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Void / Body / Breath / Care: Four Conversations on a Changing World Between Canada and Italy



Void / Body / Breath / Care: Four Conversations on a Changing World Between Canada and Italy

Soon after the outbreak first hit China, Italy and the world, it became clear that it was not to be a temporary, superficial disruption. The drastic measures of containment and the strict lockdown imposed by the authorities in order to limit the spread of the virus, as well as the constant exposure to the threat of an invisible danger, have forced us all to abruptly and radically modify our social and daily life habits. Social relationships, work environments, use of public spaces, all the different aspects of our life have suddenly changed in a way that would have once seemed unconceivable. A moment of serious reflection and thought is necessary in order to start drafting a new theoretical framework to respond to the transformations.

The Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto has called upon eight thinkers, each in different fields, to reflect upon the changes and transformations imposed on our lives by the effects of the pandemic.

Together with curators Sascha Hastings and Francesca Molteni, we have chosen to focus on four key concepts: Void, Body, Breath, Care. The Italian and Canadian thinkers will each discuss the transformation from their own perspective as it relates to their individual field of expertise. Using these four concepts as metaphorical cardinal directions, our hope is that the outcome of the discussions will give us a sense of direction as we navigate through this collective experience.

Alessandro Ruggera
Director, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto


Wednesday, September 23 | 12:30pm EDT



The ongoing global pandemic is forcing us to rethink the word VOID, that we all experienced with the lockdown and the social distancing - an empty space in our homes and cities, but also a feeling of unhappiness because someone or something is missing. Instead of filling the void, we'd like to explore the positive and generative possibilities of new forms of the empty space with Davide Pizzigoni, architect, scenographer and artist, author of The shape of the empty space, and Bruce Kuwabara, one of Canada’s leading architects, founding partner of KPMB Architects, in conversation with moderator Francesca Molteni.


Wednesday, September 30 | 12:30pm EDT



The body gives us movement and mobility. It is also a locus of pleasure, pain, intimacy, strength, mortality and politics. The physical restrictions forced upon us by COVID-19 have made us rethink our relationships with our own bodies and those of others. Dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata Zab Maboungou and Professor of Aesthetics, Poetics, and Rhetoric Chiara Cappelletto in conversation with moderator Sascha Hastings.


Wednesday, October 7 | 12:30pm EDT



Breathing is necessary to life - we all learned that one of the symptoms of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. It's a process common to the earth, the forest, human beings. We depend on nature for this primary function - plants are providing us the air to breathe through photosynthesis. Our mind is related to it, as the ancient greek "psyché" (ψυχὴ) means breath, soul and life. Professor of General Arboriculture and Arboreal Plantations, Director of the University Museums including the Botanical Gardens in Palermo, Paolo Inglese and multidisciplinary artist, architectural designer and researcher Philip Beesley in conversation with moderator Francesca Molteni. 

Wednesday, October 14 | 12:30pm EDT



As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and an effective vaccine and/or treatment have yet to be found, the world economy is the most fragile it has been in recent memory. Many people who were already marginalized or living precariously are now at high risk of being left behind completely. What does care mean in today’s world? A discussion with architect Simone Sfriso of TAMassociati and The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery director Gaëtane Verna, moderated by Sascha Hastings.



Sascha Hastings is a Toronto-based curator, arts producer, writer and editor. She was a Producer on the CBC Radio national programs The Arts Tonight, The Next Chapter, Wachtel on the Arts, and Writers & Company and the inaugural Curator of Cambridge Galleries Design at Riverside. More recently she has worked on several Canada Pavilion exhibitions at the Venice Architecture Biennale, and in 2016 she was Co-Curator and Co-Director of The Evidence Room at the Biennale’s central exhibition, which traveled to the ROM in Toronto and the Hirshhorn in Washington, DC. Hastings has edited and co-written several books, including Logotopia: The Library in Architecture, Art and the Imagination, The Evidence Room and Building a Northern Design Culture: The Creation of the McEwen School of Architecture. She is currently curating an installation for the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Francesca Molteni, graduated in Philosophy in Milan, studied Film Production at New York University. Since 2002, she produces and directs films and documentaries, and curates design exhibitions. In 2009, she founded MUSE Factory of Projects, a production company based in Milan. Latest films include, ‘Superdesign. Italian Radical Design 1965-75’ (2017), ‘The Power of the Archive. Renzo Piano Building Workshop’ (2018), and ‘NEWMUSEUM(S). Stories of Company Archives and Museums’ (2019). She is the author of the book Oggetti d’impresa [Objects of Enterprise], Carocci 2016.



