paolavillani | 2016_The Forgetting of Air_Francesca Grilli
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2016_The Forgetting of Air_Francesca Grilli

Installation, Visual Art

Design and realization of the installation.


In this performance, The Forgetting of Air, conceived for Italy as a ‘gate of Europe’, the material shared between the audience and the performers is air itself. Breathing is the first individual autonomous action that brings life into being as the end of breathing marks its absence. Starting from a research around the figures at the margins of society, the work grounds in the idea of air as territory of exchange a reflection on the contemporary migration processes.
The performers, who left their countries risking, in some cases, their life in sea waters, share with the audience their breath as a flow of meaning; the proximity and distance in a space filled with steam and in a time marked by their breathing and its potential interruption, contained in a voice that remains, resounds and share the same air with us. The performance has a site specific aspect: everytime we perform in a city, I invite 2-3 refugees to join the group of performers. To me, it is very important to involve new people and the immigration policy in every city we go and to build a group of performer made of people coming from different countries (e.g. Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Africa, Kurdistan, etc…) including both professionals and non-professionals.
The composition of the group aims at building a deeper relationship with the audience, which plays an important in the performance: the latter goes on for more than an hour and people are invited to define the time they want to stay, being free to enter and leave the space when they want. In this way, the audience is invited to take part to a process of sharing where they decide what they want to share and for how long.


Produced by
Contemporanea Festival / Teatro Metastasio, Prato, Italy

Terni Festival-Teatro Stabile dell’Umbria, Italy
MAXXI Museo Nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Italy

Kunstencentrum Vooruit, Gent, Belgium
Umberto Di Marino, Naples