Marinella Senatore and the collective experience of being full of life
If something reminds us of being alive, in the sense of making us aware of it, it is when experience becomes more intense. This happens when we read or write about life, but above all when we celebrate it. If we participate in a ritual that injects energy into the enormous and elusive fact of being alive, then it is as if our existence were amplified. This is what Italian artist Marinella Senatore attempts to do, and who with enormous naturalism and gusto organizes mass actions; processions and performances to enhance the experience of being alive.
Collaboration is of course the most important element in her concept of art. She involves thousands of people in her projects, both artists and civilians, to generate a collective memory in the world that is stronger than individual dramas and which lasts. In 2009, for example, Senatore created Speak Easy: a project carried out in Madrid that involved some 100 students of the Complutense University and more than 1,000 local residents, including carpenters, seamstresses, artisans and professional actors. They all worked together to construct the set and costumes for a music video recreating 1950s New York. But as is common with Marinella’s work, the important part was the process and the role of each of the individuals, who each did something they had never done before and worked together in a social and community way.
A larger collective worked on Rosas (2012), a three-act opera involving more than 20,000 people in Berlin, Derby and Madrid. Each act was performed in a different city where the crowd of participants performed a dance and a pilgrimage, but also participated in the writing of the script, the production, lighting and the construction of the project. The video work is the culmination of the project, and which took a year to complete.
The best way to understand Marinella Senatore, however, is through her School of Narrative Dance, which she founded in 2013. It is a free and mobile school with a system based on emancipation, inclusion and self-training that teaches people literature, teamwork and sustainability. The multi-disciplinary school focuses on narration via a wide spectrum of media and methods such as dance, performance, procession, poetry, oral storytelling and handcrafts. Everyone is invited to form part of this beautiful project that is always in a process of expansion.
This fall Marinella Senatore, along with Cuban collective Los Carpinteros, Spanish artist Miralda, Miami-based artists and collectives, will take part of the Opening Processional Performance directed by Claire Tancons in collaboration with Gia Wolff and Arto Lindsay. The processional performance will remix sounds from various musical traditions, rev up patterns of improvisation and revamp culinary practices throughout the Faena District to celebrate the opening of the Faena Forum in Miami Beach.
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