Elsa Peretti Italian Affiliated Fellowship in Design

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: September 2010 - Project end date: July 2011
Project number: 2010-59
Beneficiary: American Academy in Rome

TIMELINE OF THE PRESENT ACTIVITY REPORT: From April 2011 to December 2012

As was made clear by the exhibition of work by fifteen artists in different genres installed throughout the public spaces the American Academy in Rome (AAR) in January through March of 2011 and entitled ACCADEMIA°STANZE°PERSONE, the Italian Affiliated Fellows in the Arts have been an important presence at the AAR since at least 2006. The goals of the Elsa Peretti Italian Affiliated Fellowship in Design are at least twofold: 1) to integrate into the AAR’s residential community of primarily American artists and scholars Italian artists in Design/Architecture who will benefit from the gift of time away from professional practice in order to advance their own work and who will benefit from dialogue with their American and international counterparts; 2) to expose the American Rome Prize Fellows to the work of their Italian counterparts in Design/Architecture. By means of encounters both informal (conversations over meals, visits to studios) and formal (lectures, conferences, and other events both at the AAR and in the city of Rome), the objective is to enrich the creative life and practice of Italian artists in Design/Architecture and to share their expertise about Rome and Italy with the American population of the AAR.

Giovanna Latis was at the AAR from April through August of 2011. She found her studio in the McKim, Mead and White building highly conducive to creativity and her contacts with AAR community members equally stimulating. In order to explore the relationship between architectonic space and materials exhibited in those spaces, and to further her project researching exhibition spaces and the role of light in them, Latis undertook a series of photographs of the Galleria Borghese, the Vatican Museum, the Corsini Gallery, the Markets of Trajan, and the Farnese Palace in Caprarola. Collaborations with other AAR community members resulted in a lighting installation called “Verzura Chandelier” for a program called Hungry City (concerning sustainable agriculture and urbanism) on June 23, 2011 and one lighting design as part of the annual Fontanonestate festival (for a program called “Americani a Roma” on July 21, 2011) at the Acqua Paola. These collaborations were important to Latis in connecting the theoretical and practical aspects of her work. The work she did while at the AAR will be continued in both a series of lectures and a book proposal.

Carolina Fois was at the AAR from September through December of 2012. During her time at the AAR, she was able to pursue her project “Investigating Our Dreams of Nature Through Contemporary Landscape Design,” in particular trying to establish which archetypes, aesthetic poetics and cultural models particularly influence contemporary landscape design in what Fois calls the “ecological era.” She particularly appreciated the chance to follow up her own ideas and explore across disciplinary boundaries, which is exactly what the AAR tries to encourage by bringing artists and scholars from many different fields and disciplines together. She spent 1 ½ months reading as broadly as possible about architecture and landscape architecture as they intersect with sociology, economics, art, philosophy and ecology. Fois devised a timeline (from ancient Egyptian gardens to modern ones) in order to understand historical evolutions in landscape design, and then identified three major headings under which to group world-wide projects that are re- imagining gardens and landscape architecture. Fois also appreciated the change in her perspective on Italian urban gardens provided by her having lived in Paris for eight years. In particular, she was interested in the paralysis of the political class in Rome, with regard to managing green areas, and the development of avant-garde practices and a new ecological intelligence by those who are in the field. The work she did while at the AAR will allow her to prepare a book project for which she has already assembled 85% of the images. The next Peretti Design Fellow, who will be at the AAR in spring 2013, is Francesco Faccin, whose project “Design a chilometro zero” will explore the boundaries between industrial and artisanal production and the possibility of creating “technological artisans” in the future. The 2012-13 Italian Affliated Fellowship competition received nominations from 163 nominators resulting in 92 applications (of which 15 were in Architecture/Design) and Fellowships awarded in Visual Arts, Literature, Musical Composition, and Design.

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