Dispari&dispari project is pleased to invite you, to the opening of the exhibition ‘A Lighthouse for Lampedusa’. This is the first show in Italy of Berlin artist Thomas Kilpper (born Stuttgart). With this project, the artist reflects on the current phenomenon of immigration focussing on the extraordinary case of Lampedusa. On this island, just 80 nautical miles away from the African Continent, this year more than 20.000 refugees have reached – mostly in heavily overcrowded little boats. For them the shores of Lampedusa became a Synonymon for the dream of a better life in Europe. But often their ‘journey of hope’ turns into a deadly tragedy – help organisations estimate one out of ten die during their dangerous crossing.
‘A lighthouse with a maximum strength beam can provide essential orientation at sea and help to reduce the danger to life. Over the last months, Thomas Kilpper developed this idea for a new art project with a double function: in collaboration with architects, engineers and local people he wants to build a lighthouse with an adjacent arts center on Lampedusa’.
‘A tower and a landmark building, capable of hosting a diverse and transnational programme of communication, negotiation, exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events on its ground floor; a place that attracts not only new visitors to the island but also local people – making Lampedusa not just a location to talk about, but also somewhere to learn from and listen to each other’
From the appeal – please see attachment
To understand the situation on the ground and to start to develop a network of contacts and relations with local people Kilpper travelled the island. On his second trip a meeting with 12 interested ‘Lampedusanian’s’ on this project could be held. With ‘A Lighthouse for Lampedusa’ Kilpper proceeds with his site related and socialy engaged interventions like ‘Al Hissan – The Horse of Jenin’, 2003 in Israel / Palestine and ‘Pigisback’ 2006 in London. At dispari&dispari project ‘A Lighthouse for Lampedusa’ will be presented to a wider audience for the first time – as a sketch for an utopian idea to come true in the near future. A Lighthouse for Lampedusa is an event produced by dispari&dispari project of Reggio Emilia and the artist Thomas Kilpper. Thanks for support and cooperation to: The German Institute for the Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa), the House of Artists Villa Romana in Florence, the Lampedusa and Linosa commune and Radio Delta in Lampedusa. The exhibition is open until 14 February 2009 from Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 – 13.00 and 15.00 – 19.00. Saturday and Sunday by appointment. For more information, visit www.dispariedispari.org or write to info(at)dispariedispari.org
A Lighthouse for Lampedusa!
Almost every day we get news of stranded refugees in the south of Europe. Annually about 20 000 refugees try to reach Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa. Thousands drown in the sea – aid organisations estimate 10 out of 100 migrants die during the dangerous crossing.
Endeavours to improve and sustain living conditions in the immigrants’ country of origin are of prime importance – but even if rich countries are willing to help, this will take time and it will be a matter of decades, if not generations, before people are confident enough not to leave their homelands.
As long as people put their life at risk, as long as people die crossing the Mediterranean in a small nutshell for the sake of a better future… we have to ask ourselves: what can be done?!
A lighthouse with a maximum strength beam can provide essential orientation at sea and help to reduce the danger to life. Over the last few months, Berlin artist Thomas Kilpper developed this idea for a new art project with a double function: in collaboration with architects, engineers and local people he wants to build a lighthouse with an adjacent arts center on Lampedusa.
A tower and a landmark building, capable of hosting a diverse and transnational programme of communication, negotiation, exhibitions, concerts and other cultural events on its ground floor; a place that attracts not only new visitors to the island but also local people – making Lampedusa not just a location to talk about, but also somewhere to learn from and listen to each other.
This project underlines the need for a solution to the refugee problem: it’s not possible to solve it via restrictions and declaring a ‘state of emergency’. We call for a humanitarian and just immigration and integration policy in Europe. None of the refugees is illegal. We oppose any idea to establish a ‘Fortress Europe’. The lighthouse will be a self-confident signal: ‘here we are, we do not hide’.
In December the first stage of the project will be launched. Thomas Kilpper will build a symbolic model first at the dispari&dispari project space in Reggio Emilia, and then again, in spring 2009 at Villa Romana in Florence, in order to present the idea to another public.
The second stage – finding ways to realise the tower on Lampedusa – will start as soon as the project gets local and international support.
This project ties in with a history of magnificent lighthouse constructions that have already been built, for example in Alexandria in 300 B.C. – mentioned as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.