Liminaria is a fieldwork-based research project aimed at developing sustainable cultural, social and economic networks in the Fortore area, a rural micro-region in the province of Benevento, Southern Italy. The project unfolds through the planning and execution of “actions” on the territory, all carried out in joint collaboration with local communities. In this way, it seeks to test out new models of intervention in rural areas, thus reconfiguring rural territories as dynamic places while revaluing local resources.
Liminaria is already in its fourth year. Different kind of “actions” have been carried out so far within the framework of the project: cultural events and performances (including a sound-art residency programme for international artists), mid-term coworking projects with local schools, activities of network optimisation, new-media related initiatives, hybrid and experimental research protocols.
The “Liminaria Residency Programme” is an essential part of the project. The international sound-artists who join the programme share the project’s mission of shunning mere descriptive approaches to the territory and the local communities, activating instead a critical, two-way exchange in which local communities are called upon to tell their stories and the stories of their territory together with the artists, thus co-threading a narrative that creatively changes year after year. Indeed, since the very first edition of Liminaria, the residency programme has focused on the very evident characteristics of the Fortore region to narrate them otherwise. These characteristics include the complex dynamics between rural territory and urban space, the issues of “generation” and “time” within local communities (depopulation, movement, and cultural heritage), the peculiar geophysical characteristics of the place (remoteness, wind, energy, infrastructure and/or lack thereof).
However, over the years the approaches within the residencies have been changing significantly. The territory has very soon ceased to be a mere space for the artists to describe – as if they were “detached observers/detached listeners”; on the contrary, the territory has claimed its right to be experienced in all its complexity – as a milieu made of different, co-existing elements. In terms of sonic thought/sonic research, this has entailed the elaboration and production of projects that have increasingly addressed composition over documentation and “innerscapes” over static notions of the “soundscape”, thus revealing the acousmatic, the fleeting and the eerie within the milieu, in consideration of absent as well as present elements, human as well as non-human forces.
By pursuing a research path that has spontaneously emerged from the residency programme, Liminaria 2017 will therefore programmatically focus on the concept of “coexistence”. Different (human and non-human) life forms exist and insist on a territory, any territory – and they are mutually implicated in one another. Sometimes, they co-exist together peaceably; some other times, they are in conflict with each other. Conflictual coexistences are valuable too, as they generate “grey zones” within a rural territory, which can productively challenge any inherited notion of “environment”, “nature”, and “ecology”. Through its co-existences (and conflictual co-existences), the rural territory can in fact be approached otherwise, leaving aside contemplative, romantic or decadent clichés about “rurality”.
In critical dialogue with concepts recently developed within critical theory – such as a “dark ecology” of places (Timothy Morton) and a “dark ontology” of sounds – the artists-in-residence and curators will explore together these dimensions. The residency programme (taking place over 3 non-consecutive weeks in June, July and September) will also test out a hybrid form of self-reflexive “joint curatorship”, sharing the research process with the communities, in close contact with the actual territory, in the here and now of the residency. The micro-region of Fortore will reveal itself one more time as a place of potentiality: a landscape of resonance and dissonance, a complex assemblage of visible and invisible forces, a challenge raised to the concepts of “place”, “rurality” and “ecology” as we know them.