Going Public '08 - Press Release

Port City Safari

Bristol, Rotterdam, Tangier, Marseille, Palermo, Athens, Liverpool

Project by: aMAZElab, Milan
Art director: Claudia Zanfi
In cooperation with: Arnolfini Art Center, Bristol; Culture Commission European Community

Since September 2007 the aMAZElab cultural lab of Milan (www.amaze.it) has developed the international project PORT CITY SAFARI, supported by the European Community,  in cooperation with the Arnolfini Art Center of Bristol; the project also received the  Culture 2007 Grant.

PORT CITY SAFARI is a journey touching some of the main port cities in Europe and in the Mediterranean area, participating in the project with researches, exhibitions and seminars, organised by local museums and university institutions.

Started in Bristol, the first stopover of the exhibition Port City. On mobility and exchange, and after the site-specific projects, during the Istanbul and Athens Biennials, PORT CITY SAFARI has explored the cities of Rotterdam, Tangier, Marseilles and Palermo. The project was presented in its entirety during the “Liverpool Biennial” 2008 and and will close in Sassuolo (Modena) in November 2008 with a series of  workshops and exhibitions.

PORT CITY SAFARI represents an international network of cultural exchanges, exhibitions, a series of publications and art platforms. The project highlights diverse research projects and trajectories dedicated to trade, mobility and productivity in participating port cities.
The following are the stopovers of the journey/safari:

>Biennials of ISTANBUL and ATHENS<
September 2007

International artist Zafos Xagoraris presents his project Port Ampliphons in Biennials of Istanbul and Athens.
In the two cities during their Biennials, aMAZElab has produced site-specific sound performance of the Greek artist Zafos Xagoraris. A port city is composed of areas like the water front, docks, wharehouses, beaches, where sea and the urban context merge. These areas are sometimes neglected, either temporarily or permanently, delapidated and largely underpopulated. These empty, deserted and silent urban spaces are both specific and peculiar to the city, while also representing its dark side. In order to make these places come alive, the project “Port Ampliphons” aims at increasing the volume of silence permeating these areas with an amplifying system: expanding the sound from the water front, the mast tops, or the wind. This solid and liquid threshhold is present along the boundary line of many harbours or coastal regions. The project aims at putting together a mapping of sounds from similar settings in order to create an archive of sounds from the port-cities.

Partners: Istanbul Biennial; Istanbul Modern; Athens Biennial; The J.F. Costopoulos Foundation, Athens.

September – November 2007

PORT CITY. On mobility and exchange
SEVERAL ARTISTS: from Meschac Gaba to Maria Magdalena Campos Pons.
Claudia Zanfi is the co-curator – at the Arnolfini Art Center in Bristol - of Port City. On mobility and exchange, an international network of cultural exchanges, an exhibition and a series of publications and platforms, where diverse trajectories regarding the theme of commerce, mobility and “contemporary slavery” are interrelated with port cities, through art projects by: Maria Thereza Alves, Yto Barrada, Ursula Biemann, Maria Magdalena Campos Pons, Mary Evans, Meschac Gaba, Raimi Gbadamosi, Going Public/ Atlante Mediterraneo, Charles Heller, Kathleen Herbert, irational, Melanie Jackson, Helena Maleno/ Womens Link International, La Pocha Nostra, Eric van Lieshout, Cildo Meireles, Naeem Mohaimen, William Pope Kate Rich, Zineb Sedira, Duncan Speakman, Hala Elkoussy, Osservatorio Tecnologico.

Partners: Arts Council England; Bristol City Council

May 2008


The first exhibition of the video material by Yto Barrada at “La Cinematheque de Tanger”
A survey of the contemporary city and its cultures ought to contemplate and pursue dialogue and exchanges regarding its diverse identities.
In its expanding forays along the Mediterranean coasts, where our cultural roots are found, after the projects Cyprus Day and Re-Thinking Beirut, the aMAZElab association analyses the culture of Morocco in depth, and in particular the city of Tangier: exchanges, flows, migrations, are its main themes. Special attention has been paid to the project by artist Yto Barrada who has reopened an old 1930 movie theatre in Gran Socco Square, in the old town centre, near the Medina and the old markets.  The artist's project envisages the daily screening of an auteur's feature film, a collection of videos and a small public library.

