La Mente Fresca

La Mente Fresca

For more than three weeks in April and May 2010, I was the perpetual tourist in Villasor, a small town in southern Sardinia, and realized an experiment in routing, routine and suspended relationships.

commentsPeople's Reactions

The first time you arrive at a new destination your senses are sharp. Your mind is in discovery mode and you are literally on a trip. But what happens if you cleared your memory out each morning and kept returning to the same destination with this pristine mind of the uninitiated?

During the Le Ville Matte residency, I tried to experience genuine surprise for the same places and same people encountered on my daily tour. By following a rigid, daily routine with the perpetuated mindset of a novice, the behavioral patterns became exposed and subject to emotional shifts and unexpected, creative developments.


Doing the same tourist activities
— day in and day out, for three weeks in a row:

La Mente Fresca Actions I am buying a postcard of Villasor at the ABC stationary store, every day — With the same pure mind (leaving behind a salt pile & palm leaf).

La Mente Fresca Actions I am having a coffee at Monte Granatico bar every day — With the same pure mind (leaving behind a salt pile & palm leaf).

La Mente Fresca Actions I am buying a 60-cent stamp at the post office every day — With the same pure mind (leaving behind a salt pile & palm leaf).

La Mente Fresca Actions I am asking for directions to the castle at the Piazza every day — With the same pure mind (leaving behind a salt pile & palm leaf).

La Mente Fresca Actions I am requesting a guided tour at the castle Siviller every day — With the same pure mind (leaving behind a salt pile & palm leaf).


SLIDE SHOW: My Daily, Recurring Tour in Villasor, Sardinia
(Photos: Rupen Boyadjan, Yuka Saitô, Augusto Buzzegoli)

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The Documentation
— A Journal Derived From Observations and Connections

After each tour I am recording all my personal impressions and people's reactions on a specially designed forms that are part of my travel journal. At the final exhibition visitors were invited to add their observations and stories to the openly displayed journal entries. The people of Villasor were also given the ingredients to carry on with LA MENTE FRESCA in their own lives.

La Mente Fresca documentation

Custom-designed form sheets helped me capture some of the impressions on the places and people that I encountered on the daily tour. This hand-written, paper-based documentation allowed me to focus on the moment and immediate (first-level) experience — where a lense or mike often interfer.


The Exhibition and Installation
— Observations, Salt and Fresh Minds at Free Disposal


In a faraway country, a long time ago, there lived a girl. The girl wanted to learn songs but the people had forgotten their lyrics. She wanted to hear stories but people were too occupied for telling stories or didn't seem to remember them. It looked like as if the words in town have vanished.

As the girl was sitting with sadness one day a clever sheep passed by, gave her a bag of salt and a bunch of palm leaves and said: "Listen my dear. Each grain of salt is carrying a word when it is touched by the tongue. And each palm leaf carries the meaning into the world when it touches the ears."

From that day the girl planted salt and palm leafs wherever she passed through and noticed how stories started to return.

SLIDE SHOW: Salt Installation and Exhibition Opening (May 15, 2010)
(Photos: Markuz Wernli Saitô)

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The Motivation Behind La Mente Fresca

Communication beyond language: In an effort to interact directly with the population of Villasor - despite limited Italian language skills - this project relies on alternative exchanges.

Scrutinizing role-based behaviors: Many negative connotations surround the role of a tourist. By perpetuating and deepening the tourist experience, people involved become (knowingly or not) part of an inter-personal experiment.

Appellation to the patience of people: I am curious to observe how contacts will evolve over the days and weeks. How will people respond to my constant reappearance and sense of surprise? Will they play along? Where will this imposed engagement and endurance lead to?

An attempt to experience genuine surprise: It is easier to become jaded than to stay openminded. Putting memories aside I start every morning afresh and maintain a pristine sensibility towards my host location. But how much surprise can there be when actions and people involved remain constant?


Le Ville Matte

LE VILLE MATTE visual arts residency took place in the town of Villasor (near Cagliari, Sardinia) with workshops and exhibition at the historical venues of former Capuchin Convent and Castel Siviller. The five week long initiative provided opportunities for artistic inquiry and research leading up to "feather-light", low footprint art projects throughout town.


The 2010 edition (April 14 to May 15) involved an international group of 10 artists, guest curator and visiting professor and was entitled "Supercalifragilistic (Mistaken Landscapes)". Villasor hosted portfolio evaluations, artist talks, lectures and dinners to promote encounters between the artists and the local population. The residency culminated into a final show (May to September 2010) with a subsequent publication (edited by Kaleidoscope), documenting the works produced during the research period.



Project Participants: Licia Abis, Colette Poddi, Michela Onnis, Antonio Kikiki, Roberta Pistis, Marcello & Eleonora Corda, Maria Lampis, Piero C.
Interpretation and Translations: Augusto Buzzegoli.
Project Support: Rupen Boyadjan, Yuka Saitô, Eva Petrič.
Guest Curator: Chiara Agnello.
Organizers and Coordinators: Giorgio Murtas, Francesca Sassu from the Provincia di Cagliari - Assessorato Politiche Culturali e Promozione Sportiva.
Visiting Professor: Giancarlo Norese.


LE VILLE MATTE has been made possible with the collaboration and promotion of City of Villasor, Careof DOCVA, Kaleidoscope,, Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Fondazione Spinola Banna.