If Body 2023
If Body is a public program of visual and performing arts, focusing on the body as an artistic language and a transformative learning methodology based on experiential involvement.
If Body is conceived as an annual review, unfolding through a series of events that will resonate throughout the city, fostering dialogue between central and peripheral areas, as well as between public and private institutions, historical collections, archives, and architecturally significant spaces, alongside independent and experimental venues. The program seeks to reimagine Rome as a collective body, interweaving places, narratives, and entities in motion, in order to spark reflections on the pressing issues of our time. It does so by engaging temporary visitors as well as the historical, informal, affective, marginalized, and invisibilized communities that inhabit or traverse the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
If Body will unveil throughout six dates an array of new performance works, exhibitions, talks, and workshops, featuring voices from the national and international art scene. Its aim is to delve deep into the cultural, social, and political implications associated with the body and corporeality, inviting reflection on the relationship between singularity and collectivity, between private memories and shared histories.
The program is anchored in many questions: how do contemporary societies perceive the body? What constructs and stereotypes shape and restrict its existence? To what extent do prevailing forms and canons of representation contribute to the dynamics of oppression and stigmatization of diverse bodies? Through the movements of bodies in public spaces, what stories are told, and for which subjectivities is a space deemed safe? How can we reconnect with the bodily dimension and acknowledge the sense of continuity that binds us to other living beings and the territories we inhabit? How can we rethink our being-in-the-world, mending the disconnection between thinking and feeling?
The title of the project draws inspiration from a note found in the appendix of Lauren Berlant’s book Cruel Optimism, commenting on a painting by artist Riva Lehrer. As the American theorist writes: “There is no verb, no action, only a tendency that’s subjunctive, propositional. There is an IF but no THEN: and so, if one follows the IF, what does one find, then? If body, pain. If body, misery. If body, attrition, vulnerability, wearing out. If body, bound to life. If body, fabric, hair, prosthesis, and surfaces that are grounds and backgrounds too. If body, other bodies: unseen and in proximity, abstract and touchable”. Building upon these reflections, If Body embarks on a journey to explore the possibilities arising from the juxtaposition of these two terms. The intent to investigate the experiential value, potential, and implications of corporeality is framed within a sympathetic horizon, where the body is never understood as an isolated entity, but rather exists as part of a network of emotional-affective ties and material processes.
This year’s program bears the subtitle Bodies that talk and it proposes to focus on gestures, postures, and movements as components of a nonverbal language that constantly communicates information from within and outside the subject. When bodies move and act, they manifest their inner motions and intentions, but at the same time they also elaborate and react to external influences, thus providing visible clues to something often unspoken. Bodies that Talk invites to contemplate the gestures, postures, movements, and rhythms in space as keys to accessing the emotional, cultural, and relational legacies stored within our bodies.
If Body is organized by APS LOCALES, promoted by Roma Capitale – Assessorato alla Cultura, is the winner of the two-year Public Notice “Estate Romana 2023-2024” curated by the Dipartimento Attività Culturali, and is realized in collaboration with SIAE.