Introduction. Magic Carpets: A Rhizomatic Platform by

by 26. 2. 2023

Over time, humans have established travel as one of the ways of relating to different civilisations. This in turn has provided us with important clues to the fundamental characteristics of humankind in interacting with its environment. The scope of travel does not exclusively imply a physical movement from one place to another, but also an emotional involvement, which gives travel a purely psychological function. The Magic Carpets project came from an encounter with the Director of the Biennale of Kaunas, Virginjia Vitkiene. The idea was to create a project together that could become a broader and more inclusive platform. Magic Carpets, a title I conceived, refers to the famous tales of the One Thousand and One Nights and the idea of the magic or flying carpet, a “fantastical device” to travel around the world in the blink of an eye. The platform can be compared metaphorically to this carpet as a space to share different histories and tales while discovering how much we have in common as well as what differentiates us from one another. The cornerstone of the Magic Carpets platform is based around the essential concepts of travel, borders, community and rhizome. The title Magic Carpets refers to stories that lead us to another place and to a long nomadic tradition that expands geographically. Travel is a fundamental tool for building relationships with others and with one’s own context, to break down the borders existing between countries and exploring all the different cultures. In this process, artists take up an essential role in helping to break down borders and barriers, to build bridges capable of reducing distance and differences. 

I strongly believe that this platform’s most important element is the possibility of sharing ideas and thoughts and developing topics related to several problems faced by all of us. These problems range from migration, intolerance, social marginalization and social disadvantages. The approach of Magic Carpets is meant to be rhizomatic and horizontal, metaphorically and later physically creating a common place of equality for everyone where stories, legends, symbols, artworks and ideas could be shared. 

In comparison with other residency projects, Magic Carpets is strongly committed to building a mutual exchange experience between artistscoming from different countries. The artists are selected by each partner according to their portfolios. Special focus is given to the artist’s attitude towards working with communities since one of the most important objectives of Magic Carpets is to involve local people and create interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogues between artists and communities. Artists are specifically selected based on their practices, which perfectly align with the partner’s topic. It’s not easy, of course, to choose only 2 artists, but this process has given us the possibility of creating a list of young and emerging artists that will be useful for partners regarding future projects. The processes that Nicolas Bourriaud mentions in his essay “Post Production” designate “an area of activity” in which alternative protocols are processed for already-existing representations and narrative structures. “To learn to make use of forms means first of all to know how to make them one’s own and live in them”, moving from a culture of consumption to a culture of activity, from a passive attitude to a form of resistance based on the reactivation of denied or marginalized potential. Fiction becomes a way of capturing the truth and art becomes the optical instrument for looking at the world in order to outline a dialogue with the context. I truly believe that this platform is expanding the possibility of broadening borders and dialogues. If we are to consider new generations and most of all art in relation to reality and everyday life, then we need platforms that will provide us with the space to explore this. Magic Carpets allows us to trespass boundaries and build new horizons and connections, involving artists capable of creating mutual exchanges with local communities.

Benedetta Capri de Resmini is a Director of Latitudo s.r.l. and curator.

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Benedetta Carpi De Resmini