Bigert & Bergström – Explosion of Speech in Venice

“Artecitya. Envisioning the City of Tomorrow” in Venice

Last January, the Europe-wide program Artecitya (2015-2018), a collaboration between 8 partners from around Europe (Greece, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovenia, and Poland) was successfully launched in Thessaloniki.

The program aims at bringing together artists, architects, town planners and citizens to re-create the cities we want to live in. The priority is to stimulate a vigorously innovative approach to the concept of urban life taking into account the sociological evolution and people’s needs.

This May, Artecitya Thessaloniki travels to Venice to present the project itself, as well as the performance and film “Explosion of Speech” by Swedish artists duo Mats Bigert & Lars Bergström, at two amazing spaces, Palazzo Mora and Palazzo Bembo.

“Explosion of Speech” is a fiery paean to the importance of free speech and the power of poetry. Itfollows a common thread – a burning fuse – that winds through Europe leaving a burnt-out trail of text in its wake.Words become sentences, evolving into a collective poem created by a group of poets from the cities through which the burning fuse passes. There is no written script. The fuse interventions are developed on location, while the poem’s verses are distant from each other temporally and spatially.

This is the second iteration of Bigert & Bergström’s “Explosion of Speech”, that was launched in Thessaloniki last January with the support of Artecitya and Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki.

For Artecitya, “Explosion of Speech” is a call to arms. As a performative and cinematic endeavour, the work cuts through time, space, individualities and realities. Its improvised urban scenography signals the city as the space par excellence where democracy is made possible, animated through polyphony, debate and conflict. The burning poetic word dethrones the slogans of politics as expression of the people’s voice, articulating dreams, aspirations, needs, prophecies, admonitions… In that sense, the work becomes an agency, even more so a peaceful call to arms or a vehicle of transformation, as it positions multiple individualities at a vantage point, that of an emancipated protagonist of a delightfully utopian film, projected into what could very well be the near future.

The first verse of the poem was contributed by Greek author Alexandros Aimoniotis, while the second verse is owed to Italian poet and artist Alessandro de Francesco.

The exhibition “Personal Structures. Crossing Borders” is organised by the European Cultural Centre and GAA – Global Art Affairs Foundation in the context of the Venice Biennale 2015. It features works by internationally established artists, such as Carl Andre, Joseph Kosuth, Yoko Ono and Lawrence Weiner, to name but a few.

Artecitya and Explosion of Speech are presented in Venice in the context of the exhibition “Personal Structures. Crossing Borders”, organised by European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation.

8 May 2015, 21.00
Palazzo Mora
Strada Nuova #3659, Venice
Admission free

Video installation:
9 May – 22 November 2015
Palazzo Bembo
Riva del Carbon #4793, Venice
Opening hours: 10.00-18.00 (Tuesdays closed)
Preview 7 and 8 May, 18.00-22.00
Admission free