South of Imagination is a project by artist Valerio Rocco Orlando, curated by Raffaella Frascarelli, aimed at establishing a new school of the arts in Matera, Italy.

A digital educational platform brings together diverse communities through collaborative workshops—online and in-person—and mobilizes multidisciplinary spaces founded by international artists in decentralized territories. This process-based research refers to the unconventional knowledge produced by the demodiversity of the South and will evolve into a multi-channel video installation for Museo del Novecento in Milan.

The cultural sphere of the South reinstates critical thinking, draws new values, and builds spaces of subjective and collective freedom as an alternative to the economic neoliberal paradigm. This transformative process inspired the artist to create a platform for mutual learning, an intersubjective horizon aimed at demodernizing and decolonizing education. What are the teachings offered by Southern epistemologies that transform the world through a specific desire to understand it? How can we envision and foster a self-reflective education which can generate knowledge, equity, solidarity beyond neoliberalism? Valerio Rocco Orlando starts from these issues to stimulate forms of knowledge production grounded on active and intersubjective listening.

A series of nomadic workshops—activated together with Nomas Foundation and Sapienza University of Rome—invites organizations, universities, academia, museums, and local communities to put their sociocultural resources into play, as a way to imagine an innovative pedagogical path. The archives of knowledge developed by these encounters will be transformed into the assets to establish an independent school in Southern Italy—one of the key areas in the economic emancipation of the Mediterranean. This multidisciplinary and international initiative will be located in a state-owned building granted to the artist by the Municipality of Matera for thirty years.

Project supported by the Italian Council (9th Edition 2020), program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture.

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