The polictics office of Cittadellarte is developing and promoting Love Difference - an Artistic Movement for an Inter-Mediterranean Policy. Love Difference encompasses social processes for exchange and interaction between the various cultures, recognising that in art there is a possibility to propose and activate dynamics capable of giving rise to new assets in the Civil Society, including political ones.
Love Difference is a plural operating nucleus that develops co-operative dynamics within a network open to the participation of parties interested in confronting differences. The Movement can operate using different methods; every party (whether an individual, a group, an institution or a foundation) will find its own most appropriate way to co-operate.
Benoît Roussel with Ramallah Reconstruction Think Tank goes through the history of Palestine, proposing a platform for dialogue to a group of artists from Ramallah. He calls them to take back possession of their own city through the imagination and the ‘desire for reconstruction’. Ramallah Reconstruction Think Tank - appealing to the vital energy that no occupation can stifle - invites the artists to present projects for the spaces that have been destroyed or abandoned in the city of Ramallah. It opens a near future to a reality that lives daily in a context devoid of prospects, presented by the public opinion media, just through images of conflict. During UNIDEE 2002, Arting Jerusalem took shape on the basis of a dialogue on the prospects for art in the public sphere. This is an art festival for public spaces in the city of Jerusalem, run by Liron Meshulam and the Musrara School of Photography and New Media, with the participation of Israeli artists and others from different Mediterranean countries and beyond. Arting Jerusalem offers new visions of an urban fabric, carries messages and cues for reflection through art, inviting spaces and occasions for confrontation, dealing with both social tensions and the small, everyday feelings people have. These are just a few of the ideas and projects with which the Movement intends to enter in relation for the purpose of promoting and operating concrete actions within the new, socio-political scenario currently in process of definition. In order to increase and confer greater dynamism on its own structure, Love Difference is taking part in the 50th Venice International Biennial, maintaining as a fundamental principle the encounter and confrontation with the public.
The different forms, colours and aromas from the Mediterranean region create the space of Love Difference. A reflective table shaped to the perimeter of the Mediterranean establishes the operating point of the ‘ufficio’. Chairs, stools, carpets, cushions and animal skins sent to Love Difference from the various Mediterranean countries surround the table and invite the observers to sit down and open a dialogue and take part, enrolling themselves, in the Artistic Movement for an Inter-Mediterranean Policy. The office works to widen and divide the network of contacts and presents a programme of events and discussions that develop the theme of the social, economic, cultural and political value of differences. These encounters are grafted on to the general activity of Love Difference based on the extensive structuring of a network of contacts, programmes and initiatives that, through artistic creativity, are leading to new dimensions and inter-community relationships among the Mediterranean countries.
“Love Difference reflects different cultures”
Love Difference ˆ Artistic Movement for an InterMediterranean Politic was established in Biella in Spring 2002 in the Politics Office of the CittadellarteˆFondazione Pistoletto. The aim is to bring together, around the regions facing onto the Mediterranean Sea, people and institutions interested in creating new prospects that reach beyond the tragic conflict between different cultures.
Aims of the movement
To give meaning to the word Œhumanity‚, openly, sensitively and warmly accepting differences between individuals and social groups.
To focus on creativity, understood as an expression of freedom and as a strategic element at the centre of all sectors of human activity, including communication, ecology, economy, education, philosophy, work, nutrition, politics, religion, science and spirituality.
To operate at an artistic, cultural level to tackle and solve the conflicts and tensions generated by different cultures, channelling existing energies in directions other than that of confrontation.
— To collaborate with universities, academies and cultural institutions that run courses or activities connected with the Mediterranean.
To set up courses and schools and offer master degree programmes and grants for Mediterranean studies.
To set up a workshop to create a socially committed art form expressing a new way of thinking which transcends mere considerations of economic speculation and is capable of inspiring all sectors of human activity.
To forge the links of a wide-ranging chain of relationships and to promote an exchange of ideas geared to the shaping of new prospects for society around the shores of the Mediterranean.
To work towards the establishment of a Mediterranean Cultural Parliament.
To extend its activities beyond the Mediterranean basin in order to reach the whole international community.
The movement is non-political and non-profit making.
Love Difference Manifesto
Why an Artistic Movement for an InterMediterrean Politic?
