Europe's Footprints

The Project

A project by Teatro dell'Argine in partnership with European Alternatives, Human Rights Nights Film Festival, University of Zurigo, University of Bologna, Strefa WolnoSlowa Foundation in Warsaw
July - October 2012
 
In late July 2012, John Mpaliza, exiled of the Congolese diaspora, leaves Reggio Emilia and walk through seven countries (Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium) to reach the European Parliament in Brussels and be a witness of the situation of extreme violence that, after six million dead, continues to tear his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. TdA follows John in his march, inviting artists and intellectuals to do the same: marching with him, creating artistic works inspired by this gesture, reading and acting Congolese testimonies mixed up with European memories and literature from all over the world. The march has the patronage of Senate of the Italian Republic.
In order to guarantee the European dimension of the project, a lot of institutions, artists and intellectuals have joined in: Dynamique de la Diaspora Congolaise en Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Committee Azione RD Congo (Italy), European Alternatives, Transeuropa Festival, Human Rights Nights Film Festival, Department of Political Geography of Zurich University (Switzerland), Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University (Italy), the Provinces of Roma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Pisa (Italy), the Municipalities of Reggio Emilia, La Spezia and Albinea (Italy), National Archive of Diaries in Pieve Santo Stefano (Italy), Centre Bruxellois d’Action Interculturelle (Belgium), Foundation Strefa WolnoSłowa in Warsaw (Poland), Kuumba Flemish-African House (Belgium), ARCI Bologna and Milan (Italy), Centre La Bobine (France), Théâtre Am Stram Gram (Switzerland), Théâtre de Poche (Belgium), Théâtre du Passage (Switzerland), Marco Baliani (director and actor), Ascanio Celestini (author and actor), Fanny & Alexander (artists), Matéi Visniec (playwright), Alessandra Belledi (art director Teatro delle Briciole in Parma, Italy), Letizia Quintavalla (director), Elisabetta Pozzi (actress), Ulderico Pesce (director, author and actor), Eugenio Allegri (director and actor), Association Olinda/Ex Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo Pini in Milan (Italy), Gerardo Guccini (Bologna University, Italy), Federica Zanetti (Bologna University, Italy), Massimo Marino (journalist), Roberto Beneduce (ethnopsychiatrist), Marianella Sclavi (anthropologist), Paolo Jedlowski (sociologist), Ivo Quaranta (anthropologist).

