Face to face with Michelangelo Pistoletto: a special episode of our feature “The art of balance / Pandemopraxy”
In a new interview, the Biellese artist has commented on the success of the initiative – which has so far received 50 contributions – launched by our Journal and conceived by Cittadellarte’s director Paolo Naldini. Michelangelo Pistoletto stresses the importance of the project: “It’s necessary,” he claims,“that each person coming into contact with others by expressing their thought through this initiative manages to find, in this multiplicity, answers producing something effective, because people can’t usually fulfil their wishes by themselves”.

It was April when, in full Covid-19 emergency, Cittadellarte launched the initiative The Art of Balance / Pandemopraxy. Later become a regular feature on the virtual pages of our Journal, the column was – and still is – aimed at giving voice to all subjects active in their communities with practices and thought of sustainable prosperity. Taking its cue from the song by Subsonica dedicated to the Third Paradise, the project has developed starting from a series of key questions addressed to the Rebirth ambassadors and Cittadellarte’s collaborators and partners, as well as to all our users and digital readers: “How will you smile? What air will you breathe? How will you dress? What language will you speak? How will you say hello? How will you work? What will you believe in? What dreams will you dream? What will you eat? What will you remember? What will you think? What will you produce? How will you have fun? What will you commit to? How will you communicate? Where will you live? How will you cure? How will you judge? What will you buy? What will you sell? How will you travel? What will you offer? Who will you meet? How will you act? What decision will you take?

The director Paolo Naldini had already extensively described the behind-the-scenes and the peculiarities of this project in his article From pandemic to pan-demopraxy, published on our Journal on 14th April, and in the docu-film Pandemopraxy – Almosta a manifesto in times of Coronavirus. The feedback has been very positive: by 31st July we had shared online 50 contributions by as many guests. Before we started the feature, Michelangelo Pistoletto had asked us, with regard to the initiative, “to make our voice heard”, inviting people to take part in the new choral project of restart and rebirth. Now, with the beginning of September, we will continue publishing new contributions, and we have talked with the Biellese artist about the project, to assess its progress. Here is the interview with the founder of Cittadellarte.

Last May, after reflecting on the epochal passage we are going through, you focused on how the pandemic could translate into a boost for the rebirth project in the name of the Third Paradise. A process that has been developing also through the initiative launched by Cittadellarte The Art of Balance / Pandemopraxy, which has already recorded the participation of 50 guests from numerous fields of the social fabric. How important is it for you to have met with so much interest?
To me, it’s important that everybody has the opportunity to read and see everything that has been written and published, to be able to reflect on it. Not only that: readers will in turn have the opportunity to get involved by formulating their proposal. The questions we have posed – the reference is to the lyrics of the song Il Terzo Paradiso by Subsonica, on which the initiative The Art of Balance / Pandemopraxy is centred, editor’s note – can give input to new questions. The contributions we receive can in fact trigger further reflections or collaborations that become productive when they extend to other people.

The first guests who adhered to this project – featured on the virtual pages of the Journal – have expressed their points of view on the post-pandemic future. Not only that, they have provided instruments and suggested possible actions so as to make sustainability become more and more a key word in our daily life. Can sharing a network of reflections and responsible actions through this initiative be a fundamental ingredient in the pursuit of the trinamic balance Cittadellarte has been working on for decades?
It’s necessary that each person coming into contact with others by expressing their thought through this initiative manages to find, in this multiplicity, answers producing something effective, because people can’t usually fulfil their wishes by themselves. Individual action is a fundamental element, but it becomes society – and true change within it – when it is connected to other people’s actions. It’s therefore important to keep making proposals so that there are always new visions, but, in the meantime, we have to start connecting them.

It’s emblematic that the initiative has seen the participation not only of personalities linked to art or to the network of Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadors, but also of professionals and guests of great national authority, as well as journalists, architects, jurists and fashion designers. What do you think inspired these subjects representing a wide range of competencies, institutions and fields to participate in our initiative?
The regeneration of society requires interventions in all sectors. In Cittadellarte, we have created the uffizi, each representing a different area of society. Through the sensibility and responsibility of art, we try to connect the needs that arise in each sector in order to create a complex reality. The participation of professionals from different fields makes therefore possible an inter-sectorial exchange and a dialogue allowing the fulfilment of the will of each person… hence to create society.

The initiative The Art of Balance / Pandemopraxy is not going to stop, on the contrary, it wants to keep providing a powerful boost of rebirth by inspiring all our readers through the contributions. Do you want to express an invitation or a message addressed to all the new potential participants in the project?
The word ‘pandemopraxy’ requires the knowledge of what ‘demopraxia’* means. Therefore, we first of all need to explain that it means gathering people in charge and representatives of all the different organisations, i.e. associations, institutions and businesses, both private and public, in demopractic forums, in order to answer together common questions and make proposals for a shared political governance. In times of a global pandemic, it is particularly important to establish a close network among practical organisations to solve local and world problems.

Here is how to take part in the initiative: by answering, with a personal interpretation, the questions posed in the song that Subsonica dedicated to the Third Paradise in 2014. You will be able to share your personal reflection on the practices (the modalities and methods) to start a rebirth in the name of responsibility and commitment in the post-Coronavirus.
Each participant will be able to focus on a specific theme, depending on their personal experience and profession.
*Contributors might want to refer to the suggestions (‘algorithms’) illustrated in Paolo Naldini’s text: the sense of balance (represented by the Third Paradise), the Art of Demopraxy and the activity of research intended as a right and joy of each single individual.
Photographic credits: Pierluigi Di Pietro.