BRUCE KUWABARA | Founding Partner, KPMB Architects
Bruce Kuwabara is one of Canada’s leading architects. His unwavering belief in the power of architecture to implement social change and maximize cultural, environmental and economic potential has earned him an Officer of the Order of Canada, the RAIC Gold Medal and the Ontario Association of Architects Lifetime Achievement Award.
His exemplary projects include the LEED Platinum Manitoba Hydro Place in Winnipeg, the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, the Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building and Louis A. Simpson International Building at Princeton University, Canada’s National Ballet School, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, and the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa. Recently completed works include the Remai Modern art gallery in Saskatoon, and the Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bruce serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, co-chairs the Design Review Committee for the University of Toronto, and is the former chair of Waterfront Toronto’s Design Review Panel. In fall, Bruce was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree from McMaster University.

DAVIDE PIZZIGONI | Architect, Scenographer, Artist, Author
Davide Pizzigoni was born in Milano and attended university in Rome where he graduated in architecture. His first painting exhibition, presented by Alessandro Mendini, was held in 1986 in Milano. In 1987 he began a collaboration with Olivetti and designed posters, covers and litographies, which culminated in 1990 with the publishing of a drawing book about the cities of Arabian Nights. In 1994, he designed the set and costumes for Die Frau Ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss at the Zurich Opera House, direction by Cesare Lievi. One year later he designed the set and costumes for the world premiere of Gesualdo by Alfred Schnittke, at the Staatsoper in Wien, directed by Mstislav Rostropovic. From 1992 to 1995 he was in charge of the worldwide advertisement campaign for Bulgari. From 1996 to 2007 he designed the accessory collections for Bulgari. In 1999, he designed his first porcelain collection for Bulgari. From 1999 to 2003 he published four books dedicated to lyrical operas : The Magic Flute, Carmen, Madama Butterfly and Rigoletto. They were printed by Abbeville Press in U.S.A. and by Mondadori Electa in Italy. In 2003 he started his collaboration with Bruno Magli shoes, designing couture collections. In 2002, he was given the task, from the New National Theatre of Tokyo, to design set and costumes for several operas and ballets. L’Heure Espagnole by Maurice Ravel, was performed in February 2004, together with the ballet Bolero and Dapnis et Chloè. Così fan tutte, by W.A. Mozart, was performed in march 2005. From 1995, the stage experience led him to begin his research about the space, which turned into a real investigation about The shape of the empty space. This research was based on ethical and philosophical thoughts that took him to explore the physical and metaphisical dimension of the empty space. In October 2005, his installation The breath of the empty space at Arènes des Lutèce was showed in Paris during the Nuit Blanche. It was a multimedia installation where volumes, lights and sounds were performed at the old roman theatre of Paris. Pizzigoni’s studies about the empty space are still carried on. The last developments require the construction of settings with mobile parts that change the space at sight, underlining their dynamic and plastic capacities. As a consequence of the research on the space, he designed sets for the TV programs Ultrafragola (2004) and Ultrafragola II(2005), dedicated to the architecture and design world (on the satellite channel Sky Cult). In 2010, he designed his first Jewelry collection for Rosenthal. Since 2008, Davide Pizzigoni has been working on the theme of invisibility, focusing on three different directions: Guardians of the museums. The people of the XXI century, who don’t exist anymore. The body of the space, everything that is in between things. He had personal exhibitions in Milan, Rome, New York, Tokyo and Osaka.


CHIARA CAPPELLETTO | Associate Professor of Aesthetics, University of Milan
Chiara Cappelletto is Associate Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Milan, and an associate member of the CRAL – Centre de Recherches sur les Arts et le Langage at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Her research includes embodiment theories, performance theories, theories subjectivities, performance and public speaking. She has held fellowships at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America in New York, the Institut d’Études Avancées in Paris and the Kolleg-Forschergruppe BildEvidenz Geschichte und Ästhetik in Berlin. She has also been a Visiting Scholar at Princeton University. She participates in the project IdEM – Identification, empathie, projection dans les arts du spectacle, and runs the permanent research seminar PIS – Performing Identities Seminar at the University of Milan. Her published work includes numerous articles on visual and performance studies, along with three books that deal with visual art and theater, focusing mainly on the notion of fiction. She is currently working on a book entitled Fake (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

ZAB MABOUNGOU | Founder & Artistic Director, Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata
Of French and Congolese origin, Zab Maboungou is the founder and artistic director of Zab Maboungou/Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata, a contemporary dance company founded in 1987, based in Montreal, Quebec, whose artistic vocation encompasses creation, research and teaching.
Her dance technique has become a model of its kind. Many disciplines are finding a source of inspiration in this technique. Other than dance, these include song, music, theatre, visual arts and circus. Drawing on the rhythmic foundations of African dances and musical forms, this technique, called LOKETO, makes it possible to identify the pathways of breath and how it ensures their transmutation in principles of movement to develop presence in space, flexibility, physical and rhythmic endurance.


