Fiona was selected for the Ingruttati Palermo workshop and exhibition, a collateral 5x5x5 event, organised by Hydrocity as part of Manifesta12 in July 2018. Manifesta12, the European nomadic arts biennale acts as form of ‘urban acupuncture, providing interventions in key city spaces’. To take part, Fiona was generously supported by Bath Spa University’s Enterprise Showcase Fund.
The aim of the workshop (20-29 July), involving experts and international students in art and architecture, was to work collaboratively, researching the underground qanat (aquaduct) network at territorial and local scales to produce a collective installation and publication. The Manifesta12 theme ‘The Planetary Garden’, a vision where citizens are responsible gardeners caring for their environment, was at the heart of the work.
The final exhibition ‘Ingruttati Palermo’ showed artworks resulting from the workshop, presented in the Crypt of Chiesa Parrocchiale Santa Agnese, Danisinni, Palermo, 27 July – 4 November 2018.
Fiona was interested in developing the aspect of her practice involving collaborative art projects in the community on an international level. As part of the work, she created ‘A Gift of Water’, filmed as a performative gesture for ‘Ingruttati Palermo’. It was an opportunity to engage public participation and collaboration on an environmental theme.
For further information about the project visit Fiona’s blog which documents her research and thought process in the form of a diary. The handwritten diary featured as an exhibit in the Ingruttati Palermo exhibition.
My interest in public participation and concerns over waste led me to explore the nature of gesture as a way to connect with local Danisinni residents. ’A Gift of Water’ is a performative piece, documented as a short film, using locally sourced recycled objects and water from the Danisinni source
The Manifesta experience gave Fiona valuable experience working internationally through socially engaged practice, connecting the concept of precious resource with art and public interaction.
Fiona collected found objects from research sites, which had particular significance to the narrative of qanats. Some formed part of the exhibition (see additional images)
Trolley from Gift of Water on exhibition
‘Encyclopedia Medica Per Tutti’ book found in a trash box on the outskirts of Danisinni. The parallels between networks in the body, rivers and the qanat system are striking. The beautiful layered illustrations reflect earth’s morphology.
Plastic pipe found at Gabriele water source. Pipes and papyrus are recurring themes in the narrative of qanats. Pipes have evolved from terracotta to steel to plastic - now an environmentally damaging material.
Terracotta fragment found at Gabriele source entrance, where ancient terracotta water pipes are displayed. Clay is a vital component of soil, acting like a sponge to hold water.
Found pegs, Danisinni. Laundry and washing clothes are strong symbols in the narrative of Danisinni. Once an ancient quarry 1000 years ago, when 2 rivers bordered Palermo, Danisinni developed in a swampy basin, leading to the laundry industry.
Diary, documenting her research and thought process.
Silt from Gabriele qanat water source, dried out.
Sandstone and clay samples found in Gesuitico de Casa Micciulla qanat.
Fig leaves and fruit, picked from a fallen Ficus tree branch in Palazzo Butera. The fig tree is a symbol of fertility and abundance. Its aerial roots illustrate vertical growth and energy downwards in a quest for water.
Cicada pupae, sourced at Orto Botanica, an exotic oasis in Palermo city centre. The sound of cicadas screeching adds a powerful sensory dimension to the garden.
Grass and papyrus nest, found at Gabriele cavern qanat water source. Papyrus grows abundantly in this area, known for its paper production.
Found objects from research sites, which had particular significance to the narrative of qanats