Tools For After, Festival of Ideas. Inaugural event from the Italian Cultural Institute of Melbourne. 14 September – 22 October 2023

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Italian Cultural Institute of Melbourne launches inaugural Tools For After, Festival of Ideas
14 September – 22 October 2023

The Italian Cultural Institute of Melbourne (IIC) presents its newest project, Tools For After, celebrating Italian ingenuity and focusing on exploring innovative solutions to the critical challenges due to the significant impact of human activities on the Earth’s ecosystems and geology. The festival asks the question, what are the tools we will need to face the future?

Tools For After is a six-week festival across multiple venues in Melbourne featuring interdisciplinary “tools” drawn from Italian creativity, which can be applied to promote the growth of a more sustainable future. The festival will encompass design, architecture, science, food, cinema, and literature, through the mediums of film, visual art, design, workshops, talks, and tastings.

Angelo Gioè, IIC Melbourne director, says: “Tools For After appeals to Italian creativity to answer questions that concern the entire planet, involving sectors in which Italy is internationally recognised for the style and originality of its proposals. From designing villages on the Moon and Mars to studying new materials, Italy is at the forefront of beauty as well as innovation.”

Festival curator, Maurizio Corrado says: “Future has changed. Tools For After is a laboratory of ideas for drawing a collective map of the Anthropocene imaginary, a collaborative exploration of solutions and ways of dealing with daily practice, it is an appeal to utopia to build a survival manual for future generations.”

Tools For After Architecture and Design is a major exhibition at Fitzroy Town Hall from 14 September – 10 October focusing on the innovation of design culture in Italy. The exhibition is divided into four thematic sections:
LYFE: Objects such as animals, plants, organic and living forms.
PALEO: The charm of the prehistoric period that is permeating the contemporary world.
TOOLS: Invention, strategies, other materials.
MAPS: Possible paths for the new project.
The exhibition explores natural and biotechnological materials for an ecological building culture, including bamboo from Italian-Columbian architect Mauricio Cardenas Laverde; Arundo Donax, a new construction method using marsh reeds by Margherita Bertoli and Matteo Mannini; raw earth constructions from the Geologika Collettiva Group; straw projects curated by architect Eliana Baglioni; biotechnology from architect Selenia Marinelli; space architecture by architect Valentina Sumini, Research Affiliate at MIT Media Lab, eco-sustainable transport from architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, renowned for designing Marconi Express in Bologna, (pictured below); and the innovative works of architect Massimo Mariani.

Tools for After Architecture and Design also features a selection of carefully selected objects, images, and videos from the latest generation that represent an answer to the urgent questions posed by the topic. Selected projects by students from design and architecture schools will also be on display, showcasing the proposals of the new generation of future designers.

Among the many exhibits are Filicudi lounge armchair (below left) designed by Marcantonio Raimondi and inspired by the iconic profile of the prickly pear, evoking a magical place of holiday and wild nature; SELCE (Flint) by Alessandro Gorla / Studio Algoritmo (below centre left), born from a primitive gesture of squashing fruit on the stone;  Anthropocéni (below centre right) by ZPS studio revisits the Inuit people’s archaic tools a modern way; the silk violin by Luca Alessandrini (below right) made with spider silk which is five times stronger than steel and at the same time, being one of the strongest biomaterials in the world, is extremely elastic (below right).

Tools For After Science features a selection of Italian scientists and of their projects to solve Anthropocene’s challenges and for the life of the future. The exhibition includes ten innovative proposals from Italian scientific research on sustainable and inclusive development. The studies all go towards the climate emergency and increasing the circular economy through AI, biomedicine, nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics as well as the natural environment. Details of venue and dates to be confirmed.

Tools For After Cinema is a selection of new Italian cinema focusing on themes related to the Anthropocene and will consist of two sections, short films from filmmakers in collaboration with Italian film schools, and Panorama, an invitational for experimental films in art, science, documentary, and fiction. TFA Cinema will be shown at The Capitol Theatre. Screenings will be held on Sunday October 1, 8 and 15.

In conjunction with Italian Language Week in the WorldTools For After Literature asks the question, what is the relationship between science and literature in the time of the Anthropocene? In this search for new ideas that this era necessitates, TFA looks to the professionals of the imagination, particularly writers. For this reason, the Tools for After literature project brings together science and the literary imagination. Eight Italian writers will be engaged in writing new texts that will flow into a new book, in Italian and English, to be presented and discussed with scientists during the week of October 16-22. TFA Literature is co-presented by Co.As.It, the Italian Assistance Association.

Tools For After Food is an exploration of traditional Italian food and products. During the festival, a selection of Melbourne’s Italian restaurants will offer a Tools for After menu that revolves around identifying a nomadic bread and featuring typical dishes from its region of origin. This reflects the overall theme of TFA, representing traditional territories and collective creativity selected over time and generations. The dishes are characterised by their originality, ease of preparation, and ingredient availability. Venues to be announced.

RMIT Dean School of Art Professor, Kit Wise said “Our engagement with TFA is built on a shared belief that art and creative practice brings unique insight to emerging technologies and their potential. Through projects such as this, we hope to look ahead to future possibilities, enabling the next generation of practitioners and innovators with a particular focus on those from diverse backgrounds. Also, to diversify national and international interdisciplinary networks, contribute to the development of new knowledge that can be applied to learning, teaching and research practices relevant to such challenges as climate change.’
Tools For After is expected to attract diverse audiences, from the best minds in science and architecture, to those who are lovers of Italian industry, innovation, and design.

Tools For After is an important initiative aimed at generating a wider understanding of our current climate crisis, which depends on our ability to bridge the cultural gaps between countries, generations, and disciplines. The festival will also offer concrete solutions to prevent and face the scenarios that human impact on the climate crisis is preparing us for. The winning project in the Festival of Italian Creativity competition of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tools For After promises to be an exciting and engaging festival, bringing together experts, enthusiasts, and young minds to explore innovative solutions for a more sustainable future.

Festival co-presenters include City of Yarra (architecture design exhibition), RMIT Faculty of Art (cinema) and Co.As.It, the Italian Assistance Association (Literature).

Interviews available with Maurizio Corrado, festival curator (through translator) and Angelo Gioè, IIC Melbourne director.

TFA Design and Architecture
14 September – 10 October
Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy
Opening event – Thursday 14 September

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