Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Tabula Rasa: 30 events for 111 days on a long table

A project by Denis Isaia, in conversation with Raqs Media Collective.

How does the exhibition The Rest of Now remain alive throughout the duration of Manifesta 7, and beyond? How does it engage with the territory and dialogue with the citizens of Bolzano / Bozen and the region?

Tabula Rasa, a special project of Manifesta 7, part of the exhibition The Rest of Now, is a series of events unfolding over 111 days in the frame of the ex- Alumix industrial building.


A long white table – tabula rasa – especially designed by Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller and produced by local artisans – serves as a container of events. Exhibitions and table-top performances will alternate with sound installations, theatre, film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, talks, book presentations, gardening, and the occasional banquet, in a continuous flux of ephemeral events, disappearing one after the other, leaving behind nothing but a trace impressed in the memory of the participants.

Tabula Rasa represents an element of continuous evolution and change within the exhibition, It also offers a platform for self-reflection, criticism and debate on the concepts raised by The Rest of Now. The project will host symposia, workshops, exhibitions and book presentations featuring  critics, theorists, writers and young curators. These events will be open to the public. They are designed to be occasions for reflecting together on The Rest of Now, as well as on the current contemporary art scene in Italy and internationally.

Tabula Rasa will give a voice not only to established art professionals, but also to cultural producers in the wider sense, reflecting the complexity of the contemporary art discourse, to include theatre, experimental music, comics, poetry, radio, socio-political debates. Tabula Rasa thus becomes a space where diverse modes of aggregation and confrontation can debate, share, observe and create collectively.

Tabula Rasa serves, in fact, as a strong link between The Rest of Now and the locality: thanks to its democratic free access, and characterized by longer opening hours, it aims to offer a meeting space for new interactions and conversations, not only for the residents of Bolzano / Bozen, but also to visitors from the region, and beyond.


A large percentage of the events establish a dialogue with Alumix and the city, by involving the exhibition visitors as well as all members of staff, or by triggering a debate on the future of the building, providing an analysis of its history and function. Also featured are studies of the history of aluminium production that profoundly changed the cultural identity of Bolzano and an archive of visual memories of industrial buildings.


This dialogue with the locality is key to Manifesta 7: a number of people from Bolzano or the region have been invited to host events, or to actively participate. Radio Tandem, a popular local radio station is a media partner of Tabula Rasa. This represents a further link with the local audience.


Bolzano-based Denis Isaia works as independent curator and is the assistant curator to Raqs Media Collective for ‘The Rest of Now’. 

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