The Third Paradise, thanks to its ambassadors, has landed at the Ecolint – International School in Geneva. On the 15th November, in fact, a workshop by the title “The black, the white, the Third Paradise” was led by art teacher Karin Bain with Saverio Teruzzi (coordinator of the Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadors), Camilla Griffiths and Alessandro Lacirasella. The school is an institute of excellence – with classes of primary and secondary education – attended by pupils of different nationalities and located in the city where many major international political organizations are based. The workshop was the final and practical stage of a didactic process involving the 13 year olds, who had studied Michelangelo Pistoletto and his work, with particular attention to the Third Paradise and its meanings. The Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadors came across not only an excellent competence in the subject by the pupils, but also a passionate involvement, which showed in the warm welcome they gave Teruzzi, Griffiths and Lacirasella: the youths presented the topical works realized on paper or through virtual means with the teacher and the SPAC3 images shared on social media. They also performed a dance on the theme of the Third Paradise, displaying a great participative, propositional and curious attitude towards the activities.
The collaboration with the institute started on 24th October 2015, on the occasion of the unveiling of the work Rebirth by Michelangelo Pistoletto at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, and developed since the 12th June of this year, when, in the course of the World Day Against Child Labour, the students from the International School were the protagonists of a performance held within the work of art by the artist from Biella. For their performance, the pupils, led by choreographer Lucie Eidenbenz, drew inspiration from the performance of the hands conceived by the Rebirth/Third Paradise ambassadress Grazia Omodei. On the day, the youths read messages written by their same-age victims of exploitation from Uganda, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali (the texts were gathered and selected through the ILO – International Labour Organization – network).
Going back to the workshop, it was structured as three stages of the same activity. As mentioned, the first was held on 15th November, while the other two will take place on 15th January and 16th April 2018. Last week’s event was divided in three different sections, linked by the symbol of the Third Paradise. The first was centred around the presentation of the symbol and its meanings, with Teruzzi inviting the pupils to reflect on trinamics and the importance of the mirror within Pistoletto’s artistic development. The workshop gained momentum in the second part, which consisted in an activity inspired by a few of Pistoletto’s photographic works: “The conference”, “Rays of people” and “The spectators”.
To understand the contents of the workshop – adapted to the age of the pupils – is necessary to have a background explanation of the works in question. “The conference”, the result of a photographic action held at the Stein Gallery in Turin in 1975, represents the speaker and his twenty listeners taking a mutual picture of each other, ending up with a single group picture of the audience and twenty pictures of the speaker. “Rays of people” – a work carried out in the same place and year as the previous one – was also centred around photography, we read in the book “Michelangelo Pistoletto. Il varco dello specchio” (Crossing the mirror): “While the two participants take photographs of the opposite corners of the gallery, all the others capture the scene from the different positions they find themselves in. The twenty images thus obtained are subsequently exhibited, at eye level, along the four walls of a room, documenting simultaneously the view of all the participants”. Finally, “The spectators”, performed at the Persano Gallery in Turin, had forty people looking into the photographer’s lens; the participants therefore become spectators of themselves, since they were able to look into the picture taken. The sense associating all these works is the relationship “one-many, many-one”, to mean that we are always in relation to somebody, creating an endless network of inteconnections.
The third and last part of the workshop was an activity-game based on Michelangelo Pistoletto’s sign-symbol, at the time physically represented with a blue rope: each pupil wrote a word related to nature on a black card (first circle) and a word related to artifice on a white card (second circle), they then chose a word from each circle, which they used to compose sentences, writing them on colourful cards (central circle, the Third Paradise). The challenge was to build a sentence with a sense, reflecting on a way to find a connection between two words which apparently didn’t have any; for example, using the words “iPhone” and “water” they created the sentence “New iPhones are waterproof”.
“The International School in Geneva – said Saverio Teruzzi – is a kaleidoscope, a place where you can see and perceive existence with all its differences, reasons and variety of points of view. A rare if not unique reality where the trinamic principle of “one and one makes three” assumes a specific and possibly special character: our cultural richness is not made of detractions, blocks or reciprocal vetos, but it is to be found in the sum, the strength generating creativity and respect for one another”.