PHILIP BEESLEY | Artist, Architectural Designer and Researcher
Philip Beesley is a multidisciplinary artist, architectural designer and researcher known for his pioneering contributions to the rapidly emerging field of responsive interactive architecture. His installations appear to live, breathe, and respond to visitors, and have been presented around the world, including Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Paris, Seoul, Shanghai and Washington, DC. He represented Canada at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale and will present a new work at the 2021 Biennale.  Beesley is also a professor at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and the European Graduate School, and he directs Living Architecture Systems Group (LASG), an international collaborative network of scientists, engineers and artists. The LASG’s diverse array of projects includes haute couture collections and complex electronic systems that can sense, react and learn. The experimental architecture of Beesley and the LASG explores the subtle phenomena and constantly changing boundaries at the outer edges of current technology.

PAOLO INGLESE | Professor of General Arboriculture and Arbor Cultivation, University of Palermo
Sicilian, lover of mountains, father of two children, Paolo Inglese studied in Palermo and Florence. Since 2000, he is Professor of General Arboriculture and Arbor Cultivation at the University of Palermo. Academic of the Accademia dei Gergofili, the Accademia di Agricoltura (Academy of Agriculture) and the Accademia Nazionale dell’Olivo e dell’Olio (The Italian Olive Academy), he studies regulatory mechanisms, the quality of the fruit and is, since the beginning of his scientific activities, a passionate scholar of the cactus pear (prickly pear), iconic species of the Columbian interchange, which brought him to a collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as an international expert for the betterment of agricultural conditions in the semi-arid areas of Africa, South America and the Near East. The international scope of his studies and research has brought him to know extraordinary places and people; in the American universities – UCLA, UC Davis, Duke, Cornell – but also in the more active centres of applied research in Ethiopia, Algeria, Morocco, Israel, Tunisia, South Africa, Jordan and South America. For some years now, he manages the University of Palermo’s network of museums, which includes the Botanical Garden, with the aim of increasing the public’s enjoyment of it and of consolidating its scientific and museal role in cultural dissemination on an international scale. He is the author of hundreds of scientific publication and author and editor of didactic, scientific and divulging books.


SIMONE SFRISO | Architect, Professor
Born in London UK in 1966, awarded Master Degree 110/110 summa cum laude in Architecture at the University of Architecture of Venice IUAV. From 1999 to 2006 he has collaborated in teaching in the department of Urban Planning of IUAV Venice. Since 2018 he is member of the Cluster for Sustainable Cities - Portsmouth School of Architecture. Since 2020 he is visiting professor at the School of Architecture - University of Portsmouth, adjunct Professor ay the University of Padua and visiting professor at ENSTP Yaoundé Cameroon. He has been appointed Italian Design Ambassador for 2019 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Simone Sfriso is co-principal and co-founder of TAMassociati, an Italian team of architects, engineers and researchers, whose building solutions worldwide improve lives, strengthen communities and provide creative responses to climate change: combining high quality with affordability. The firm’s design ethos can be summed up as, Innovative design for Impact. Internationally, TAMassociati works on sustainable and socially equitable architecture. The office has won widespread recognition and numerous prizes. In 2013 it received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the excellence represented by the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan, the international Ius- Capocchin prize for construction of the world’s most sustainable paediatric hospital (Port Sudan) and the Curry Stone Design Prize for the overall sustainability (social and environmental) of recent projects built in different parts of the world. In 2014 the practice won the Zumtobel Group Award for innovation and sustainability. TAM was named Italian Architect of the year for 2014 “for its ability to enhance the ethical dimension of the profession.” Currently TAMassociati is working in Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal and Italy.

GAËTANE VERNA | Director, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery
Gaëtane Verna has been the Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery since 2012. Previously, she was Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art de Joliette (2006–2012). From 1998 to 2006, she was the curator of the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, while also teaching in the Art History department of both Bishop’s University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Gaëtane Verna holds an International Diploma in Heritage Administration and Conservation from the Institut National du Patrimoine in Paris, France, and received a DEA and a Master’s degree in Art History from the Université Paris I Panthéon- Sorbonne. Verna gas years of experience in arts administration, curating, publishing catalogues and organizing and presenting exhibitons by emerging, mid-career and established Canadian and international artists, including: Terry Adkins, John Akomfrah, Vasco Araújo, Fiona Banner, Ydessa Hendeles, Alfredo Jaar, Luis Jacob, Kimsooja, Yam Lau, Oswaldo Maciá, Javier Tellez, Denyse Thomasos, Bill Viola, YOUNG HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES and Franz Erhard Walther, to name just a few. She is the President on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Arts Council. In 2017, she was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) by the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Canada to spotlight and recognize her significant contribution to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.


Data: Da Mer 23 Set 2020 a Mer 14 Ott 2020

Orario: Dalle 12:30 alle 13:30

Organizzato da : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Ingresso : Libero


Online via Zoom