Partners: La Cinemathèque de Tanger; the Province of Milan, Cultural department; La Triennale di Milano

Xavier Arenos presents a project on migratory flows between Tangier and Gibraltar.
The Spanish artist, together with researchers and cultural collectives of artists and activists from Morocco and Spain, has produced a research and a tabloid on the relationships of migratory flows between Tangier and Gibraltar, with a special attention paid to the situation in the Spanish enclaves, and human rights concerning mobility. The project has been designed by Martì Pera, Metropolis Master in Urban Studies at Barcelona University, and presented at the Can Xalant ( Centre de Creaciò I Pensament Contemporani De Matarò)

Partners: Can Xalant, Matarò-Barcelona; CCCB, Barcelona

June 2008

Stealth Group presents the project linked to Rotterdam as port city
The architects' collective of Rotterdam has produced a project consisting in a sequence of images and tales referring to the city harbour.
Four scenes, from two different places – one around the popular image of Rotterdam as a Port City; the other around the contemporary reality of an industrial landscape.
The first two scenes have taken place in a room of the Seamen’s House (a hotel for sailors and ship crews). The second part of the project has taken place in the new industrial area of Rotterdam harbour, Maasvlakte. For the third and fourth scene, one of the largest container terminals in Europe and Maasvlakte 2, the recent enlargement of the port of Rotterdam, have been chosen.

Partners: ArchitectureBiennale in Venice – Dutch Pavilion

July 2008

Marcello Maloberti presents for the first time his project based on interviews of dock workers in  Palermo .
The artist has collected the portraits and testimonies of workers, men and women, encountered in the port, on several topics: work, family, love, everyday life. A selection of the more than one hundred interviews is presented and assembled in a video shot by video artist Daniela Manzolli, which has engendered stories, journeys, superstitions, tales. As a backdrop for these fragments of life, a beach towel with marine, terrestrial or lunar figures. A port is also that: a place of exchange, a link between land and sea,  reality and imagination. The work is a sort of sentimental journey and a performance leading visitors through words, songs and the surrounding noise.
The Palermo project also envisaged a reading workshop dedicated to the sea and the port: a guided tour of the harbour area by young artists, writers and architects.

Partners: MiBAC Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Rome; EXPA/La Triennale di Milano Off, Palermo; Municipality of Palermo; Port Authority and Harbour Master, Palermo.

August 2008

A symposium anticipatine Liverpool Biennial.
Saturday 23rd August 2008, at the A Foundation in Liverpool, aMAZElab coordinated an international symposium and presented the result of one year of work and research around the journey–safari exploring the theme of  the city/sea/port relationship. 
The symposium saw the participation of: Claudia Zanfi, aMAZElab Board, Milan; Paul Domela, Board of the Liverpool Biennale; Tom Trevor, Arnolfini Board, Bristol; Marc Waugh, Board of A Foundation, Liverpool. The event is a sort of preview for the Liverpool Biennial, and aMAZElab presented a series of videos, maps, sounds, stories by artists participating in the projects produced along the PortCitySafari trajectory.

November - December 2008

The first exhibition dedicated to ZAFOS XAGORARIS in Italy
Sassuolo, the last stopover of the journey touching port cities participating in the PortCitySafari project represents a very interesting case for its multifaceted urban and social layering.
Here, from November 16 through 22, a workshop on the city was presented, with young students from Sassuolo meeting their peers coming from Greece or other European countries. Their guide through the workshop was the international artist Zafos Xagoraris, who in September 2007 had already participated in the PortCitySafari project with a sound performance-installation in the cities of Athens, Istanbul and Bristol.
Starting from the text by the writer Italo Calvino “The invisibile cities”, the project intended mapping the city through the collection of sounds/silence/noise which are typical of specific areas, the suburbs, downtown, schools, markets, squares. The workshop, in its being inherently experimental, intended fostering cultural exchanges between the town's young people in a dialogue with their peers from Europe and the Mediterranean, about a new concept of urban space, sound installation and immaterial architecture.

At the end of the workshop, participants collected a sort of archive of many and diverse sound spaces, places and images strongly caracterising  the "Port City" of Sassuolo.
From 22nd November to 21st December, you could see the exhibition of the works coming out of the workshop, at Cultural Centre la Casa nel Parco, Parco Ducale di Sassuolo (MO) and the first Italian exhibition dedicated to the international artist Zafos Xagoraris, with a sound installation in the public space of the city.

Partners: Municipality of Sassuolo; Province of Modena; Foundation Cassa Risparmio di Modena; MiBAC Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Rome; Studio Pesci, Bologna.