In December, Salgemma presented itself to the public around Puglia, as a guest in a number of spaces and cities, to tell the public about its new objectives and projects, together with guests invited to offer ideas and visions on the near future of the project. For those who were not able to be present at the Launch Tour stages, Salgemma shares a brief account of the Lecce and Bari stages through the speeches and contents that emerged during the meetings!
The first stage of the Salgemma Launch tour landed in the spaces of Linea, a space for production, study and research on contemporary practices based in Lecce, with a focus on the work of mapping and enhancement of cultural heritage, trying to answer the question "How to start a process of mapping and communication of a territory?".

This is how we recounted the Salgemma project, from the initial idea to the mission that animates the project, that of starting the story of a territory through the mapping of geography of art and contemporary culture! 

Is it possible to use a map to read and monitor the productions, the different identities and the research that develops in a territory? Is it possible, through an editorial project, to collect constantly updated literature on the cultural present in Apulia? Is it possible to strengthen, through communication and tools such as the map, the newsletter and the online magazine, a cultural fabric that has never been connected until now, and to make projects accessible to different audiences, to enhance the value of cultural work and to recognise a structured - or new - system so as to make it more readable in order to implement innovative forms of production and support? 

In our opinion, it is important to recognise in this system the activity of projects that already have different statutes, such as independent spaces, digital projects, studios, residencies, but also different professional figures, collectives and artists, in aid also of a broader national debate related to the art system and its limits and evolutions. We believe it is important to encourage horizontal communication between the same projects active on the territory, to extend them beyond regional borders, and the need for comparison between art workers and public and political institutions, different generations and between established artists and those in training, so as to increase skills and offer a differentiated cultural proposal. 

We also wonder how the compelling past, of experiences and frequentations of art in Apulia, can dialogue in the generational change and in the most recent artistic production. And again, another question, how to strengthen more firmly the dialogue between academic and university education and the places of cultural artistic production, facilitating knowledge, good practices and mobility.

Through the dialogue with some projects dealing with the enhancement and mapping of contemporary art in Italy, we underlined the importance of creating a network that better communicates existing projects and recognises a contemporary artistic and cultural scene also in Apulia. 

The guests of the first stage were two similar projects for the discussion and recognition of an Italian art system: Supercondominio and Italian Cluster.

Supercondominio - this year in its third edition - is an opportunity for some of the most significant young Italian realities dedicated to artistic organisation and production to meet. Imagined as a moment of exchange and coexistence based on interpersonal relationships and mutual understanding, the guests are invited to share a night in the spaces of the Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea. Supercondominio 3 was curated by Giulia Colletti, Treti Galaxie (Matteo Mottin & Ramona Ponzini) and Laura Lecce, who answered some of our questions in a video call in the room! 

Salgemma Launch Tour - Mapping, Supercondominio, Linea, Lecce, 2021 - ph Alice Stella
Salgemma Launch Tour - Mapping, Supercondominio, Linea, Lecce, 2021 - ph Alice Stella

Italian Cluster is a journey, a report that censuses and analyses the project spaces working in the field of contemporary art in Italy. Italian Cluster is a research project curated by Giulia Floris and Giulia Ratti, which starts from the mapping and study of project spaces in order to develop a critical discourse through a comparison with the professionals who manage, participate, observe, finance and inspire these realities. The Italian Cluster project is edited by Giulia Floris and Giulia Ratti.

The publication that was produced at the end of the report can be purchased by sending a request to Salgemma. A collector's item for sure!

Salgemma Launch Tour - Mapping, Italian Cluster, Linea, Lecce, 2021 - ph Alice Stella
Salgemma Launch Tour - Mapping, Italian Cluster, Linea, Lecce, 2021 - ph Alice Stella
  Italian Cluster: Viaggio nella galassia dei project space che lavorano nel campo dell’arte contemporanea in Italia, 2018 - courtesy Italian Cluster
Italian Cluster: A journey through the galaxy of project spaces working in the field of contemporary art in Italy, 2018 - courtesy Italian Cluster

We share a little story of the Italian Cluster experience, through a contribution by Giulia Floris.

Cluster Report was born in Milan from an idea of Giulia Ratti and Giulia Floris, a visual artist and an art historian. It stems from the experience of the former as the founder of /77 in Milan, and from various collaborations with project spaces in the city for the latter. It stems from a deep discussion about the intense proliferation that independent realities have shown around the mid-2000s. But above all it was born from the idea of conducting a survey that could immortalise that moment, that ferment, and

But above all, it was born from the idea of conducting an investigation that could immortalise that moment, that ferment, and leave a precise image of it in all its facets: one that could create a research method or become useful for subsequent similar practices.

Cluster Report thus takes the form of a spatial journey that lasts about a year, focusing first on Italy and comprising research and collection.

Analytical research, through a questionnaire sent to spaces all over Italy to find out their characteristics, profiles and main problems. The questionnaire allowed us to find a common ground, which did not flatten the realities encountered to a single semblance, but asked them the same questions, so as to highlight similarities and differences.

Another important step for Cluster Report was the collection of materials and testimonies from professionals who touched the world of independent realities in Italy, without necessarily being inside it: artists, researchers, curators, collectors, gallery owners, teachers, fair and museum directors and entrepreneurs were therefore other important protagonists of our journey through the galaxy of independent spaces in Italy.

The decision to translate this first journey into a publication stems from the materials collected over time. The colourful Italian Cluster publication is composed of:

- a glossary of Italian project spaces

- interviews, dialogues and conversations during our journey

- info-graphics showing the results of the survey conducted through the questionnaire and the situation of project spaces updated to December 2017

- a bibliography that reminds us, and reminds our readers, how Cluster Report is part of a line of research that has existed for years and should be enriched and supported as such.

The layout of the Italian Cluster Report also makes it possible to use the contents either in their entirety or by following different categories of interest separately: funds, research, system, history, territory. These are the cornerstones that have guided us on our space journey.

Cluster Report was ultimately an independent research platform, driven by the desire to collect digital and printed content on project space in Italy and Europe - and perhaps the whole universe - in an attempt to achieve a research practice applicable in multiple contexts and, above all, replicable. Its first and main output was in 2018 the publication of Italian Cluster, a publication that reports the data collected from this first journey.

Far from representing scientific content, Italian Cluster is the logbook of this journey. There are therefore no real answers to the questions posed, but only a choral collection of reflections and the search for methods to ask the right questions.

Although the publication has not been updated, the work carried out by the platform has never stopped, perpetuating a survey across Italy and Europe on the birth of new realities, on the mapping in progress and on the possible futures of non-profit spaces and the research field that concerns them. 

Over the years Cluster Report has thus collaborated with Fondazione Pistoletto - Cittadellarte, ArtVerona, Supercondominio, Forum of Contemporary Art, British Council and many other realities.

Giulia Floris

See you soon with the second story!

The editorial staff of Salgemma

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