Conceived by Benedetta Carpi De Resmini
Travel is one of the ways that humans have established over time to relate to different civilisations, giving us important clues to the fundamental characteristics of mankind in interacting with its environment. The scope of travel does not exclusively imply a physical movement from one place to another, but also an emotional involvement, which gives travel a purely psychological function. Furthermore, the increase of imagination coincides with the disappearance of patches of land yet to be discovered. This paradox also means that today, in a globalised world, we must still take into account the diversity and roots of every country.
Travel is a fundamental tool for building relationships with others and with one’s own context. It is also a prime dimension available to humans to widen our view on the anthropological panorama and to gain further information on the world that surrounds us. Travel belongs to our traditions, it depicts that open and fascinating concept that is linked to our popular traditions, to the paths of fairy tales, to the archetypes that bring us to a constant longing for the unknown.
The title Magic Carpets refers to stories that lead us to another place and to a long nomadic tradition that expands geographically. Nothing is more efficient, for going from one place to another, than jumping onto a magic carpet that immediately transports you to the desired country. In the world of fairy tales, the character on the carpet takes part in the journey, he knows he is leaving a place and going to another, though sometimes the destination is unknown. Anyone who sits on the carpet and wants to go from one place to another will be, in the blink of an eye, transported somewhere, near or far, otherwise difficult to reach, except with many days of walking. Not only that, the flying carpet often does the bidding of its passenger, showing the latter’s desire to know other territories and actively participate in the journey.
The magic, or flying, carpet brings to mind the Arab world in the fairy tales of The 1001 Arabian Nights. The epic world of the Arabian Nights sounds like a metaphor of the current reality in Europe. This book in fact includes a great variety of tales covering fables, poems, riddles, moral and fantasy tales, which opens the possibility of alternative readings and a more complex one that involves a sort of representation of the outside world. Therefore, starting from the pattern of a carpet, each country will enhance this idea of travelling from one city to another through the figurative writing of a common tale that will be written by each participant, by exchanging ideas. Artists and experts are invited to create metaphorically and then physically a common place for everyone where stories, legends, symbols, artworks, and ideas can be shared.
Folk tales, in all of Europe, form a true network of connections and the same or similar characters can be found in many places. These old stories have become, therefore, the base for many others. This project intends to unite several cities around Europe with the image of the carpet, connected to our anthropological structures of the imagination, to arrive at a new approach to participation in the community: rhizomatic, horizontal and reticular. It is a project of awareness that aims to cultivate a sense of belonging, where people, beyond their own country of origin, will be able to create a network starting from those processes of classification that come from the logic of the great classics of our childhood. Europe is becoming a land of borders. This project wants to build new ideological bridges capable to reduce differences between people arriving from different cultures. The Mediterranean Sea is the point of departure for many immigrants and is a planetary reflection on the concept of differences. Similar geographical conditions and cultural osmoses exist in many other parts of Europe such as the Baltic Sea and the Black sea that are geographically a space where each in turn narrates meetings of civilizations, growth in respect of diversity. The carpets become the space to share different histories and tales and discover how much we are the same and yet different. The processes that Nicolas Bourriaud mentions in his essay Post Production designate “an area of activity” in which alternative protocols are processed for already-existing representations and narrative structures: “to learn to make use of forms means first of all to know how to make them one’s own and live in them,” moving from a culture of consumption to a culture of activity, from a passive attitude to a form of resistance based on the reactivation of denied or marginalized potential. Fiction becomes a way to capture the truth and art becomes the optical instrument for looking at the world, in order to outline a dialogue with the context.