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Denis Isaia, in conversation with Raqs Media Collective

Tabula Rasa: 111 days on a long table



Photo: Eugenio Tibaldi

Tabula Rasa – blank slate – a situation awaiting a presence, an act or an inscription – a space of potency, ripe with anticipation, ready for imminence.
Tabula Rasa is a special project of Manifesta 7 within The Rest of Now. It is intended to animate a series of interactions and a network of conversations with the people of Bolzano / Bozen and the broader region. The project will be realized over 111 days on a long, clean table – a “blank slate” – in the empty space of Room 124 in the ex-Alumix building. It consists of a series of events embodying many modes of gathering, talking, sharing, viewing and making things together. The only condition is that each event must start in an empty room, on a clean table.
The events featured in Tabula Rasa include table-top exhibitions and performances, music, dance, theatre, film, talks, seminars, workshops, demonstrations, experiments, book releases, archival presentations, gardening and the occasional self-organised banquet.
The long table, or Tabula Rasa, in Room 124, was designed by Nikolaus Hirsch and Michel Müller. Radio Tandem FM98.4, Bolzano / Bozen, is media partner of the Tabula Rasa project.
Denis Isaia is an independent curator based in Bolzano / Bozen. He is the curatorial assistant to Raqs Media Collective for The Rest of Now.
Highlights of Tabula Rasa:
  • Alumix / Ex-Alumix / next Alumix: What’s the future of the building?

    Thoughts on conservation, contemporary cities and public needs. With: David Adjaye, Nikolaus Hirsch, Michel Müller, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Reinhard Kropf, Siv Helene Stangeland.
    Friday, July 18, 5pm
  • The Miracle Metal – Memories of Aluminium

    Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Milan
    The Alumix Factory is closely connected with the history of Aluminium production in Italy. Jeffrey Schnapp explores the political and cultural resonances of Aluminium, which was once considered to be the miracle metal of modern Italy.
    Saturday, July 19, 5pm
  • The Pirate as Archivist – Tools and Materials

    Jan Gerber and Sebastian Lütgert
    This workshop is an initiative against an art form that has become proprietary. Today, the dream of cinema no longer consists purely of images, but of the abstract rights that it claims to these images: infinite intellectual properties and their universal protection. In consequence, the single, most interesting tendency in cinema today – and the only one that holds a future – is piracy: the digital reproduction and redistribution of the entire history of cinema. It is organised spontaneously and on a world-wide level. This workshop is not only an attempt to increase the number and quality of movies in circulation, but also to increase the amount and quality of self-esteem among the individuals and organisations participating in various ways in this circulation.
    Sunday, July 20 and Monday, July 21 at 5pm
  • In the Greenhouse

    A nursery exhibition by Martina Schullian, Bolzano / Bozen
    Tuesday, July 22 to Sunday, July 27
  • Informal Tabula Rasa

    A workshop in “after-architecture” animated by Eugenio Tibaldi, Naples
    Eugenio Tibaldi, an artist based in Naples, is interested in the practice, common in Southern Italy, of “regularising” informal and illegal constructions by drawing up retrospective architectural plans. This practice could be considered a form of “para-design,” or “after-architecture.” In Informal Tabula Rasa, Tibaldi invites the people working in the ex-Alumix factory during the exhibition – guards, ushers, guides and ticket staff – to build a construction parallel to the long table in Room 124, using unwanted objects and materials from their homes. This construction is then rendered as a drawing, as a collective exercise in “after-architecture”. The drawing is exhibited along with the improvised, built form.
    Monday, July 28, to Saturday, August 2
  • Guestbook: Mind-mapping The Rest of Now

    Open Anonymous Society, Berlin
    Open Anonymous Society (OAS) is a temporary, heterogeneous constellation of artists based in Berlin. It regards the responses of ordinary visitors to art events, usually private and unexpressed, as the “residue” of contemporary art exhibitions. Guestbook: Mind-mapping The Rest of Now will solicit responses from visitors to The Rest of Now in the form of annotations, comments, thoughts, drawings and diagrams, which will be displayed on a “Mind Map” – a chart of conceptual links and associated interpretations – to be exhibited in Room 124.
    Sunday, August 3 to Saturday, August 9
  • Radio Symphony: listening to global radio with local short-wave enthusiasts

    A “radio symphony” is an accidental orchestral form created by simultaneously tuning-in to several radio stations. Twenty-four transistor radios will be arranged on the table, each tuned by a local, short-wave radio enthusiast, to the frequency of a radio station somewhere in the world. A fresh list of stations will be drawn up for each of the five days of the Radio Symphony event. The experience of walking along the table will be like listening to the turning dial of a giant radio. The visitor will be immersed in a constantly changing concert of sounds, voices, languages, music, static and radio-silence from all around the globe.
    Wednesday, August 13, to Sunday, August 17
  • Industrial Ballads: an archive of abandoned industrial buildings

    By Botto e Bruno, artists, Turin
    Monday, August 18 to Sunday, August 24
  • Commodore 64 slam

    Organisation and sound installation by Enrico Spanu, Bolzano / Bozen
    Thursday, August 28 to Sunday, August 31
  • Summer Drafts, by Paolo Plotegher, Bolzano / Bozen and London, in collaboration with Lungomare, Bolzano / Bozen

