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“Europe as a space for continuous sharing”

17 Feb 2021

In our series of interviews with our Culture of Solidarity Fund grantees Federico Toso of the Italian National Federation of Outdoor Arts explains why European arts and culture need a digital territory.

Federico, what is FNAS?
FNAS, National Federation of Outdoor Arts, is an Italian association whose focus is the artistic use of public space. In this circular vision, the main subjects of reference are certainly the festivals and the artists, but even all those other subjects who act in the public space: citizens, policy makers and cultural entities that invest in the effects of projects in favour of local communities.

What made you think of the project of setting up advanced private areas on the web that can, alongside events, replicate the dynamism of interactions?
The project does not have a genesis related to the pandemic experience. The origin of the idea derives from a broader reflection on the sustainability of mobility in the artistic sector, in close correlation with the objectives of its international development. The need of professionals to meet, cyclically, to be able to nourish one’s professionalisation and remain connected with the opportunities of international circulation isn’t not an entirely inclusive tool. The sustainability of travels and stay costs differently affects them in relation to the size of the organisation or the system of financing in the different countries. What happened in-corona was that all operators were levelled to the same starting conditions. Hence an experimentation on the digital, as a bridge to reconnect distant shores, which could not only be a mere technical development, but also and above all functional invention and adaptation to needs.

What will your project contribute to Europe, post-corona?
The process of accompanying (not replacing) digital with the experience of the live meeting has exceeded the threshold of no return. We have seen that digital is no longer just a function of aggressive marketing, but has helped us to foster the care of relationships, of which the health distance seemed to have deprived us. Europe, before being a political idea, is a cultural evidence. Even in the difficulty of keeping such different natures within, its strength lies in the pluri-diversity of cultures. The project contributes to post-corona Europe, to the extent that it thinks in Europe as a space for continuous sharing: of ideas, practices, solutions and knowledge.

How will your project grow from local to pan European?
Europe has always been like a great Babel. If we have invested so much in building a common identity, the pandemic crisis has shown us how this result is not achieved “forever”, but represents a continuous process. First of all, it is the correct circulation of information, through common knowledge, which prevents sovereign ideas, often amplified by the mainstream, from taking root. The cultural system needs mutual support. Art and culture are elements of local origin, but with a universal vocation. Developing a digital territory that gives continuity to relationships and exchanges between operators means countering the tendency to fragmentation and mending the thread patiently woven by the founders of the European Community that has come down to us today.

And – finally – how does your project help to make Europe an open and shared public space for everyone?A substantial part of the project concerns the preventive analysis of what data we want and how we want to collect them. The more precise, simple and shared the work on standards will be, the easier it will be, in the future, to produce a multiplication of effects: both for what concerns the mapping of the sector (with the aim of advocacy and rewriting of policies) and for what it concerns the development of solutions and services for operators in the sector, policy makers and, above all, European citizens. If a public space is to be open and shared, it must first of all be accessible. And accessibility, participation and shared vision are the keywords of this project.

Granted: 25.000 euros
Funded in collaboration with Fondazione CRT.

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