Rituals Of The Contemporary | open call & selected residents

Fiamma Montezemolo
Cristiana Giordano
14 Jul / 20 Jul, 2019
Cittadellarte, Biella | Oasi Zegna, Trivero
TOPICS/TAGS: rite, ritual, ritualistic, liminal, liminoid, performance, art, anthropology, process, change, threshold, crossing, transformative


We are glad to present the group of the six participants in the UNIDEE workshop Rituals of the Contemporary:
Vitalij Strigunkov (1991, Lithuania); Elena Artemenko (1988, Russia); Antonio Ianniello (1979, Italy); Amy Pekal (1993, Poland / US / The Netherlands); Eleonora Roaro (1989, Italy); Lucandrea Baraldi (1991, Italy / The Netherlands).


This is an open call for applications to partake in Rituals of the contemporary, a residential module conceived for Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto and Fondazione Zegna by Fiamma Montezemolo and developed under the umbrella of UNIDEE (curated by Valerio Del Baglivo and directed by Juan E. Sandoval, within the general direction of Cittadellarte’s director Paolo Naldini).

This residency module is supported by Fondazione Zegna and will take place between Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto in Biella and Fondazione Zegna in Trivero (BI), Italy.


Module Outline

This module aims to reflect on the notion of the ritual, its current meaning and practice. In the last years many disciplines (religion studies, anthropology, philosophy, art, socio-biology) have approached the ritualistic and its role in making ‘visible’ a certain order in a specific context, in showing ‘the proven way of doing something’ which is the etymology of the word. As Catherine Bell says, ritualization is "a way of acting that is designed and orchestrated to distinguish and privilege what is being done in comparison to other, usually more quotidian, activities".
The ritual involves, in general, a series of choreographed practices based on images, words, activities, objects, symbols that are organized in a performative act. The ritualistic act requires whomever is involved to cross 3 phases: separation / threshold / aggregation (V. Turner). The initiated is pushed to ‘plunge’ in a sort of liminal phase in which he/she is immersed in an anti-structure/chaos (changing clothes, food, hallucination, dwelling in unusual spaces, loss of usual cultural references, etc.) for a definite period of time and in a specific space in order to re-emerge to a renewed status and way to influence the cosmos.
The participants will be invited to reflect on the ritual and envision their own performative act. They will do so by recreating a ‘rite of passage’, or ‘seasonal rite’, or ‘life event rite’, or ‘rite of exchange’ of their own choosing, through an investigation of the ritual in art, focusing the module on contemporary socio-cultural rites in the territory of Trivero and Oasi Zegna. In classic anthropology, the main understanding of the ritual is that the ‘liminal phase’ brings ultimately to an act of reintegration in a certain societal group. In contrast, our main question will be: could an art work make the liminal a more permanent condition and bring us to a new order instead of a preestablished one? We will work on the association of performance and ritual stressing their processual, indefinite dimension, and transformative possibilities, thus making the threshold of the liminal the main source of our creative acts.


Launched by Michelangelo Pistoletto in 1999, UNIDEE is the higher educational programme for art and social change of Cittadellarte - Fondazione Pistoletto. Weaving together moments of interdisciplinary research, knowledge sharing and practical activities, the objective of the programme is to provide the participants with inspiration, motivation and instruments to activate or develop artistic initiatives based on the engagement of local ecologies. Open to artists and professionals from all over the world through residential dynamics, the programme intends to form “artivators”, i.e. people working at the boundaries between artistic practices, processes of social change and collaborations with communities outside the art world.

Fondazione Zegna was set up on 1st December 2000 by the Zegna Family.
Its mission is to give continuity to the values, philosophy and work of Ermenegildo Zegna, who in 1910 in Trivero, in the Biella Alps, founded the wool mill that carries his name to this day. Following his example, quality and dedication may live in harmony with protection of our natural environment, social wellbeing and the cultural development of the local community.
Fondazione Zegna is based in Trivero, where Casa Zegna, an historical archive and cultural center is also situated.
The Foundation plans and coordinates international humanitarian initiatives in four areas of activity:
• conservation and enhancement of environmental resources;
• sustainable development of local communities;
• culture and education;
• health and wellness.
In 2008 Fondazione Zegna established the ALL'APERTO (OUTDOORS) project curated by Andrea Zegna and Barbara Casavecchia. with the aim of broadening access to contemporary art and its values, the project supports the realization of a series of site-specific permanent artworks, created in the Trivero area, aimed at the local community and all visitors.

