“Rurality” has increasingly become a key topic in contemporary political and ecological debates. Within such frameworks, interpretations of the concept oscillate between a view of it as a form “otherness” and a depiction of it as the quintessential repository of “identity”. Either way, it becomes apparent that rurality cannot be seen merely as a geographical space; rather, it has to be seen as an expression of “positionality”. A critical approach to rurality is necessary, today more than ever before, in order to be able to imagine other futures for rural communities, territories and places – beyond the “otherness”/“identity” dichotomy.
“Rural Futurism” is a critical perspective, in which multiple points of view (and listening) converge: art – and techno-culture(s) more specifically – provide new and striking ways to rethink what ‘rurality’ is (and could be). “Rural futurism” is a challenge raised to the current discourses about rurality and the binarisms that support such discourses: authenticity, utopia, anachronism, provincialism, tradition, sense of stability, belonging vs. alienation, development vs. backwardness.
By interrogating our relationship to memory and the archives of the past, artistic practice reinserts the concept of the ‘rural’ into the framework of contemporary narratives, deconstructing those discourses that relegate it to the status of a mere residue of wider political, economic and cultural processes spanning a global scale. In this way, rural areas become places of experimentation, performativity, critical investigation and change, where it is possible to create futures scenarios, starting from the assemblage of the seen and the unseen, of human and non-human elements – objects, materials, speech, relational infrastructures, technologies that give form to (and are formed as) specific modes of governance.
The 2016 edition of Liminaria (18th through 23rd of July) is prompted by these reflections. Expanding on the concept of “unmapping time” developed during last edition, Liminaria 2016 will examine a range of issues linked with rural areas, such as their connections and temporal intersections and their relationship with the “otherness” of local communities. These questions will be tackled by way of artistic practices and through the languages of new technologies – in particular, the arts of sound and the practice of listening to places and voices.
Liminaria 2016 will address a great number of issues during a full week of seminars, micro-residencies, performances and workshops: from ‘Dark Ecology’ (Timothy Morton) to rural criticism, from “permaculture” to the epistemology of the South, and much more. The Fortore micro-region will temporarily become a physical place from which to rethink rural areas and re-imagine their possible futures, understanding them as complex spaces actively immersed in the dynamism of encounters, flows and fluxes of contemporary geographies.