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The project stems from the collaboration between several geographers at the University of Padova and the Progetto Giovani Office – Cabinet of the Mayor of the Municipality of Padova with the aim of encouraging the dialogue between scientific research, art-practice, and the citizens of Padova. At the foundation of the project lies the idea that academic knowledge should contribute to the conceptualization and realization of more meaningful and sustainable cities.

Neighborhoods, mobility and waterways are not only geographical concepts that contain some of the most significant contemporary urban phenomena and dynamics at the local and global levels; they are also the key concepts around which the artists have developed their site-specific installations to create a public art exhibition that crosses the city of Padova from north to south, along the tramline’s route.

Together with the curators at the Progetto Giovani Office, each artist collaborated with a geographer, who provided reflections on the key concept and the associated site. Engaged in this parnership, the three artists developed their own site narration: Fabio Roncato for the Arcella neighborhood, Mónica Bellido Mora for the railway station, Caterina Rossato for the Lungargine Scaricatore at Bassanello.

All three works of art spontaneously focused upon the idea of distance. Treating this concept through different nuances and from different perspectives, these works question the ways that the people live in cities, the issues of co-existence, and the meanings of change, movement and relationships in our shared urban spaces.

Neighborhoods
Site: Arcella neighborhood Geographer: Giada Peterle Artist: Fabio Roncato

Geographical keyword: Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods are not only well-defined physical spaces. Neither do they simply serve as administrative areas, from which questions of perceived distance, centrality and marginality may arise. Nor are they only social arenas, stages for synergic interaction or conflict.

Neighborhoods are also spaces with narrative potential, where places, people and ideas can tell new stories that speak to the whole city.

Artwork: At the antipodes there is the Ocean.

If we were to dig a hole from the center of the Arcella neighborhood to the opposite side of the Earth, where would we arrive? With this question as a starting point, the artist explores the concept of distance in a multicultural, peripheral neighborhood which has been subject to controversy. The billboards scattered around Arcella become spatial-temporal gashes that reflect an oceanic vastness that has the potential to bring all of us together in front of the antipodes of our everyday existence.

Fabio Roncato (Rimini, 1982)

Fabio Roncato resides between Milan and Venice. His artwork dwells on the dividing line between perception and knowledge and provides visual translations of the unstable relationship between perceiving and knowing. Those visual images reveal an evocative and intersubjective potential.

Mobility
Site: Stazione FS | Railway Station Geographer: Tania Rossetto Artist: Mónica Bellido Mora In collaboration with: Guido Ostanel, Edizioni BeccoGiallo

Geographical keyword: mobility

Within a fluid social environment, bustling with fluxes of people, objects, and information, the materiality of spaces also causes these movements to coagulate, wait, and subside. As essential nodes of mobility, with their material bodies constantly crossed by multiple differences, stations remind us that sharing physical spaces is crucial to enhance our ability to co-exist within the complexity of our cities.

Tania Rossetto teaches Cultural Geography at the University of Padova. Her main research interests include visual geographies and map studies.

Artwork: A station of stories: Moving narrations

The railway station of Padova functions as a stage for a comic-strip story with the station itself as the protagonist. The building comes alive; as a non-human narrator, it speaks with its own voice and tells about its daily repetitive, but also ever-changing, routine.

The comic author’s illustrated panels invite us to perceive the station in new ways. Their point of view makes us reconsider the multiple values of transit spaces. The railway station transforms into a place of new relationships and experience, awareness and imagination.

Mónica Bellido Mora (Mexico City, 1990)

Mónica Bellido Mora is an illustrator and cartoonist. She is currently based in Spain, where she obtained a master’s degree in Urban Design, City and Society from the University of Barcelona.

The work by Bellido Mora has been realized in collaboration with Guido Ostanel and Edizioni BeccoGiallo, an Italian comic books publishing house specialized in graphic journalism.

Waterways
Site: Bassanello Geographer: Mauro Varotto Artist: Caterina Rossato

Geographical keyword: waterways

Padova has become one of the most complex hydraulic nodes in the world, resulting from a thousand-year-old struggle with water regulation to ensure both city prosperity and flood safety. While the prominence of the waterways in the historic city center has been sacrificed in the name of auto mobility in the past decades, recently the “Lungargine Scaricatore” of the Bacchiglione river has emerged as an appealing urban waterfront and a new frontier for urban leisure.

Mauro Varotto teaches Geography, Cultural Geography and Geography of Food at the University of Padova. His main research topics include landscape and contemporary mountain studies.

Artwork: Distances

This work of art questions the “here and now”, evoking a sense of a distance that is both personal and geographic. The story of the river flowing away from its headwaters inevitably reflects the story of each of us.

The installation includes an unconventional composition of signs that convey the immeasurable, emotional, and sidereal distances for which only relative, and not exact values, apply.

Caterina Rossato (Lecco, 1980)

Caterina Rossato lives and works between Milan and Venice. Her artistic research is devoted to creating images and combining them in analogue or digital ways.

Her work functions on multiple spatio-temporal levels and suggests the existence of an afterlife of the gaze.

Technical partner: Neon Bassano S.p.A.

Photographic material taken from: Il Bacchiglione, edited by Francesco Selmin e Claudio Grandis, Cierre Edizioni, 2008.