Context

In the end of July 2012, John Mpaliza Balagizi, 40 years, an exiled of the Congolese diaspora, will leave the work he has in Reggio Emilia and begin to walk. He will cross the Alps and walk through Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, on foot, under the sun, the rain, camping wherever he can, he will go on walking up to forty miles a day until he comes to Brussels. Sixteen hundred kilometers, what’s needed to reach the European Parliament, try to be received and listened. In front of the European Parliament, John will be the mouthpiece of thousands of testimonies of the chain of violence that made six million dead in the 1998-2003 conflict and continue to tear his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Then he will invoke the help of Europe. But John’s request for help is not only directed to the official Europe of political and administrative institutions. Along the way, John will tell the reasons of his march to as many people as possible, he will tell about the oblivion of Congo by the mass-media and the international institutions, about UN resolutions of no effect, about economic interests that revolve around the immense mineral resources of that country but also of the violence against women and children that, partly because of these interests, continues to make thousands of victims.
Which is the Europe John is talking to?
What is happening in the depths of the Europe he is crossing?
What have we got to do with what John is doing, with what he says?
What unsaid, unsolved, repressed questions his complaint is raising in our minds?
What matters are raising about relations with non-Europeans, what issues regarding the role and the future identity we imagine for Europe?
As Europeans, as artists, as theater people working for many years with political refugees, many of whom fled Congo, we felt we had to respond to John’s gesture. Too many are the echoes that our history, our culture, our memory let resonate within us. Too great is the hyperbolicity, the paradoxical, the exemplarity of his act. A black man, an exiled, a survivor, in a desperate attempt to stop a chain of violence which seems to have no respite since colonial times, walks across Europe to go to the heart of the empire which owned Congo as its private property, where the helm of economic technocracy lies today, to plead for justice, memory, rationality which are peculiar of the West, in front of the symbol of democracy.
A sort of upside-down reflection of the journey that Conrad's Marlow carried out through Congo towards the heart of darkness comes necessarily to our minds, or the demand for justice that Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas directed to his emperor, or the “unthinkable” thought that only a foreigner, Kafka’s K., could come up with, in order to meet and be recognized by the senior officials of the Castle.
But also, leaving literature, the exhausting walks through Europe made by others who survived the horror, and devoted their lives to witness, so that this would never happen again. And still, Aimé Césaire’s provocation reappears as a doubt, as a shadow we can no longer escape from: when he argues that the scandal of Holocaust on European conscience had perhaps more to do with seeing those processes applied on European populations, that had been since then used (and mostly tolerated) in the colonies.
And then we wonder to what extent we can apply to John's gesture Pier Paolo Pasolini’s insight in reading Aeschylus’s Orestes as an exiled African who is in Athens, in the heart of European rationality, the Areopagus (the tribunal established by Athena), which is a crucial tool for transforming the avenging Furies, the Erinyes, in the peaceful Eumenides, in order to break (respite in Primo Levi’s words) the chain of bloody revenge and violence and finally access to a world in which right and rationality are governing conflicts among people.
These myths, these stories, these founding protagonists of European culture suggested us to interact with the stories, with the terrible testimonies, with the ghosts of John and the other exiles from the Congolese diaspora which will accompany his path. It was the thought (perhaps the illusion) that also art, and not only law, can be one of those human inventions which can help transforming the Furies into Eumenides, maybe because, through the mirror of artistic representation, we can look at the horror of the Medusa with an indirect gaze, thus avoiding to be transformed into stone men.
Therefore, we decided that if John is Orestes, we will be his chorus, once and for all sanctioning the common membership of foreigners and artists to the crowd of those who are constantly oscillating between inside and outside.
