The Possibility of an Island
Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, tells the story of a group of young people that escaped Florence during the black plague, taking refuge together in the countryside of Tuscany. For Boccaccio, the suspended time given by the plague and the condition of isolation provides the literary expedient for a moment of general rethinking. As the stories of the protagonists follow one another, the images, relational structures and values of society that would otherwise be lost are reconstructed. Similarly, the workshop is at the center of this global epidemic that we are experiencing within the same landscape.
Today in this rare moment of suspension we find ourselves with the possibility of an island. Situated within the countryside of Tuscany, a site with history of both Decameron and radical works of Italian design, we now reactivate the countryside as a space of transversal collective productive forces. The two-week visiting school will develop an experimental episode that responds to this unprecedented moment in time – addressing issues such as isolation, transition and temporality. The workshop seeks to produce new tools, practices and rituals that reflect on this particular moment in time.
Islands have become associated with political separation, quarantine and a symbol of our changing environmental conditions as water levels rise and plastics form archipelagos. The island enables critical selectivity rather than imposed connectivity, a rarity in an age of constant status updates and notifications. As such the island constrains; which tends to be a key ingredient for a design brief.
The island is understood here in its most abstract sense. It can be a toolkit for isolation, a garment, a shelter, 1:1 island prototype, a floating structure on the lake, a code for living, a new form of governance, a micro-nation. Students will work in small teams with leading young contemporary collectives (Fosbury, Parasite 2.0, (ab)Normal, CAPTCHA, PLSTCT, Space Caviar and Forgotten Architecture) on design briefs that address the spatial quality of temporality and transition. Inspired by the storytelling structure of Decameron, the visiting school will feature daily lectures and additional workshops from esteemed international guests that serve as the structure and inspiration for the projects.
The accommodation at Agriturismo Il Gualdo, Chianti Tuscany is included in the cost of the workshop in addition to material supplies for the projects. Communal meals will be organized, and costs divided amongst participants.
Extended briefs from each of the collective tutor groups will be presented on-site.
Download the information related to this competition here.