Evolutionary Populations: The Seeds Of The World Waiting To Germinate

Luigi Coppola
08 Jul / 12 Jul, 2019
Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto
Luigi Coppola workshop is part of the summer camp titled CLIMATE ACTION, addressing the human impact on our planet. During the five-day camp, two other visiting artists (Brett Bloom and Fernado Garcia Dory) will concurrently promote their workshops, stimulating join activities and group discussions. Although each participant will have the possibility to approach the practices of three artists at the same time during common activities, you will be divided into three groups, each led by a single visiting artist. We therefore kindly ask the applicants to indicate one preference in their application.

The work of artist Luigi Coppola occurs at the boundaries between performance, video and public art. His research is oriented towards participatory practices and politically motivated actions, which attempt to activate new collective imaginations, starting with the analysis of specific social, political and cultural contexts. After some initial experiences in experimental theatre, the artist developed his practice researching on mechanisms for relationships and the representation of social dynamics.

In 2011 Coppola participates in establishing the House of Agricolture at Castiglione d’Otranto (Lecce). The project realizes the agriculture festival “Notte Verde: Agriculture, utopie e comunità” with the aim of discussing themes such as biodiversity, permaculture, and sustainability. Within this platform, Coppola established in 2013 the “Parco Comune dei Frutti Minori” (Common garden of minor fruits?) to regenerate plants of the Salento fruit heritage (the many varieties of figs, the jujube, the cornula, the rowan, the mulberries and many other native species to be protected) on reclaimed lands. In addition to being an ever-expanding educational garden, where to host laboratories and seminars on agricultural and environmental issues, the park is also a viviterium, a place of memory and spirit.
Moreover, in 2018 the artist initiated the Scuola di Agriculture (the School of Agricultures), which combines agro-ecological learning with artistic strategies of theatre, philosophy, and music, and builds upon the participatory and commoning dynamics of the community of farmers and activists who formed the cooperative Casa delle Agriculture (House of Agricultures). In a region brutally affected by industrialized agriculture, Scuola connects to the cooperative’s work of recovering and revitalizing abandoned land, generating solidarity-based economies, and strengthening community. In collaboration with migrant and asylum-seeker associations, local elementary and secondary schools, agricultural institutes, and associations for the elderly, the Scuola is an experiment in social solidarity. This extended community of farmers, migrants, artists, activists and citizens carry out actions.


At the summer camp, artist Luigi Coppola will share, expand and contaminate the practice he initiated in Castiglione d’Otranto, South of Italy, called Scuola di Agriculture (School of Cultures and Agricultures). The project is a pedagogical platform that combines agroecological learning with artistic strategies of theatre, philosophy and public art, and builds upon the participatory and commoning dynamics of the temporary community.
One of the main themes and practices to explore is the “Evolutionary Populations”. The term refers to the practice of participatory genetic improvement, which is spreading more and more on a global scale and which offers an interesting outlook on a number of present day issues. This movement focuses on: ensuring food security despite climate-related uncertainties, promoting agrobiodiversity in order to improve the nutritional characteristics of the crops themselves, giving control of the seeds back to the farmers thus creating strong participatory and commoning dynamics. The chances that evolutionary populations have to act on these issues are directly related to their ability to evolve over time.
The method involves sowing mixtures containing hundreds of different varieties of seeds which come from different geographic areas of the world and leaving it to the earth to choose the varieties to grow depending on climatic and soil conditions. This agricultural choice lends itself to becoming a metaphor of how to welcome diversity without prejudice while challenging the false idea of indigenous (autochtonous) species, spreading the seeds of a new and ever-changing culture.
The notions of reproduction, crossbreeding, belonging, evolution/order/complexity, social/political engagement/entanglement will be central. The holistic approach of permaculture will be combined with physical and theatrical exercises of Legislative Theatre (Augusto Boal's legacy), critical observation of the monocultural landscape with experiment of polyphonic composition, and techniques of plant propagation with the comprehension of the patterns (frontiers) of commoning.


Day 1 - 8 July
10 am - 12 pm: Guided tour of Cittadellarte
12 pm - 1 pm: presentation of the whole week and first presentation of the first Visiting Artist
1 pm - 2,30 pm: Lunch break
2,30 pm - 4 pm: presentation of the other two Visiting Artists
4,30 pm - 6,30 pm: Exercises on relational dynamics and polyphony
What is in a name?
Implications of language and terminologies embedded in dominant monocultural approaches. How can one challenge the existing vocabulary underlyin g the politics of traditional botanical taxonomies and classifications? What new signifiers can agro political practices articulate in order to question the power exercised through dispossession and exploitation of land, communities and biodiversity?

Luigi Coppola’s presentation on:
1. The engagement in Casa delle Agriculture: Restanza, Agricultures, Utopias and commoning process
2. Art and political engagement: exercises on political chorality
3. Evolutionary Populations

Day 2 - 9 July
10 am - 1 pm: Visit at Visit at The Wool Company to to have a presentation of wool production in the area of Biella and the activity of the Wool Consortium, by Nigel Thompson.
1 pm  - 2,30 pm: Lunch break
3 pm - 6 pm: Exercises on relational dynamics and polyphony.
The historical processes of cultural domination and domestication of the nature.
Evolution, plant breeding and biodiversity.

Day 3 - 10 July
Trekking day Lago della Vecchia (Piedicavallo, Biella) and group exercise: proposition of exercises about resonance of the voice, harmony and conflict with the (natural) environment.

Day 4 - 11 July
10 am - 1 pm: Exercises on relational dynamics and polyphony
Artistic commoning: how art process can subvert the structure of sovereignty and construct the common.
1 pm - 2,30 pm: Lunch break
3 pm - 6 pm: Group walk. Principles of Permaculture and Agroforestry. Ev. reading of some extract of texts (Holmgrein, Mollison, Fukuoka, Ceccarelli, Morton…)

Day 5 - 12 July
Presentation and exchange between groups



Luigi Coppola (Belgium/Italy) is an artist, activist and promoter of participative projects and politically-motivated actions. His artistic practice is connected with the process of social re-appropriation of the commons, which starts with an analysis of specific social, political and cultural contexts. He trained both as a scientist and in the field of art.
Luigi is involved with Casa delle Agriculture, a project in Castiglione d’Otranto, Southern Italy, which seeks to revive abandoned land, repopulate the countryside, generate a sustainable economy and strengthen community cohesion. As part of this, Luigi is co-director of the Green Night Festival, which combines agroecological learning with artistic strategies, and builds upon the participatory and commoning dynamics of the community of migrants, farmers and activists.
He has developed projects, performances, installations and exhibitions in international contexts, including: Fondazione Merz Turin, 2018; BAK Utrecht, 2018; Kunsthaus Graz, 2017; Quadriennale Roma, 2017; Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn, 2017; Teatro Continuo, Milan, 2016; Parckdesign, Brussels, 2016; Athens Biennale, Athens, 2015; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris, 2012; Steirischer Herbst, Graz, 2012 and Democracy Biennale, Turin, 2009.
Luigi was joint artistic director with Michelangelo Pistoletto of the Urban Art Biennale in Bordeaux – Evento 2011, Art for an Urban Re-evolution, and part of the research group Art in Society at the Fontys Academy of Tilburg, NL. In 2017/2018 he was a fellow at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, NL.


* The participation fee includes accomodation and breakfast.


Participation fee
280.00 €