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Since its beginning, Little Fun Palace has left behind the representational distance cultivated by art institutions. Guests and audiences have mingled in a flawless strip of events designed for different surroundings and contents. I always believed that this openness, this capacity to welcome uncertainty from a manifold of micro-ecologies of different guests, could lead the Caravan to an expansion of the discipline of theatre-making. And yet, its ever-changing agenda didn’t allow experimenting a specific knowledge-process entailed into the Caravan itself, in the particular space that Little Fun Palace is and represents. We have never reached a scientific rigour necessary to establish the Caravan as a nomadic school.

To fulfil this gap, the caravan becomes a platform resonating OHT’s research on theatre and set-designing in relation to natural and urban spaces. A discourse that does not ignore the place where it occurs; a Caravan designed as a flexible framework where different spaces can be plugged in. As suggested by architect Cedric Price, Little Fun Palace has its ultimate goal in the possibility of change at the behest of its users and content. Consequently, the nomadic school will re-think the shape of the Caravan every time a public programme will be hosted. Specific designed components will immerge Little Fun Palace in its surroundings. By designing and building further features of Little Fun Palace, we will deepen its position into society, its position in the world, its geographical position. The Caravan will be simultaneously a study of the world as well as a part of it echoing Cedric Price’s educational ideas of making flexible architecture to have an actual impact on our world. A Caravan denying hierarchical transmission of knowledge to connect set-design and theatre to real life and avoiding separations between moments of learning, of fun, of encounter, of collectiveness and moments of individuality.

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On a theoretical level, the project moves its first step from Gertrude Stein’s idea of “a play as a landscape” and how her ideas might resonate outside the stage. In the research, set-design and architecture are active ingredients of the theoretical discourse as well as on a practical level via the Caravan position in public space. A space that to be defined as public is meant to be agonistic, heterogeneous rather than homogenous, where different people, ideas and words live together. In this regard there’s a neglected theatre tradition that prompted landscape not simply as a backdrop or scenery but as detonator of feelings. Authors like Anton Cechov, Maurice Maeterlink, Samuel Beckett, Henrik Ibsen or Heiner Müller made use of landscape as a theoretical tool to overstep the limits of antropochene, psychologism and logo-centrism.

A further comparison with ideas taken from other field of research might be crucial to expand the perception of theatre. One example is the definition of unintentional design applied to landscapes by anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing: “that is, the overlapping world-making activities of many agents, human and not human. The design is clear in the landscape’s ecosystem. But none of the agents have planned this effect. Humans join other in making landscapes of unintentional design”. In climate activism, landscapes are less and less backdrop of human activities. They are active, living beings together with humans. Landscapes are the quintessence of the world understood as space where life is shared with others. They are references for down scaling human beings within the ecosystem and this process might be applied to theatre as well; a democratisation of the stage where set-design and scenography are not just backdrops of the drama but active part of it. The current aesthetic regime embodied on stage is still enormously linked to actors and actresses as centre of the action and of the plot. However, an ecological turn is possible also in theatre-making and democratising all the elements involved into the artistic process might also be a metaphor for opening up theatre to different perspectives decentralising human hubris. The initial construction workshop of the Nomadic School becomes an opportunity to produce a space where people can connect and talk. In a gradual way the workshop adapts a place to the caravan and vice versa, materialises reality by creating an ecosystem previously absent. An attempt to give space to the thoughts and words to come. The workshop becomes the time of materialisation, where reality materialises through a collective gesture of participants and future guests.

Furthermore, if landscape represents the possibility to connect all the parts, it also represents the impossibility to be isolated. This is why Little Fun Palace is not meant to be just a single person research but an experiment where individuality joins collective moments. A time together where the Caravan turns into a nomadic school. A school inspired by spatial researchers like Josef Albers at the Black Mountain College where life and studies couldn’t be separated. These collective moments reveals a research methodology that continuously invents its own model. The Caravan will change shape via workshops with students that will literally modify it by designing new features necessary for the cultural programme of the Caravan itself, and for its position within a specific surroundings.

Creating a nomadic community in different environments is fundamental to embrace the concept of mutability and to underline the importance of a space that does not belong only to us. Once the location has been chosen and the caravan has been prepared for that specific environment, the nomadic school will take place for a limited period of time. Each programme will be a series of talks, screening, encounters, tiny performances, dj-sets and so on. All these micro-ecologies will compose a dialogical Caravan, a multitude of voices from guests to audiences without dogmatic structures that together will think of theatre, set-design and climate crisis as an aesthetic territory that has political implications without using a political language.

To conclude, creating a nomadic school around Little Fun Palace will not deliver a final or conclusive model about theatre as public space, nor a clear methodology about how to think performance design and scenography within a semi-public space as theatre. The project aims to be a performative Caravan reflecting on itself and -at the same time- on different artistic practices. Existing in the endless exchange between the environments, the guests and the students gravitating around the Caravan. To a certain extend, embracing the uncertainty of gathering different points of view, of creating an heterogeneous community, is what will make the production of knowledge tangible for all the participants.

