking health benefits and the environment, artistic or cooking workshops, in a beautiful scenic setting between mountain and sea, a few kilometers from the protohistoric archeological park of Broglio and the national archeological museum of Sibari; for fans of trekking there is the national park of Pollino; breathtaking landscapes of Civita’s devil bridge; 100 kms away there are the inhabitants of troglodytes (Sassi de Matera), listed world heritage by Unesco.
Local participants will have a chance to discover a foreign language (cooking and theatre lessons will be both in French or English and Italian), to meet participants from other lands, to see shows in French, to be able to travel afar without leaving their homeland.
We hope that a stay at TransumArti may help people understand and adopt more environmentally friendly daily habits (water savings, compost, a more natural treatment of plants, sawdust toilets, wetland waste management, making one’s own homemade cleaning products, etc…)
We hope that these activities will create a network of people and ideas between Italy, Belgium, France and beyond; that these exchanges will enable for local and foreign actors to enrich each other mutually and that the transit of art and craft, in time and space, may be ever increasing.