directed by Peter Lang

The creative act and the question of destiny in the era of Covid and climate change.

What kind of future awaits us, as the world as we know it becomes increasingly unstable? Can contemporary global society adjust to these dramatic transformations in our planetary environment? What can we hold on to? What can we let go of? But just as importantly, what can we still think of, create or design that could help make sense of this extended global crisis we are now going through?

Marvels and Catastrophes is a project about the future that builds on the past and inhabits the present, a program promoting critical ideas and creative actions that addresses the urgent challenges we face today.

M&C invites individuals from different professional backgrounds and interests, in the visual arts, design, architecture, the humanities, urban culture and curatorial studies to promote an open discursive environment in which to reflect on the coming decades.

The goal is to go public, to engage the broader community with critical concepts, performative actions and creative prototypes that mediate between the familiar and the unknown.

This first M&C edition will focus on Rome, in commemoration of 150 years Rome Capital of Italy.

On August 5, 2010, a chunk of ice four times the size of Manhattan broke away from the ice shelf on the northwest coast of Greenland. Millions of people watch the video from a remote camera that had been set on the ice shelf just a few days before. The situation of the refugees and of climate change has been obvious for a long time and is watched in real time by all, yet there is little action. The world has developed an ability to watch everything yet do nothing. The lack of action is also designed. Neglect has been shaped.
Colomina, Wigley, Are We Human? Notes on an archaeology of design. (Zurich, Lars Muller Publishers 2018) page 85.

- Creative and critical thinking, Visual thinking and Critical Making.
- The development of conceptual actions and object responses responding creatively to local environmental transformations.
- The program encourages the exchange of ideas and convivial collaborations among participants that might have lasting impact.
- Assistance in English Language skills, communications and writing.
- Learning how to develop alternative and experimental narratives, through visual thinking.
- Assistance in portfolio development for advanced education opportunities and grants.

M&C Program
Consists of a set of introductory discussions followed by Workshops.
12/04/2021 – 0. Program Introduction: What is Marvels and Catastrophes doing in Rome? (OPEN TO ALL)
19/04/2021 - 1. The Diagram: Tools for Visual Thinking
26/04/2021 - 2. Utopia, Dystopia, Heterotopia. A language for imagining the future
03/05/2021 - 3. Methods of Engagement, alternative communications strategies for working in the visual arts, design, architecture and performance
10/04/2021 - 4. Critical Making and other tactics for going public
17/05/2021 - 5. Taking concepts into the public realm (physical on-site session Covid regulations permitting)
24/05/2021 - 6. Appropriation and Manufacture (hands on making - on site or with local craftsmen)
Office Hours - 3. Individual consultation (periodic meetings one on one with instructor) – on appointment with the instructor
TBA – Conclusion: public exhibition of individual projects with the Fondazione smART – polo per l’arte

Peter Lang
A native New Yorker, he now resides in Rome. He is former Professor in Architectural Theory and History at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. He holds a professional degree in architecture and a PhD in urban studies and Italian history. This year, Lang is completing a curatorial project for the Italian National archive for photography, (ICCD) and the Italian National Archive for Sound and Audio-visual Heritage (MiBACT) on Dante, a multimedia exhibition funded by the Dante 2021 National Committee. He has curated numerous major exhibitions on the Italian Radical design and architecture movement. In 2016 Lang founded R-lab, a public platform for critical research and creative practice. In 2018 he launched the initiative Marvels and Catastrophes, that works to understand and engage in the contemporary culture of disaster: the program opened at the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial. M&C is currently involved in the upcoming Symbiosis exhibition at the Färgfabriken Konsthall in Stockholm to open in the Fall of 2021.

The M&C program is open to advanced professionals and post-graduates in the fields of the multi-media arts, design, architecture, urban culture, the humanities and curatorial studies
Application to join the course:
1. motivation letter (English)
2. short cv (English, Italian)
3. photo ID (square format)
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Max 12/15 participants
NUMBER OF ENCOUNTERS: 1 free session – 7 weekly sessions – individual meetings with instructor -1 final public exhibition
Hour: 6 – 8 pm
PROGRAM COST: €250 - One scholarship is available

1. Peter Lang, Matthew Ashton, ed.s, Marvels and Catastrophes Stockholm, R-lab, 2019. By mail order) 

2. Elsa Morante, La Storia, (Torino, Einaudi, orig. 1974.) English: History, a Novel, William Weaver, trans. (Steerforth, Steerforth press 2000) 

3. Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover, (London, Penguin, 2009) Italiano: L’Amante del volcano, trad. Paolo Dilonardo, (Nottetempo) 

4. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, (Picador, 2008) 

5. David Wallace Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future, (London, Penguin 2019) 

6. Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome, Climate, Disease and the End of an Empire, (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2017) 

7. Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley, Are we Human? Notes on an Archaeology of Design. (Zurich, Lars Müller, 2016) 

8. Adachiara Zevi, Monumenti per Difetto: dalle Fosse Ardeatine alle pietre d’inciampo, (Roma, Donzelli, 2014) 

9. Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality, (London, Marion Boyars, 2009, first published in 1973) 

10. H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, (London, Fingerprint, originally published in 1895) 

11. Catherine Rossi, Alex Coles, ed.s, The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976 (Berlin, 
Sternberg Press 2013) 

12. Gian Piero Frassinelli, Design e antropologia: Riflessioni di un non adetto ai lavori. 
(Macerata, Quodlibet, 2019) 

1. Roma città aperta, Roberto Rossellini, 1945 

2. Accatone, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1961 

3. Eclisse, (Eclipse) Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962 

4. La Decima Vittima, Elio Petri, 1965. 

5. Il Conformista, Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970 

6. Roma, Federico Fellini, 1972 

7. Una Giornata Particolare, (A Special Day) Ettore Scola, 1977 

8. In the Belly of the Architect, Peter Greenaway, 1990 

9. Titus, Julie Taymore, 1999
10. Gladiator, Ridley Scott, 2000 

11. La Grande Bellezza, Paolo Sorrentino, 2013 

12. Il Primo Re, Matteo Rovere, 2019

* NOTE: The program is not academically accredited. Fondazione smART is not responsible for the program’s content.