We decided to support John in his march, to invite artists from all over Europe to do a bit of traveling with him, and think that the way we will walk on is a giant canvas on which they can paint, sculpt, make installations; or a huge page on which we can mix the tracks, or a large land of which we have to turn over the clods, a page on which we can write and rewrite history, but brushing it, as Benjamin would say, against the direction. As if it was a stage-world, yes, because we are theater people, a 1600 km long theatre, within which those who will walk beside us will listen to Congolese stories and testimonies having a dialogue with European memories, African writers interacting with European writers, Aimé Césaire being read together with Joseph Conrad, and Franz Fanon with Aeschylus. And in the evenings around the fire – as it happened to other travelers in the city of Euphemia told by Italo Calvino – with those camping with us, we will exchange stories and memories starting from these writers, but also from such keywords as memory, violence, justice, exile, roots, and then we will realize the next day, when the march restarts, that our memory is no longer the same, that it also moved, it also walked, thanks to the others’ stories.
And upon arriving in Brussels, in the second half of September, we will witness John’s testimony in front of the European Parliament. Then we will start a series of meetings, performances, events, workshops with the most diverse communities living there, in places of culture, schools, theaters, intercultural centers. The aim is to use this trip and the artistic creations resulting from it as a lever to raise and disseminate (in contexts where it would otherwise never arrive) a debate on issues that have to do with Europe, with the Europe we, the people, can imagine, with a memory capable of becoming critical and dynamic, with the construction of a future that is nurtured by the encounter with the other.
Also because of this second phase, the march to Brussels will be documented and told in many ways:
  • a writer will recount it through travel notes published in a blog on the website of the Italian newspaper “Il Corriere della Sera”, which will later become a publication;
  • a troupe will shoot a documentary, conceived as a diary in images and words, where scenes of the meetings, workshops and artistic performances realized along the road will alternate with interviews to artists, intellectuals and witnesses, with multimedia materials supplied by the Congolese exiles, with scenes filmed in the theatre workshops and shows realized later with companies of political refugees. The documentary, with the help of European Alternatives, will be distributed in several European cities;
  • when the march will finally arrive to Brussels, the Company Teatro dell'Argine will organize a workshop at the Théâtre de Poche from September 22nd to 29th, which will be open to all local and international artists – actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists – but also to refugees, young and non-professionals (after an interview). On September 29th, the workshop will give birth to the show Walking Shadows. Congolese and Artists Across Europe, at the Théâtre de Poche: an itinerant performance, thought to put audience on the road as well, through several texts, original works by artists, photos and videos created after the suggestions of the march;
  • finally, since October 2012, a project will start involving two theater companies made up by political refugees, working with Teatro dell'Argine (Bologna, Italy) and the Foundation Strefa WolnoS³owa (Warsaw, Poland), and including two theatre workshops with final show.
The march has the patronage of Senate of the Italian Republic.
In order to guarantee the European dimension of the project, a lot of institutions, artists and intellectuals have already joined in: Dynamique de la Diaspora Congolaise en Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Committee Azione RD Congo (Italy), European Alternatives, Transeuropa Festival, Human Rights Nights Film Festival, Department of Political Geography of Zurich University (Switzerland), Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University (Italy), the Provinces of Roma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Pisa (Italy), the Municipalities of Reggio Emilia, La Spezia and Albinea (Italy), National Archive of Diaries in Pieve Santo Stefano (Italy), Centre Bruxellois d’Action Interculturelle (Belgium), Foundation Strefa WolnoSłowa in Warsaw (Poland), Kuumba Flemish-African House (Belgium), ARCI Bologna and Milan (Italy), Centre La Bobine (France), Théâtre Am Stram Gram (Switzerland), Théâtre de Poche (Belgium), Théâtre du Passage (Switzerland), Marco Baliani (director and actor), Ascanio Celestini (author and actor), Fanny & Alexander (artists), Matéi Visniec (playwright), Alessandra Belledi (art director Teatro delle Briciole in Parma, Italy), Letizia Quintavalla (director), Elisabetta Pozzi (actress), Ulderico Pesce (director, author and actor), Eugenio Allegri (director and actor), Association Olinda/Ex Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo Pini in Milan (Italy), Gerardo Guccini (Bologna University, Italy), Federica Zanetti (Bologna University, Italy), Massimo Marino (journalist), Roberto Beneduce (ethnopsychiatrist), Marianella Sclavi (anthropologist), Paolo Jedlowski (sociologist), Ivo Quaranta (anthropologist).

