A Natural Oasis? 

A transnational research program ︎

2018 - 2020

IT, CY, UK, San Marino

Fig. 1 Talk between Nottingham Contemporary and A Natural Oasis? , February 2019

Curated by Alessandro Castiglioni and Simone Frangi, A Natural Oasis? is a two years nomadic free school dedicated to the development of new curatorial research paths in the field of contemporary visual and performing arts starting from the geopolitical peculiarities of the artistic scenes of San Marino, UK, Cyprus and Italy. The purpose of this project is to build a transnational cultural platform able to critically question the ideas of territorial remoteness/marginality/smallness through the lenses of artistic research, triggering a reflection on the fictional procedures that empowered the idea of Europe in its geopolitical and cultural immunity via the exclusion or the vampirization of its “provinces”.

The project aims to develop radical curatorial and artistic discourses assuming geo-cultural areas as polemical fields in which a precise ecology of fluxes describe their cultural, economical and political morphology. More over, this project focuses on the controversial shortage of cultural professionals in “peripheral” cultural and artistic systems in relationship with ongoing processes of educational centralization and with the concentration of artistic legitimation processes in big European “centres”. A Natural oasis? is a transnational research training based on the tools that social sciences provide to contemporary cultural practices and develops specific context-aware professional figures in the frame of a global contemporary artistic scene. The aim of the project is the development of what we can call situated practices in the context of a specific locality but with a transnational perspective.

A Natural Oasis? bases its working methodology on the tactics of conversational and dialogical research and on the main strategies of oral history. In this view, work sessions, visiting professors’ lectures and seminars will be characterized by a discursive approach based on study and in-depth analysis but also on storytelling and educational settings. The project privileges an idea of knowledge production through direct rough experience and travelling experiences in the territories accompanied and tutored by local partners. The final result of A Natural Oasis?  is the collective curatorial concept for the upcoming Biennale Mediterranean 19, titled School of Waters. 

A Natural Oasis? is dedicated to contemporary art critic and teacher Roberto Daolio who devoted himself to study the methods through which the projects of young artists and their languages could be developed.

Simone Frangi (1982) is a cultural researcher, art writer and curator. He holds a French-italian PhD in Aestethics and Theory of Art. He’s currently artistic director of Viafarini – Non profit Organization for Contemporary Artistic Research (Milan, IT) and co-curator of Live Works – Performance Act Award at Centrale Fies (Trento, IT). He’s Lecturer of Theory of Contemporary Art at Fine Arts and Design Academy in Grenoble, where he recently founded the workshop and residency based research program “Practices of Hospitality”.

Alessandro Castiglioni (1984) is Senior Curator of Collections at MA*GA, Italy and lecturer of Art and Design History at Istituto Marangoni, Milan as well curator of the Little Constellation Network.