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 brought together diverse communities through collaborative workshops—online and in-person—and mobilized multidisciplinary spaces founded by international artists in decentralized territories. This process-based research referred to the unconventional knowledge produced by the demodiversity of the South and evolved into a multi-channel video installation which is now part of the permanent collection of the 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 started 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—invited organizations, universities, academia, museums, and local communities to put their sociocultural resources into play, as a way to imagine an innovative pedagogical path.

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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