Itinerary

28/07: Reggio Emilia - evento di presentazione della marcia - Presentation event of the march
29/07: Reggio Emilia -> Parma
30/07: Parma -> Fidenza
31/07: Fidenza -> Piacenza
1/08: Piacenza -> Broni
2/08: Broni -> Pavia
3/08: Pavia -> Milano
4/08: stop in Milano
5/08: Milano -> Novara
6/08: Novara -> Santhià
7/08: Santhià -> Torino
8/08 - 08/08: stop in Torino
10/08: Torino -> Condove
11/08: Condove -> Venaus
12/08: Venaus -> Lac du Mont Cenis (FR)
13/08: Lac du Mont Cenis (FR) -> Bramans (FR)
14/08: Bramans (FR) -> Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne (FR)
15/08: Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne (FR) -> Sainte-Marie-de-Cuines (FR)
16/08: Sainte-Marie-de-Cuines (FR) -> Aiguebelle (FR)
17/08: Aiguebelle (FR) -> Chambéry (FR)
18/08 - 19/08: stop in Chambéry (FR)
20/08: Chambéry (FR) -> Annecy (FR)
21/08: Annecy (FR) -> Saint-Blaise (FR)
22/08: Saint-Blaise (FR) -> Genève (CH)
23/08 - 25/08: stop in Genève (CH) - UNHCR
26/08: Genève(CH) -> Nyon (CH)
27/08: Nyon (CH) -> Lausanne (CH)
28/08: Lausanne (CH) -> Yverdon-les-Bains (CH)
29/08: Yverdon-les-Bains (CH) -> Neuchâtel (CH)
30/08: stop in Neuchâtel (CH)
31/08: Neuchâtel (CH) -> Solothurn (CH)
1/09: Solothurn (CH) -> Oberdorf (CH)
2/09: Oberdorf (CH) -> Basel (CH)
3/09: Basilea (CH) -> Freiburg-im-Breisgau (DE)
4/09: stop in Freiburg-im-Breisgau (DE)
5/09: Freiburg-im-Breisgau (DE) -> Rhinau (FR)
6/09: Rhinau (FR) -> Strasbourg (FR)
7/09 - 8/09: stop in Strasbourg (FR) - meeting at the European Parliament
9/09: Strasbourg (FR) -> Saverne (FR)
10/09: Saverne (FR) -> Sarralbe (FR)
11/09: Sarralbe (FR) -> Creutzwald (FR)
12/09: Creutzwald (FR) -> Kirschnaumen (FR)
13/09: Kirschnaumen (FR) -> Luxembourg
14/09: stop in Luxembourg
15/09: Luxembourg -> Wiltz (LU)
16/09: Wiltz (LU) -> Manhay (BE)
17/09: Manhay (BE) -> Liège (BE)
18/09: Liège (BE) -> Maastricht (NL)
19/09: stop in Maastricht (NL)
20/09: Maastricht (NL) -> Sint-Truiden (BE)
21/09: Sint-Truiden (BE) -> Leuven (BE)
22/09: Leuven (BE) -> Bruxelles (BE)
23/09 - 29/09: Bruxelles - meeting at the European Parliament, workshops and events at Théâtre de Poche.
 
For further information about the project or the itinerary, please contact:
John Mpaliza (email: john.mpaliza@gmail.com - mobile: +39 320 4309765 - www.peacewalkingman.org)
Micaela Casalboni (email: micaela@itcteatro.it - mobile: +39 339 5460892)

Memorandum

The Democratic Republic of Congo and the march
The Democratic Republic of Congo is a country at war. Since over twenty years, its population has to bear the consequences of a brutal conflict involving systematic human rights abuses as well as a systematic plundering of the country’s abundant natural riches. Today its political destiny includes a corrupt and authoritarian government, which remains in power despite evident abuses. Despite many years of international intervention, resources that are fundamental for the growth of Congo’s national economy – like copper, gold and colombo-tantalite (coltan) – continue to illegally exit the country without producing benefits for either Congolese workers or civil society at large. At its eastern borders, forced recruitment of children and systematic violence against women have become a common practice since years.
Since the second Congo war (1998-2003) millions of people have died from the indirect consequences of this regional armed conflict, principally from hunger, neglect and disease. The political optimism that has accompanied the country’s subsequent political transition and presidential elections (respectively in 2006-7 and 2011) increasingly risk to obscure this continued suffering of Congo’s population, however: while donor countries concentrate their efforts on democratization and army reform in the the big cities, the ongoing calamity in Congo’s remote borderlands is increasingly covered in an embarrassing and deafening silence.
In front of this silence, a voice of protest is slowly taking shape. The protest march of Congo-in-Europe wants to provide an alternative for the violence and oblivion that characterizes international intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Simultaneously it wants to make a number of concrete propositions in front of Europe’s democratic institutions.
The march of Congo-in-Europe rises under the initiative of John Mpaliza, inhabitant of Reggio Emilia (Italy) since 18 years but without European citizenship. John will leave on foot from Reggio Emilia in July 2012 to reach the European capital, walking over 1.600 kilometres during one and a half months, and traversing seven European countries (Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium). The march emerges as a protest against the lack of autonomy and liberty of the Congolese people to choose their own political and socio-economic destiny. It also wants to be a proper response against the systematic violence on an entire people.
 