You are eligible to apply if (all conditions below must be met):
• You are a creative professional (visual artist, designer, architect, curator, researcher,etc.) active in any field anywhere in the world;
• You have a fluent knowledge of the English language;
• You submit all the required documentation as part of your application in the correct format and by the given deadline.

A joint jury, composed of Anna Zegna (President, Fondazione Zegna), Fiamma Montezemolo (mentor, Rituals of the contemporary), Juan Sandoval (Director, UNIDEE and Art Office, Cittadellarte), Valerio Del Baglivo (Visiting Curator of UNIDEE, Cittadellarte) and Paolo Naldini (General Director, Cittadellarte), will operate the selection of n. 6 participants.
The selection will be based on artistic merit and the consistency of the candidates' practice with the aims of Rituals of the contemporary and UNIDEE.

The 6 residency GRANTS include:
• Participation to the residential module Rituals of the contemporary mentored by Fiamma Montezemolo;
• Full board;
• Accommodation (single room, shared bathroom facilities – for 8 nights);
• Medical Insurance (accidents only);
• Use of a shared studio space and workshop facilities.
All costs for travels and Visa are intended at the sole expenses of the selected participants.

Selected participants are expected to be in Biella from Saturday, 13th July to Sunday 21st, July 2019.

The application period for partaking in Rituals of the contemporary (14th – 20th July 2019) starts on 31st May 2019.
The deadline for submitting your application is Wednesday 19th June 2019, 11 pm CET.
Final results will be published on the UNIDEE's website as well as on the UNIDEE's social media pages by 28th June 2019.
Please, note that only selected participants will be contacted when the selection process is over.

Applicants must submit their application by email to: unidee@cittadellarte.it stating: “UNIDEE/ZEGNA 2019 residency application (your name)” as a subject line.
Please remember: only up to 8 MB per email.

Applicants must attach the following documents (up to 8 MB in total):
(1) the application form (download here)
(2) a selected portfolio (max 3 projects, one single PDF, max 6 MB)
(3) Curriculum Vitae (PDF file)

Please also use one of the following upload services: Wetransfer or Dropbox.
Be careful with links' expiry dates!

All material must be labelled with surname followed by an underscore in the file name.

Only digital submissions are accepted.



Fiamma Montezemolo is both an artist (MFA, San Francisco Art Institute) and a cultural
anthropologist (Ph.D, Universita’ degli Studi Orientali di Napoli). She is an established scholar in border studies and an Associate Professor in the Department of Cinema&Digital Media at the University of California, Davis. She works mainly with installation and video. Her artwork has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally, and she is represented by the Magazzino gallery in Rome. She authored and co-authored several articles and books, among them: Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the global Border (Duke University Press), Here is Tijuana (Black Dog Publishing), and Senza Volto: l’etnicità e il genere nel movimento Zapatista (Liguori).

Photo by: Paolo Macioti



Cristiana Giordano is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her book, Migrants in Translation. Caring and the Logics of Difference in Contemporary Italy (University of California Press, 2014), won the Victor Turner Book Prize for ethnographic writing (2016), and the Boyer Prize in Psychoanalytic Anthropology (2017). This book addresses the politics of migration in Europe through the lens of ethno-psychiatry and its radical critique of psychiatric, legal, and moral categories of recognition of foreign others. Her current research investigates new ways of rendering ethnographic material into artistic forms. Together with playwright and director Greg Pierotti, she has created and produced Unstories, and Unstories II (roaming), two 50-minute performances roughly around the current “refugee crisis” in Europe.