Twenty years of Lungomare in Bolzano: Interview with the founders

The twentieth edition of Lungomare, the cooperative dedicated to the planning and production of cultural initiatives with great social impact, will be celebrated with a rich program of events in Bolzano. From 12 noon on Saturday September 30th and all day on Sunday October 1st, debates, concerts and performances will enliven the Lungomare venue. Among the personalities invited to participate are the artists Marzia Miglior and Martino Gamper, the Moroccan performance poet Wissal Houbabi and the Viennese DJ Seba Kayan.
Together with the founders Angelika Burtscher and Danielle LupoWe have traced the twenty years of Lungomare’s life, always with an eye on the future.

The artistic directors of the Lungomare Bozen, 2023. Photo Elisa Cappellari

Interview with Angelika Burscher and Daniele Lupo

How and when was Lungomare born? And why does it have that name?
Lungomare was born in 2003 when we graduated from the Design Academy where we studied together. We were interested in this area at the geographical, linguistic and cultural border. We were both “foreigners” in this country and therefore could have an even “different” appearance. It was clear that this was a place where we could open an experimental comparative platform that supported the activity of our studio (Studio Lupo & Burtscher) and could initiate transdisciplinary discourses and different approaches to creating culture through design and art. Cultural diversity was and is an opportunity. And this is how we have always implemented Lungomare, as a constant reflection on the problems that the area in which we operate raises, from the particular to the general. Even though these are often aspects and topics that arise here, they are usually also reflected elsewhere, because after all, every area reflects topics on a small scale that affect many other contexts. And hence the idea of ​​a “seaside promenade” in Bolzano, a place that offered a space for disorientation, but in a poetic way through the beauty that art offers, and made us imagine having the sea in front of us while looking at magnificent Rivers look out We are surrounded by high mountains.

Lungomare’s 20th anniversary celebrations are extremely rich: what can we expect?
Directly by the sea 20 celebrates the twenty-year journey of Lungomare (founded in 2003 as an association and since 2020 as a cooperative) by launching a program of performances, dialogues and concerts within the framework of its headquarters, where an exhibition of projects, ideas, visions and impacts achieved so far. There are many people who take part in these two days, they are people with whom we have a friendship, a jointly developed project and also research that we have perhaps been doing for years – here in Bolzano as elsewhere, in other cities in Europe . But they are also people we meet for the first time thanks to the rich network that surrounds us. We envisioned celebrating this important milestone by bringing our community together while looking ahead to future collaborations, exchanges and dialogues. Looking back helps us look forward: we come together to imagine wishes for the future and share them in a common action that can respond to the urgencies we face.

Sophie Krier, Stéphan Verlet Bottéro, OVERTIME, 2019. Photo Jörg Oschmann
Sophie Krier, Stéphan Verlet Bottéro, OVERTIME, 2019. Photo Jörg Oschmann

Right by the sea: between ethics and aesthetics

Speaking of emergencies: Your company is characterized by strong activist behavior. How defined are the boundaries between ethics and aesthetics today?
All Lungomare projects are rooted in everyday life, they are embedded in the real and concrete experience that people have of and in public spaces; Therefore, ethics and aesthetics coexist and feed each other. This boundary often becomes fluid, dynamic, it moves and in this movement it seems to us that ethical questions and aesthetic expressions work together to address cultural and social problems that concern us and to intervene at a political level to initiate processes of transformation and empowerment to activate.

Do you think this is an effective approach?
Of course, this is a very complex topic: if on the one hand it opens up important scenarios and practices of conveying content for social transformation, on the other hand it claims to react and intervene with greater responsibility on the effects of the appropriation of protest languages ​​​artistic in the context. How much does the spread of these languages ​​in artistic and cultural contexts affect the movements and actions of activists? How reliable and likely is it that artists and designers take on the role of activists? This unstable border, which affects recent cultural production, is certainly one of the research fields that we want to investigate or simply monitor through the transdisciplinary processes we implement, where, in addition to artists, we also include activists, scientists, geographers inside, and expert* different every time*.

Cover of the book AS-IF, 16 dialogues about sheep, black holes and movement, 2023
Cover of the book AS-IF – 16 dialogues about sheep, black holes and movement, 2023

AS-IF, the new Lungomare publication

They have published a book that collects topics that are close to Lungomare’s heart. Tell us more
The book, which is published on the 20th anniversary of Lungomare, is called AS IF – 16 dialogues about sheep, black holes and movement and brings together 54 authors in the form of 16 dialogues, it is published by Spector Books (Leipzig, Germany) and is edited by Daniele Lupo and Angelika Burtscher. Lungomare’s practice is based on dialogue and listening and its projects always begin with a dialogue between disciplines, cultural workers, citizens, artists and of course the geographical and cultural context in which we live. The book collects dialogues between past, present and future, between a multitude of identities and origins: exchange, mutual learning and walking on different and deliberately precarious terrains form the basis on which artistic and cultural practice builds their own projects. Hence the idea of ​​inviting 16 authors from among those with whom Lungomare has worked over the last twenty years, and in turn asking them to invite as many, in order to open a polyphonic discussion.

How is the volume structured?
In the four chapters that make up the publication – Activation of contextual practices, Public space as a space for action, for sharing knowledge, for a sense of belonging – are reading suggestions that invite us to dare, to think outside the box and to focus on the possible changes for our society and the environment as well as the associated challenges. Together we set out to explore the potential of artistic and cultural production to create alternative ways of reading what surrounds us, cultivating critical action, thinking and shaping the future together. How is it possible not only to reveal values ​​and forms, but also to question them? How can we cultivate a constant phase of research even in the search for the other? Can uncertainties become impulses to renegotiate our tomorrow? In addition, we have invited authors to discuss these questions in two round tables, which will be the focus Directly by the sea 20while Martino Gamper and Marzia Miglior created two “special” interventions for the book.

Twenty years is a long time: do you look back with regret or are you satisfied with the work you have done so far?
It has been said that “Waiting is the greatest joy“And that is why, in these days of preparations in which we can already smell the celebrations, we can be nothing but happy to share with a large network of people and friends a moment of celebration, exchange and sharing of being together.
We are happy that Lungomare, thanks to the numerous research carried out by the various professionals we support, has been giving us the opportunity for twenty years to read together the complexities of this world and to think about how we treat each other and want to live, how we want cities and suburbs too change and that we want to forge new relationships across geographical, cultural, religious and linguistic boundaries. I think that Lungomare has always and even today given us relationships that are never taken for granted, experienced and built step by step, relationships that stimulate and encourage us to go further and really create a space for ourselves To cross boundaries of thinking, wanting and acting that we often perceive as insurmountable.

To find out more about the program for Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st, click Here.

Alberto Villa

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