The course of world politics cannot be left purely to the logic of economic speculation. Politics and the economy need to be inspired by a new way of thinking. The formative space for this thinking is the creative laboratory of socially engaged art. Love Difference is a movement of ideas arising out of this laboratory. Traditional political systems have revealed their inability to face and deal with the major problems inherent in the current cultural transformation, which concerns global society and the physical condition of the planet. The Western world is now talking about art and creativity as a possible last resource to use in order to re-establish some kind of control over things. But creative commitment requires taking on much more important responsibilities than one might believe. The effective creative faculties of human beings are being put strongly to the test in all fields, not only specifically artistic ones. Art, the foremost expression of creativity, is assuming social responsibility and becoming a compass bearing for a prospective new planetary civilization. The Cittadellarte projects put art into live contact with each sector of the social structure, including that of politics. Politics is no longer extraneous to art but is incorporated within it, sharing with it a vision and a responsible operative system. This gives rise to a political movement of creativity and art aimed at furthering discussion and cooperation with all other sectors of human activity in the search for solutions to the major problems of society.
Why Love Difference?
Love Difference is a name, a slogan, a declaration of aims. The movement combines the universality of art with the idea of political transnationality, and focuses on the Mediterranean in that it mirrors the problems of global society. On one hand the difference between ethnic groups, religions and cultures is the cause of terrible conflicts; on the other, the supremacy of powers, which is leading to uniformity and the erasure of differences, has led to a dramatic situation. The system of standardization clashes with the multiple and diverse geographic, cultural and political entities that have come to the surface in the aftermath of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. Uniformity and difference are the two opposing terms that represent the maximum conflicting tension in the current world situation. A politic which leads people to Œlove differences‚ is vital for the development of new prospects throughout the social domain. The name of the movement, Love Difference, encapsulates a concept which goes beyond a rational notion of Œtolerance‚ for what is diverse and penetrates directly into the sphere of feelings: love means feeling attraction and emotion, expressing affection and dedication. The first thing to accept, in an open, sensitive and warm fashion, are the differences between people and social groups, in order to finally give meaning to the word Œhumanity‚ in this increasingly globalized world.
The Mediterranean is the birthplace of differences stemming from many cultures, all of which are different expressions of common roots. In the past the Mediterranean was a Œworkshop‚ of differences between peoples, ethnic groups, religions, arts and trade concerns. The Mediterranean Sea reflects the history of a large part of humanity, but it also reflects the future, in that the society which one day overlooks its shores will be a measure of civilization on a world scale. It lies on the edge ˆ not only in geographical terms ˆ of the large continental areas of Asia, America, Africa and Europe. World tensions are being relentlessly released into this basin. Many institutions are currently active in the Mediterranean countries, each with its own programme. However, there needs to be an effective overall strategy so as to produce a significant inversion in the current state of affairs in the area. Love Difference seeks to activate a movement of thought and action that leads, through creative engagement, to the formation of a network of connections with and between the different countries of the Mediterranean area. The movement intends to use this network to lay the foundations for a Mediterranean Cultural Parliament. To change the current dramatic situation it is necessary to identify people and bodies throughout the Mediterranean area with whom it will be possible to work towards Œresponsible social transformation‚.
Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is an example of unity in difference. Local diversities stem from the country‚s ancient division into numerous small states with distinct traditions, tastes and typical forms of production, making it an extraordinary model of recomposition and renewal for the different cultural, economic, political and spiritual identities in the Mediterranean area.
The exact spot in Biella on which the Cittadellarte (a former factory) is built has an important symbolic significance for the Love Difference project. Geological surveys indicate that the underlying rock was thrust up as the result the collision of the African and European continents, and that they mark the join between the two. The Mediterranean Sea was formed by the subsequent shelving of the northern portion of the African continent. The Biella rock formations are part of a narrow line called Insubrica, which runs along the Alps from Piedmont to Friuli and marks the northern boundary of Africa and the Mediterranean. This geological-geographic feature is symbolic and strategic. With Love Difference ˆ Artistic Movement for an InterMediterranean Politic, Cittadellarte, positioned as it is at the extreme south of Europe and the extreme north of Africa, identifies itself as being central to a project linking Europe to the Mediterranean. For opposite political, economic and cultural reasons, Europe needs to resolve the problems of its South and Africa needs to solve its problems with the countries of the North. In Italy we are experiencing both problems and so we must find multiple solutions. The geographic position of the headquarters of Love Difference is the most fitting metaphor of the movement‚s objective, which is to be a real Œmeeting point of differences’