Over the years, we have had many events at Bell Square which have involved local people getting directly involved in the show. They are always popular, and usually quite special. On Saturday, I’m looking forward to welcoming Stalker Teatro with their project, Steli. Everyone who would like to get involved can come and help build some beautiful, coloured structures together on the Square.
The artistic core of Stalker Teatro have worked together since setting up the ‘Political Collective’ in Turin in 1975. This period was the heyday of Italy’s post-1968 cultural and political uproar. Like many parts of Europe, and indeed the US, Italy saw major protests and rebellion in 1968. Working class students mostly drove the movement which aimed to change Italy’s traditional, capitalist and patriarchal society. Unrest began with a few student protests but by May 1968 all but one of Italy’s universities were occupied. And in the same month, 100 artists occupied the Palazzo della Triennale, the major cultural institution in Milan.
The context surrounding the start of Stalker Teatro left an enduring mark on the company’s work which is still obvious today. They are strongly committed to artistic experimentation with communities and especially dedicated to creating cultural events with local people. They work outside - and are at their best on the streets and on public squares.
Steli is for everyone. You are all invited to come and help build a structure out of hundreds of rainbow-coloured sticks. It is very easy, but very satisfying to see a beautiful creation coming together on the Square. When it’s finished, it has a really great visual impact. And everyone can then explore it – walking, crawling, climbing, under and through, this crazy structure. Or just sitting at the side, quietly admiring their efforts, and listening to the DJ.
Those sitting and watching may start to think about the artists’ ideas when they were developing this project. The project is about how we live in, or inhabit, architecture in post-industrial cities. How do we feel about the spaces we live in? Are they what we want?
In a review for The Herald in Glasgow, Stalker Teatro’s director, Gabriele Boccacini is credited as having ‘achieved what a million town planners have walled-in and made impossible, liberating hearts and minds by giving them space’. As the review says, in an ideal world, it would always be like this…
On Saturday, we will be building a new structure 3 times during the afternoon. Please come and join us! It’s on at 12.30 pm, 2.15 pm, and 4.00 pm.
And tell us what you think – did you enjoy it? Did it make you think differently about what architecture could be? About the spaces where we live?
Share your thoughts with us on social media using the #BellSquareLDN hash tag!