This new shape of the Caravan confronting climate activism to theatre has been formulated during the COVID-19 quarantine in Italy, and it sounds incredibly relevant a line by eco-philosopher Timothy Morton: “Contact is content”. Relevant for those days of lockdown and yet relevant for the future of Little Fun Palace Nomadic School.

year

2020

mentors

> Annamaria Ajmone (dancer and coreographer)
The body intended as a mouldable and changeable material, capable of transforming spaces into places, is at the centre of her research. She has presented her work in numerous performing art festivals, museums, art galleries and atypical spaces. She coordinates Nobody’s Business for Italy, an open-source platform for sharing artistic practices. For 2019-21, she is associated artist of Triennale Milano Teatro.

> Annibale Salsa (anthropologist and Member of the Scientific Committee of the Dolomiti-Unesco Foundation)
Expert in alpine culture, formerly teacher at the University of Genua. He is president of the Scientific Committee of the School for the Management of the Territory and Landscape in Trento, president of the Scientific Committe of the Museum from customs and traditions of people from Trentino and board member of Aosta University. He was a president of the Italian alpine club and he has trekked all over Alps.

> Attila Faravelli (musician and sound-designer)
In his practice he explores the relationship between sound, space and body. His music is published by several labels he participates at the Venice Biennial Architecture [2010], curates The Lift – a series of experimental music concerts and he has curated the Sounds of Europe project. He is founder and curator for the Aural Tools project, a series of simple objects to document the material and conceptual processes of specific musicians’ sound production practices.

> Camposaz (selfconstruction workshop in 1:1 scale)
Established in 2013 by a group of young architects and engineers. The formula proposed by Camposaz is a self-construction workshop where a team of designers meet temporarily for designing and realizing small architectural artifacts; a totalizing experience in which the contact with the place of intervention and the people who populate it assume primary importance.

> Deflorian / Tagliarini (authors, theatre-directors and performers)
The first work born from their collaboration is Rewind, a tribute to Pina Bausch's Cafè Müller [2008]. Thanks to their ability to go beyond the representation by simply talking about what seems to be on their mind, they win numerous awards including the UBU Prize for Best Italian Newcomer [2014], the Critics' Prize for Best Foreign Performance in Quebec [2016] and the Riccione Prize for Dramaturgy [2019].

> Lisa Angelini (botanist and agroecologist)
Lisa Angelini was born in Trento in 1984. Over the years she turned her passion for the natural environment into a training and work path. Before, after and during her degree in Natural Sciences she deals with sustainable tourism, environmental education and botanical area projects. She collaborates with MUSE - Science Museum of Trento, for the Viote Alpine Botanical Garden. She is always on the move.

> Mattia Venco (chef)
Mattia Venco has been working in his parents' restaurant since he was very young. He kept training in other restaurants until he became sous-chef at the restaurant I Carracci of the Grand Hotel Majestic in Bologna. In 2019 he initiated Matenco travelling around Trentino as a home cook, cooking classes and gourmet buffet. He defines his choice and cooking as passionate.

> Mette Edvardsen (coreographer and performer)
Although some of her works explore other media or other formats, such as video, books and writing, her interest is always in their relationship to the performing arts as a practice and a situation. She presents her work internationally via retrospectives at the Black Box theatre in Oslo and MACBA in Barcelona, among the others. Her project Time has fallen alseep in the afternoon sunshine is ongoing since 2010, and has its base now at the headquarters of osloBIENNALEN FIRST EDITION 2019 - 2024 in Oslo

> Riccardo Venturi (historian and contemporary art critic)
Riccardo Venturi is a contemporary art historian and critic. He has published among others for Electa [2007 and 2008] and Humboldt Books [2018]. He collaborates with ICA Foundation in Milan and writes for exhibition catalogues, academic and non-academic papers including “Artforum”, “Alias - Il Manifesto”, “Flash Art”, “Doppiozero” and “Antinomie”, an on-line platform of writings and images that he co-founded.

> Studio Folder (research and visual design agency)
Founded by Marco Ferrari and Elisa Pasqual, the studio’s work spans between the cultural and commercial domains and the investigation of autonomous research paths, while working through a diverse range of outcomes-from data visualisation to the design of exhibitions, editorial products and digital platforms. Among others, they work with Studio Olafur Eliasson, Studio Tomàs Saraceno and their book A Moving Border. Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change is published by Columbia Books Architecture.

where

I stop-over > Alpeggio [alpine pasture]
Mountain Bondone, natural biotope in Trentino - South Tyrol / Südtirol

II stop-over > Roma
Short Theatre festival, Rome

III stop-over > Reggio Emilia
Festival Aperto, i Teatri di Reggio Emilia