The City of Palermo, Italy is the host city of Manifesta 12 in 2018
Manifesta, the nomadic European Contemporary Art Biennial, originated in the early nineties in response to the political, economic and social changes following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent steps towards European integration. Since then, Manifesta has developed into a travelling platform that focuses on the dialogue between art and society in Europe. Manifesta is a project based on community: its success depends on the collaboration between the international and local actors and the involvement and engagement of the local communities.
The City of Palermo was important for Manifesta’s selection board for its representation of two important themes that identify contemporary Europe: migration and climate changes and how these issues impact our cities. The multi-layered and deeply condensed history of Palermo – being occupied by almost every European civilization and having long-term connections with Northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 2000 years – has left its traces throughout this multi-cultural society at the heart of the Mediterranean area.
“Manifesta 12 in Palermo is a great challenge to rethink how far cultural interventions can play a role in helping re-shaping one of the most iconic Mediterranean crossroads in our history as part of a long term transformation process. Manifesta 12 will raise questions such as: “Who owns the city of Palermo?” and “how to claim back the city?“ The city’s migration problems are symbolic of the far wider crisis situation which the whole of Europe is facing right now.”
Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director
“Manifesta 12 in Palermo in 2018 will be a fantastic opportunity for the city to reinvigorate its local and international identity. It is a moment for Europe to appreciate the significance of its Mediterranean dimension and identity: Palermo brings Manifesta to the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean to Europe. Manifesta 12 is an opportunity to celebrate Palermo for what it really is: a laboratory for the humanities, arts and culture. The city will be able to renew itself and pave a way for its future.”
Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo
Manifesta 12’s main ambition is to work in a truly interdisciplinary way with local communities in order to rethink the basic architectural, urban, economic, social and cultural structures of the city. Manifesta 12 can investigate how great the role of cultural intervention can be in allowing the Palermitani citizens to take back ownership of their city. Manifesta 12 in Palermo can act as a grass-root incubator supporting the local communities with cultural interventions: this will help to rethink the city in their socio-economical and cultural structures and will use the existing informal profile of the city to act as a platform for social change.
The upcoming pre-biennial program will start in building the process for a sustainable theoretical framework and will set out the parameters of the city’s revitalisation process. In this phase, Manifesta would like to activate the communities of Palermo in the identification of its mission statement and objectives, as well as the challenges, expectations and outcomes of Manifesta 12.