    Public presentation of the outcome of the Summer Drafts project, a series of workshop and intercultural events exploring informal meeting spaces and forms of sociality which are transversal to the different cultural identities of the local territory.
    Thursday, September 4, 6 pm
  • Naključni osebni pogovori – Random Private Conversations

    Milena Kosec, Career Contemporary artist, Ljubljana
    The artist talks with randomly chosen visitors on a free subject, however, the discussion usually focuses on the person’s life activities.
    Through direct contact with the audience, artist Milena Kosec explores issues of interpersonal interactions, randomness, immateriality, uniqueness of a moment, together with non-repeatability.
    In her performances she involves randomly chosen visitors, with whom she plays the role of the listener, establishing a spontaneous, sincere and personal dialogue. Without notes or documentation, the only traces these random conversations leave behind lay in the realm of personal memories.
    Friday, September 5 to Sunday, September 7
  • Interpretation Laboratory I

    By Monipodio, a cartoonists’ collective, Bolzano / Bozen
    A group of cartoonists respond to The Rest of Now.
    Saturday, September 6 to Sunday, September 14
  • Interpretation Laboratory II

    Oral review on Manifesta 7 by 10 curators, moderated by Elvira Vannini, Bologna
    After a private conversation, 10 young Italian curators will present to the public a review on Manifesta 7.
    Wednesday, September 10, 6pm
  • How to stabilize a wobbly table, or the Bolzano Theorem.

    A mathematics performance illustrating the Bolzano theorem and its peculiar applications, by Andrea Caranti, Trento.
    Thursday, September 11, 6pm
  • Building Instruments: The Bolzano / Bozen Sessions

    With Espen Sommer Eide, Bergen
    Espen Sommer Eide, an artist, musician and philosopher based in Bergen, has designed a method for the collective building of improvised instruments for electronic music, using gramophone records, turntables, bits of amplifiers, sub-woofers, etc. The process of making the instruments continues into the making of the music itself. In The Bolzano / Bozen Sessions, Sommer Eide teams up with friends, acoustic hobbyists and local electronic music enthusiasts to build instruments and make music on, and around, the long table.
    Friday, September 12
  • Floating Territories: Book Presentation

    Presentation of a book edited by Nico Dockx, Germana Jaulin and Chiara Parisi based on a logbook of conversations between Nico Dockx, Yona Friedman, Helena Sidiropoulos and Jochem Vanden Ecker, arising from their work on the Floating Territories project.
    Saturday, September 13, 6pm
  • Building Transmissions: Sound Performance

    A live sound performance by Kris Delacourt, Nico Dockx and Krist Torfs, and the release of a 12” vinyl record connected to the TEUFELSgroup installation in The Rest of Now.
    Saturday, September 13, 9pm
  • Rosarot und Himmelblau I

    Object collections from Bolzano / Bozen, curated by Lisa Trockner, Bolzano / Bozen
    Sunday, September 14 to Friday, September 19
  • Dictionary of War

    A collaborative platform for discussing concepts about war, to be invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at a public, two-day event. The aim is to pinpoint key concepts that play a significant role in current discussions about war, as well as those that have been neglected, or have yet to be created. Over the past two years, 125 key concepts have been produced in previous editions of the Dictionary of War, developed in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz, Berlin and Novi Sad. The sixth edition, to be developed at Manifesta 7, will be a remix of concepts from former editions, as well as an exhibition of a number of newly created concepts and their live presentations. (
    Platform: Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21
    Exhibition: Monday, September 22 to Thursday, September 25
  • Residual Hopes: Table-Top Theatre Weekend

    Theatre performances on the table, curated by Il Funambolo, cultural producers, Trento
    Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28
  • Roaming is a project by Ermanno Cristini, curated by
    Alessandro Castiglioni, with the participation of Emanuele Becheri,
    Vincenzo Cabiati, Armin Linke, Ermanno Cristini, Microcollection.
    ROAMING is a series of exhibitions lasting only for the time of the
    opening as flashes that live in the photograsphers? cameras, and then
    float in the fuzzy dimension of the web. This edition will be
    photographd by Casaluce/Geiger – synusi@
    Tuesday, 30 September
  • Table-Top Music Weekend

    Music performances on the table, curated by Andrea Polato, Bolzano / Bozen
    Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5
  • Free Ads

    Free distribution of historical ads from Radio Tandem FM98.4, Bolzano / Bozen
    Monday, October 6 to Friday, October 10
  • Art Magazines: What Now?

    Panel discussion on editing, publishing and writing for independent and emerging Italian art magazines, broadsheets and occasional publications. In collaboration with, an independent online art network.
    Saturday, 11 October: 11.30 – 14.00
  • Table-Top Poetry Weekend

    Poetry slam-and-performance on the table.
    Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12 – 5 pm
  • TV Effects on Super 8

    By Sara Rossi, Milan
    This exhibition celebrates the art of creating animated graphic transitions (popularly called ‘TV Effects’) on Super 8 film, almost a lost art. Sara Rossi, a filmmaker and artist, presents her personal collection of Super 8 Effects in a specially curated projection program.
    Monday, October 13 to Sunday, October 19
  • Handheld Objects

    An exhibition of handheld wooden objects by Davide De Paoli, Bolzano / Bozen
    Tuesday, October 21 to Sunday, October 26
  • Rosarot und Himmelblau II

    Sterbebildchen: the Luis Müller collection of remembrance cards, curated by Lisa Trockner Bolzano / Bozen
    Monday, October 27 to Sunday, November 2