Why do I do what I do?

Beatrice Catanzaro
05 Oct / 09 Oct, 2015
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: temporality, participatory practices, engaged art, inter-subjectivity, responsibility

Did anyone ever ask you why do you do what you do? Have you ever tried to understand the deep forces that drive you to engage with your practice? Could you actually separate your practice from your life? This module aims to unfold the participants’ understanding of her/his practice and to look at her/his own work with a reflective and caring attitude, rather then an overly critical one.

We will explore notions of empathy, active listening and imaginative processes as tools for a truly engaging participatory practice, where the artist is never an external observer but a subject equally involved in the process.
We will then address inter-subjectivity as constructed narrative and the quintessential humankind’s imaginative capacity.

Collectively we will draw a constellation of attitudes, conditions and skills that might help us define a survival kit for participatory art practice.

During the week, every now and then, we will stretch our legs and backs and take some deep breaths to reconnect with our inner self…

October 5th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte, including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions (curated by Luca Furlan)
Workshop presentation and group presentation
Participatory Art Practice: Bait al Karama and A needle in the binding (Nablus, Palestine)

October 6th
Reflective thinking vs critical thinking: participants' presentation
Unfolding engagement - some key factors
Empathy: a transformative potential
What is empathy and why it is essential to social coexistence
Mirror neurons and the development of empathic capacity
Warm empathy vs cold empathy - a personal story

October 7th
At art school, did anyone ask you why you do what you do?
We will go for a morning stroll and reflect on this essential question: what are MY deep pulses for doing (or wanting to do) what I do?
The walk will be followed by group reflections and the possibility of individual tutorials
Process vs project: the limits of a context-based approach
Reading of The loneliness of the project (Boris Groys)
Reflective thinking vs critical thinking: participants' presentation

October 8th
Inter-subjectivity: the imaginative capacity of humankind and the building of consensus through narratives
Reading of A brief History of Humankind (Dr. Yuval Noah Harari)
Reflective thinking vs. critical thinking: partecipants’ presentation
Video screening and discussion: “The century of the self – episode 1” (Adam Curtis)

October 9th
Collective breakfast
all day
Glossary for participatory practices: we will attempt to draw an open ended constellation of notions/attitudes/skills/ essential to the practice
Dinner party


A brief History of Humankind by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari




Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond



Beatrice Catanzaro’s current practice focuses on activating public participation and situations of mutual learning. She has been practicing throughout Europe, the Middle East and India. Her work has been exhibited internationally at (selection) MART Museum of Rovereto, Fundação Gulbenkian in Lisbon and the Espai d'Art Contemporani de Castelló (EACC) in Spain. In 2010, she moved to Palestine, where she currently teaches at the International Art Academy of Palestine (Ramallah) and initiated the participatory art project Bait al Karama in Nablus.
She is currently PhD research candidate at the Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK.

download the full documentation about the module and the mentor in PDF format

Participation fee
570.00 €