Cesare Pietroiusti
Aldo Spinelli
23 May / 27 May, 2016
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: Research, group behaviour, participation, temporality, circularity, creation of situations, art experiences, interactions, relational systems, alteration.
Module outline

Ring around the rosie
A pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down (*)

The geometrical figure of the circle has often provided a metaphorical expression for complex concepts, either philosophical, or historical, or religious, etc.

The time, an argument, a group of people, or music can normally proceed accordingly to a linear order, but they can also be imagined to have a circular motion.
In opposition to any historicist or evolutionist determinism, to the typical timeline of a CV, or to the statistical graphs of economic growth, the metaphor of the circle proposes an ecological and holistic vision where causes and effects, growth and de-growth are intertwined in a general balance, where one can make experience of the unexpected return of things, of sudden jumps and of supra-temporal connections between faraway events.

The idea of moving in a circle around something (either a problem, a place, or a concept) is commonly associated to a condition of fruitlessness but, in the development of a workshop, especially in an artistic context, the metaphor can help to frame and give meaning not only to a condition where work is shared in a non-hierarchical way, but also to an approach that does not face a problem only to find a solution, but rather look at it from different points of view, to find its abnormalities, its nuances, its ambiguities. The 360-degree approach can, in fact, be free from the constrictions of the right-or-wrong judgement and can instead linger on whatever characteristic of a given situation, and therefore be able to unveil, and use, its different cognitive, expressive, and critical potentialities.

The workshop will try to develop the following experiment: how is it possible to enter into and to observe an unknown and abandoned space without automatically thinking of a specific function and destination for it? How is it possible to read (or to listen to) a certain text without immediately trying to catch its meaning? Therefore, the workshop will propose practical session (singular and plural) that will include an extensive exploration of a specific abandoned site in the Biella area, as well as alternative ways of reading collectively a certain text. The discussion that will follow such sessions will try to ‘move around’ the concept themselves of judging, projecting, understanding. And it will try to do so by using methods of exchange of ideas based on circularity.

A working session will be dedicated to meet and discuss with Aldo Spinelli, an artist who operates, with both humour and rigours, between visual art, mathematics, game theory and geometry.

(*) Some interpretations, suggestive although not scientifically proved, connect this famous refrain with the epidemic plague that devastated the whole Europe in the second half of the seventeenth century. A pink spot on the skin seems to refer to the aspect of the early symptoms of the plague.


May 23rd
Guided tour to Cittadellarte (Curated by Elena Rosina), including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions.
Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy.  
Introduction to the theme through readings and discussions.
Self-presentations of the participants.

May 24th
Site visit to the Oropa Bagni, former thermal bath complex built in the XIX century and abandoned in the 1960s.
Discussion and feed-backs.

May 25th
Meeting with Aldo Spinelli.
Collective reading session focused on “The time of the king”, first chapter extract from Given time: I. Counterfeit money by Jacques Derrida.
Discussion and feed-backs.

May 26th
Discussion: how to connect and give reciprocal meaning to the two experiences of the site visit and of the reading.
Discussion: how to translate/ transform such connection and such experiences for a public of non-participants.
Organization of the presentation.

May 27th
Final part of the organization.
Public presentation.


The mentor will prepare a reader for participants with key texts, some of which will be discussed during the week.
• J. Derrida, Given time: I. Counterfeit money, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1992
• D. Hofstadter, Godel Escher, Bach, chapter V "Recursive Structures and Processes", chapter VI "The Location of Meaning", Penguin Books, London, 1979
• J. Lacan, The Seminar (Vol. Book VII): The Ethics of Psychoanalysis 1959-1960, Chapter IV “Das Ding”, chapter V “Das Ding (II), chapter VI “On the moral law”, chapter VIII “The object and the thing”, chapter IX “On creation ex nihilo”, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1992
• M. Mauss, The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies, Routledge, Oxon, 1990
• F.J. Varela, "The Creative Circle: Sketches on the Natural History of Circularity", in The Invented Reality: How Do We Know What We Believe We Know?, curated by P. Watzlawick, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1984
• P. Virno, E così via, all'infinito, Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 2010
• P. Watzlawick, J. Helmick Beavin, D.D. Jackson, Pragmatics of Human Communication, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1967



Cesare Pietroiusti is an Italian artist based in Rome. Trained as a medical doctor, he studied Psychiatry in the late 1970s. Co-founder of the Artist-run space "Jartrakor" in Rome and of the magazine "Rivista di Psicologia dell'Arte" (1979-1984) and one of the coordinators of the "Oreste" projects (1997-2001), his work focuses on paradoxical situations that are hidden in common relationships and in ordinary acts. His book “Non Functional Thoughts” published in 1997 gathers many of his projects, both realized and un-realized. Pietroiusti teaches at the Laboratorio di Arti Visive, IUAV University, Venice, (2004-) and is MFA Faculty at LUCAD, Lesley University, Boston (2009-).

Aldo Spinelli is an artist based in Milan. He was raised up in Brera art academy cultural environment during the '60s and '70s, he has shown his works in 35 solo exhibitions and participated to more than hundred group exhibits in galleries and museums all over the world. The conceptual feature of his artistic production has placed him close to the world of games, like a tumbler between words, in order to turn art into a game and game into art, in a continuous and cyclic pursuit between form and content, signifier and meaning. 
Since 1991 is a member of Oplepo movement (Opificio di letteratura potenziale) and is italian contributor for Oupeinpo (Ouvroir de peinture potentielle). When he does not make art, he writes for Artribune and Pagina99.

The residency fee includes accomodation and half-board.

Participation fee
570.00 €