Historical context
From its colonization at the end of the nineteenth century, the DRC (formerly Zaire, Congo, Congo Free State) has never known peace. In 1885-1908, it was the dominion of a single man, King Leopold II of Belgium: a private enterprise with the sole objective of exploiting the territory’s natural resources. Slavery and systematic violence were at the order of the day. After the King’s bankruptcy, resulting from a series of megalomaniac projects built with Congo’s blood minerals, the country was ceded to the Belgian government. During this period, economic development was concentrated foremost in the mining areas with no durable benefits for ordinary Congolese, who remained subjected to a regime of racial submission and discrimination. Without a proper administrative cadre and educated elite, the country’s political and economic independence was jeopardized from the beginning. This situation was aggravated even more with the assassination of its first democratically elected leader, Patrice Eméry Lumumba, by a Belgian and American ordered firing squad. Following Lumumba’s death, a brutal dictatorship, led by Desire Mobutu, held the country hostage for over thirty years in a regime of violence and corruption.
After several long wars that have broken the country for many years (respectively 1996-1997 and 1998-2003), shots are fired once more in the east today. As a result of renewed fighting, the long list of deaths by hunger and insecurity risks to grow even longer. To these invisible deaths, one has to add an immense movement of individuals and families who are in perennial flight for war and starvation: first of all within the country (1.7 million in the east according to latest estimates), secondly in the wider region and finally also towards other continents.
In front of all this, we expect a minimum of indignation, a minimum of respect for the people who die every day in this violent abyss. Despite the many efforts expressed by development and humanitarian organizations, we observe an embarrassing silence, a hypocrisy from the part of international institutions as well as the media that upsets many Congolese and others in many parts of the world. First of all we are angry at international organizations, which prefer to sustain a corrupt and authoritarian regime instead of openly denouncing the imbroglio that systematically impedes the Great Lakes region to become truly democratic. But we also denounce the governments that are supporting Congo’s transition process: rather than opening the way to a democratic culture, the international intervention has given power to warlords who continue to accumulate profit and impose their arbitrary rule on the Congolese population. Instead of stopping the war, international involvement in the Democratic Republic of Congo has only increased the level of violence and popular suffering to the extent that it is now seriously obstructing a durable solution to the crisis.
 
Unending violence
In the DRC recruiting children has become common practice for militias like regular armies. Children often have to prove their allegiance to armed groups by attacking their proper villages, cut family ties or even assassinate members of their kin.
As traumatizing is the faith of children who end up as sexual slaves of armed actors. These children suffer physical and psychological traumas that are difficult to overcome after demobilization. Because of the horrendous acts committed during wartime, child soldiers often live difficult lives after the war, marginalized by their communities and condemned to make a living on the streets. Especially alarming is the condition of Congolese women and victims of sexual violence, which has become a systematic weapon of war especially in the east of the country. Many women are held hostage and raped continuously until rebel forced leave the area of conflict. Others suffer violent acts in front of their husbands and children. Wives and daughters are forced to be raped or be murdered, acts which often leaves these female members of society highly traumatized and marginalized without further social or psychological assistance.
 
