“Streets of… a Living Archaeology” was presented by ALDATERRA Projects at Rich Mix in January 2013 and seen by an audience of about 6,000 people. This site-specific installation was conceived by the artist Alda Terracciano in collaboration with the designer Kristina Hertel to provide new ways of engaging with her sensory journey around the world.
Rich Mix Exhibition: 3rd – 27th Jan 2013, all day
Private view: 3rd Jan 2013, 6pm – 8pm, Rich Mix
Exhibition tours with the artist: 9th Jan, hourly from 2pm – 8pm, Rich Mix
Artists’ Salon: 26th Jan 2013 12.30pm – 2.30pm, Rich Mix
Rich Mix, 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA (www.RichMix.org.uk )
The seed inspiration for the installation comes from the artist’s long-term interest and research on the British intercultural landscape and London in particular. As the most diverse city in Europe and as a crossroad of local and global cultural identities, London represents the pivot of a wheel whose rays reach out towards other places in the world in a cultural continuum. Hence the installation reconnects audiences with their cultural heritage, stirring up their ancestral memories through a multi-layered sensory immersion in the streets of the cities portrayed in the artwork.
Aiming to question received cultural stereotypes, “Streets of…7 cities in 7 minutes” seeks to break down cultural barriers and re-evaluate notions of migration, heritage and cultural identity. The project focuses on the observation and extraction of specific memes embedded in everyday life, memes being the units of cultural ideas, symbols or practices transmitted from one person to another through speech, gestures and rituals. In putting the cultural DNA of the seven cities on display, the artist asks the audience to consider the interconnectedness of the cultures under observation and to reassess the way in which these places are reflected in the streets of London.In Alda’s own words “art is something that happens in people’s minds. Therefore I conceived ‘Streets of…7 cities in 7 minutes’ as a space where the interaction between memory, human body and the urban environment should be freely re-interpreted according to people’s own personal narratives and stories.”.The Living Archaeology of the PlaceThis view has organically led to the development of a creative engagement programme called the Living Archaeology of the Place. Digging deeper through the layers of the artworks, members of the public have been invited to take part in a series of memory sessions, aimed at exploring the intersection between art and life, people’s personal memories of the cities and their feelings of cultural belonging.
As a legacy of the principles underpinning London’s Cultural Olympiad, this programme has used art to engage a varied range of Londoners at a number of locations, including the Greenwich Peninsula Festival in summer 2012 and the Red Gallery, as part of the Urban Dialogues Festival, in November 2012.People’s responses were exceptionally positive. The photographer Abbas Zahedi commented: “I believe the aesthetic of watching what I can only describe as the rhythm of existence has been a deeply moving and spiritual experience”. The participant Julio Silva Filho remarked: “Brilliant. It took me back to my roots and possibly even those roots I always took for granted and had not realised I had, especially body language”.A display of objects, photos, video recordings and textual comments evidencing people’s interactions with the artworks was exhibited together with the video sound artworks at Rich Mix. The public was invited to contribute to the exhibition through online submissions and a series of interactive activities taking place at Rich Mix during the exhibition. The exhibition and the public engagement programme were supported by Arts Council England.
The Artists’ SalonTo further explore the aesthetic, political and cultural layers of the work, the artist hosted an Artists’ Salon on 26th January 2013 at Rich Mix from 12.30pm – 2.30pm. A panel discussion between artists, activists and academics raised questions about the impact of free mobility and digital recording on contemporary art practice, the nature of performance, the notion of the ‘theatre of everyday life’, and of sensory cities. This event aimed to unearth the inspirations behind the project and begin posing new questions stemming from the cultural and philosophical nature of the artwork.
Click here to watch Visitors’ feedbackhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oI32okZPWq0Video Sound Installation Trailer