A New Festival Shows Off Milan’s Independent Cultural Scene

The free event at the Pirelli HangarBicocca will be a “happening” of sorts, at the intersection of art and activism.

A moment from the performance by Dennis Bovell at the Pirelli HangarBicocca, in Milan, which will host a new festival to celebrate the city's independent cultural community. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca. Lorenzo Palmieri

After the inevitable hiatus imposed by the pandemic, big events live are resuming at a fast pace. 

The musician Afrorack, the artists Muna Mussie and Yon Natalie Mik, and the girl band from Odessa Chillera are some of the artists who will be featured in the first Milano Re-Mapped Summer Festival: a two-night event dedicated to music, performing arts video, publishing, graphic design and other media at the Pirelli HangarBicocca foundation, in Milan, starting from 11 July.

The purpose of the event is to present Milano Re-Mapped, a research project by the Pirelli HangarBicocca and the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milan Bicocca, funded by Fondazione Cariplo, that mapped Milan’s independent cultural scene.

Multidisciplinary, shared, independent and creative are some of the words to describe the inaugural event which will be curated by Archive, SPRINT and Standards, three curatorial and production projects selected by the Pirelli HangarBicocca for the array of their research and the capability to blend an international outlook with special attention to local communities.

Looking at the program, the three guest organizations promise to combine visionary artists of the contemporary panorama in an engaging and faceted calendar.

Day 1

On 11 July, the program will be curated by SPRINT — Independent Publishers and Artists’ Books Salon, a Milan-based collective that the founders describe as “a constellation of indefinable convergences, worlds and ways to discover alternative perspectives and multiple voices.”

At 7 pm, designer Alessandro Guerriero will investigate the editorial dimension through a video format while in conversation with researcher Marta Zanoni. An opportunity to browse through the legendary issues of OLLO magazine, the catalogue “Architetture Sussuranti,” and some rare documents that weave together the anecdotes of Alchimia, a post-radical group founded by the designer in Milan in the 1970s.

From 8 pm, micro-choreographies will be performed during the festival as an informal release of the outcome of a workshop coordinated by artist and performer Muna Mussie from July 9-10 at the foundation in Milan. The workshop will revolve around research into collective dance, postures and choral rhythms, developed within the Monte Verità ‘summer school’ in Ascona, Switzerland, founded in 1913 by the choreographer Rudolf von Laban and Mary Wigman, with the participation of, among others, Isadora Duncan, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, and Berthe Trümpy.

Best known as a musician, Virginia Genta is also a respected visual artist. In her performance, at 8.30 pm, with just a sopranino sax and two amplifiers, the artist will be able to make the tones change and blur, in a movement that seems to translate visually into the artist’s drawings. Don’t miss the opportunity to be welcomed to the festival, the following day, with a stamp designed by the artist.

The end of the first day will be all about music. A performance by YaYa Bones, at 9.50pm, will let you traverse the dimensions of sound, ritual, meditation, handcrafting, and movement.

The independent space Standards will present a performance by the band Chillera and the experimental artist Afrorack to close the night with a live concert. (From 11pm).

The Pirelli Hangarbicocca foundation in Milan will host the first edition of the Milano Re-Mapped Festival from 11-12 July. Photo by Lorenzo Palmieri. Courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca.
Day 2

The second day will be curated by Archive, a not-for-profit art space and publishing house, that for the occasion will present an activation of the formation “Choreopoethics,” a research project on how participatory and relational modes of choreographic thought can collide with social mobilization.

At 7pm, Fedoua El Attari will perform her most recent work “DecaDance of the mountain: dance decline decolonization.” The spoken-word performance explores the ways that different mountains serve as sites where runaway slaves’ mass suicides are remembered and that today have become a landscape of collective memory resistance. Poetry is the medium that allows the artist to become the representative voice of populations that express and share globally ethnic and emotional symbolism.

Wissal Houbabi’s performance, “A big stink of shit in the air,” from 7.30pm, will combine elements of rap and hip-hop to highlight the western privilege that prevails over the condition of the diaspora community.

The audience will be at the centre of the action, in a participatory performance by Yon Natalie Mik, titled “Songs from the Navel to the Spine,” from 8pm. Dance is the core practice in the artist’s research, and the collective action, a protest and mourning for the censored and marginalized bodies among us, explores how movement can express the resilience of vulnerable bodies.

Giorgia Ohanesian Nardin works on the reappropriation of somatic geographies from a decolonial perspective through the medium of performance, including language, movement and sound where vibration becomes a method. In their performance “Premonition,” from 8.40pm, the concept of vibration is related to the pendulum used as an object of healing.

At 9.30pm, will be the turn of Padmini Chettur’s choreography “Line 10.” In Chettur’s work for the festival, space itself may appear to move with the artist as the 37-meter outside wall of Pirelli HangarBicocca will be transformed by light and sound, stripping movement down to an essential and anatomical investigation.

Live performances by Andrea Zarza Canova (11pm) and Coby Sey (11.50pm) – curated by Standards – will close the festival’s first edition with a little party.

Milano Re-Mapped Festival: July 11-12, at the Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; free admission; pirellihangarbicocca.org. Applications for the workshop by Muna Mussie close on July 5.

Jessica Capretti is a frequent contributor to Milano Art Guide since 2021. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and has worked on several projects including “L’Arc de Triomphe Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, in Paris. She lives and works in Milan.