Objectives
The protest march of Congo-in-Europe is a movement that arises from below. It is a movement that involves young and old, Congolese and European associations, artists and intellectuals who have decided to walk together with John Mpaliza and bring their message of anger and peace. It is a journey of an entire people, a community which crosses seven countries to talk about the DRC to common people as well as a number of specific European and international institutions (see box for trajectory). The journey is made of many encounters and personal exchanges but above all of a joint hope: it is impossible to construct peace through institutions alone, for peace to take form it is necessary to walk together to give space to this forgotten massacre, to give justice to a people that deserves to be acknowledged in the world’s collective memory, and which wants to participate in the reconstruction of its country through a series of concrete propositions.
Concretely, the protest march proposes the following:
  • The realization of a road map for peace in Democratic Republic of Congo and in Africa’s Great Lakes region. This road map must obtain two purposes: 1) to face the situation within each involved country, in order to lead to governments' legitimacy and to democratic change in power; 2) to plan a path of peace between the different states in this region, a path that has to favour a reconciliation among peoples living in this area.
  • A global solution to the violent exploitation (both illegal and legal) of Congo’s natural resources, such as coltan, copper and gold. On the one hand, this process should involve an increased transparency of commodity chains (through already existing initiatives like ITRI, GeSI, PACT) and, on the other hand, incentives for a durable and equitable economic use of these resources through integrated and sustained development. Besides mineral industries and governments these incentives have to improve in the first place the rights of Congolese workers through an autonomous institutional representation, which is nonexistent in the country so far;
  • Growing attention for the problem of refugees and internally displaced people, through initiatives that aim to re-integrate people in the places where they choose to construct their lives and livelihoods, with the support of development organizations;
  • A major fight against the impunity of armed groups in the region, including official armies, foreign and Congolese militias, which systematically obstruct human and civil rights. Such fight renders necessary an increased justice for the victims of the Congo wars. Secondly, it demands a redrawing of the rules of engagement of the current UN mission in the DRC, which frequently assists undisciplined army forces that have become the most important obstacle to peace in the region. The protection of civilians has to remain the prime objective of any humanitarian or peacekeeping intervention wanting to end conflict and bring durable peace.
Only through a sustained regional trajectory of democratization and authentic civic participation one can hope to solve the ongoing crisis in Africa’s Great Lakes region. Legitimate government does not arise solely from elections and power sharing but through a shared reconciliation and popular justice. There is no future without forgiveness; there is no forgiveness without justice.

Press

ITC Teatro di San Lazzaro www.itcteatro.it – Teatro dell’Argine www.argine.it
Referente: Micaela Casalboni +39.339.5460892 micaela@argine.it
Ufficio Stampa: Giulia Pompili +39. 348.9363825 ufficio_stampa@argine.it
 
PRESS RELEASE: COMPAGNIA TEATRO DELL’ARGINE (Bologna, Italy)
 
Europe’s Footprints
(July 29th – September 29th 2012)
A march of Congolese people and European artists from Reggio Emilia to Brussels, with workshops, performances, meetings and final event at the Théâtre de Poche
 
