Venice AtWork Lab: Nomadism, imagination, and forward-looking ideas to build the Nationless Pavilion

Moving around the world allows us to change perspective on both ourselves and our surrounding environment. Travelling is indeed a life-changing experience that provides us with the instruments to act upon the reality and contexts in which we find ourselves. Our perceptions are often related to movement, and our feelings respond to our shifting circumstances. Freedom of movement is also a right that belongs to every human being.

However, as we know, this is not always true. From the market perspective, we are all transnational consumers moving across national boundaries, but the laws governing mobility do not actually recognize freedom of movement as a universal right granted to all. The inadequacy of EU and member States’ migration policies is the most striking example of this material and symbolic gap. This not only concerns Syrian war refugees, but involves the current issue of migration in all its multiple facets and dimensions.

lettera27 aims to promote increased access to and sharing of knowledge. Our search for the 27th letter of the alphabet suggests the need to go further and calls for a shift in perspective. This is why we support all the people currently moving across European borders. In our perspective, their movement is a vehicle for knowledge production. While moving around, we get information, activate knowledge and networks, establishing a continuous and ever-changing relationship between ourselves and the world.

We enter this knowledge exchange through the productive and subversive power of art, culture, and imagination. Today, we are particularly pleased to announce the launch of a new project by AtWork dedicated to migration: an AtWork Lab that will take place from October 26 to 28, atS.a.L.E. Docks, a former salt-storage facility in Venice, as a part of Nation 25 | The Nationless Pavilion LABORATORY.

The Nationless Pavilion LABORATORY is a ten-day project developed byNation 25 in Lecce and Venice. It consists of contemporary art workshops aimed at creating a collective installation to be held on October 31, 2015, at S.a.L.E Docks (Venice), representing Nation 25, with all its problems and opportunities. A three-day workshop entitled Nomadism of Imagination and Nomadism of Fear will involve artists and professionals dealing with migration and post-colonial issues, as well as four young refugees supported by Civico Zero in Rome.

The workshop will be led by Emilio Fantin, an Italian artist focusing on communication, time, art-nature relationship, and dream as a non-geographic area favoring mutual exchange and interaction. Venice AtWork Lab considers nomadism from two perspectives: nomadism of thoughts (imagination) and nomadism of bodies (migration), focusing on the dialogue between internal and external imageries in a new, often incomprehensible or hostile environment where it is difficult to orientate. It involves a transition from reality to dream, culminating in the final reflection of our imagery to the outside world.

Workshop participants will leave a trace of their experiences in Moleskine notebooks, which will be exhibited at the end of the workshop at S.a.L.E Docks, from October 31 to November 20, as a part of the Nationless Pavilion collective installation. Participants will be given the possibility to donate their notebooks to lettera27, entering our collection of artist notebooks and participating in the critical and cultural debates of AtWork online community.

Nation 25 represents an imaginary but necessary attempt to consider refugees from a geographic and human rights perspective. By regarding them as the 25th nation on Earth, we can question the concept of “nation-state”, highlighting its striking contradictions.

Venice AtWork Lab is the result of a shared vision and partnership between Nation 25 curators Sara Alberani, Elena Abbiatici, Caterina Pecchioli and AMM-Archive of Migrant Memories, in collaboration withlettera27 and Open Society Foundation – a network of people inspired by the same passions, values and ideals, moving around the world because they are free to do it, and fighting for those who are not granted the same right. Follow us, not only online, and register for the workshop. We can cross the borders together and build a “liquid nation, displaced in space and time.”