On September 29th the Théâtre de Poche in Brussels will welcome the arrival of John Mpaliza Balagizi, 40 years old, exile of the Congolese diaspora, who lives in Italy since 18 years.
On July 29th 2012, John will leave the work he has in Reggio Emilia and begin to walk. He will cross the Alps and walk through Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, on foot, under the sun, the rain, camping wherever he can, he will go on walking up to forty miles a day until he comes to Brussels. Sixteen hundred kilometers, what’s needed to reach the European Parliament, to be received and listened. In front of the European Parliament, John will be the mouthpiece of thousands of testimonies of the chain of violence that made six million dead in the 1998-2003 conflict and continue to tear his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With him, the artists of the Company Teatro dell'Argine from Bologna who, in their theater, the ITC San Lazzaro di Savena, work to create a multicultural theatre with shows involving professional and non-professional artists coming from 15-20 different countries in the world, as migrants or political refugees.
«As Europeans, as artists, as theater people working for many years with political refugees, many of whom fled Congo, we felt we had to respond to John’s gesture. Too many are the echoes that our history, our culture, our memory let resonate within us. His act is exemplar, paradoxical, hyperbolical» say the artists of Teatro dell'Argine, who have decided to support John's march and to invite European artists and intellectuals to walk with him and to think at the road like a giant canvas on which they can paint, write, sculpt, play and make art installations. «A 1600 km long theatre, within which those who will walk with us will listen Congolese stories dialoguing with European memories, African writers interacting with European writers, Aimé Césaire being read together with Joseph Conrad, and Franz Fanon with Aeschylus».
Along the journey, in Milan, Turin, Chambéry, Genève, Neuchâtel, Basel, Strasbourg, Luxembourg, Maastricht, but also in smaller towns and cities, the artists will guide and create theatre workshops and small performances with several communities (schools, theaters, cultural centres, associations), to which John will explain the reasons of the march.
The great final will be in Brussels: John will be received by the European Parliament and the Company Teatro dell'Argine will organize a workshop at the Théâtre de Poche from 22nd to 29th September, open to all local artists – actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists – who would take part in, but also refugees, young and non-professional people (interview required).
On September 29th the workshop will give life to the show Walking Shadows. Congolese and Artists Across Europe, an itinerant event at the Théâtre de Poche which will put the audience on the move as well through different texts, original productions of artists, photos and videos created starting from the suggestions of the march.
The march has the patronage of Senate of the Italian Republic.
In order to guarantee the European dimension of the project, a lot of institutions, artists and intellectuals have already joined in: Dynamique de la Diaspora Congolaise en Emilia-Romagna (Italy), Committee Azione RD Congo (Italy), European Alternatives, Transeuropa Festival, Human Rights Nights Film Festival, Department of Political Geography of Zurich University (Switzerland), Department of Education Sciences of Bologna University (Italy), the Provinces of Roma, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Pisa (Italy), the Municipalities of Reggio Emilia, La Spezia and Albinea (Italy), National Archive of Diaries in Pieve Santo Stefano (Italy), Centre Bruxellois d’Action Interculturelle (Belgium), Foundation Strefa WolnoSłowa in Warsaw (Poland), Kuumba Flemish-African House (Belgium), ARCI Bologna and Milan (Italy), Centre La Bobine (France), Théâtre Am Stram Gram (Switzerland), Théâtre de Poche (Belgium), Théâtre du Passage (Switzerland), Marco Baliani (director and actor), Ascanio Celestini (author and actor), Fanny & Alexander (artists), Matéi Visniec (playwright), Alessandra Belledi (art director Teatro delle Briciole in Parma, Italy), Letizia Quintavalla (director), Elisabetta Pozzi (actress), Ulderico Pesce (director, author and actor), Eugenio Allegri (director and actor), Association Olinda/Ex Ospedale Psichiatrico Paolo Pini in Milan (Italy), Gerardo Guccini (Bologna University, Italy), Federica Zanetti (Bologna University, Italy), Massimo Marino (journalist), Roberto Beneduce (ethnopsychiatrist), Marianella Sclavi (anthropologist), Paolo Jedlowski (sociologist), Ivo Quaranta (anthropologist).

Workshop

Europe’s Footprints: Theatre Workshops of the Italian company Teatro dell’Argine, along the journey from Reggio Emilia to Brussels (July 29th - September 29th 2012)
 
The theatre workshops of the project Europe’s Footprints represent one of the elements of John Mpaliza’s march through seven European countries. John, a Congolese exile, along with several international artists, will walk for two months through Italy, Swiss, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland and Belgium in order to highlight and give voice to what’s still happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo and also to raise questions about what this has to do with us as Europeans.
The aim of the workshop – held by Pietro Floridia of the Italian Company Teatro dell’Argine, art director of the project – is to bring together professional actors, writers, dancers, musicians, visual artists, with non-professionals of all ages, migrants and refugees from many different worlds and cultures and, through the artistic confrontation, to guide them in creating art works of various kinds, to be presented to the audience after the workshop itself in an open evening. In the same evening, all participants, actors and audience, will have a meeting with John Mpaliza about the deep reasons of the march.
The method of the workshop is inspired to what Italo Calvino writes in one of his Invisible Cities, Euphemia, where all those who arrive and meet exchange their memories. Starting from keywords like “violence”, “memory”, “justice”, “colony”, “ghost”, “journey”, texts belonging to the African literature will be juxtaposed with texts of the Western tradition, and personal testimonies of both Congolese and Europeans will be collected. These materials will be the starting points for the participants to create, both individually and in groups, monologues, scenes, choreographies, music and so on.
 
Taking part in or organize a workshop in your city is very easy: just contact Company Teatro dell’Argine
  • Micaela Casalboni (micaela@itcteatro.it - +39.339.5460892)
  • Pietro Floridia (pietro@itcteatro.it - +39.339.5460892)

Videos

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