Narrating the Living Town

The Case Study of Seminaria Sogninterra Environmental Art Biennial


  • Diana Ciufo University Sapienza of Rome
  • Isabella Indolfi



community-based art, participation, installation, temporary, ephemeral, sensory community, addition, layering, common space


Contemporary art offers infinite possibilities to experiment with innovative ways of inclusion, to encourage interculturality, and to reinforce social cohesion by providing concrete tools and methods for the construction of common grounds among sensory communities. This paper focuses on the ten year old Biennial of Environmental Art named Seminaria Sogninterra (a poetical name that stands for Seeds-in-air Dreams-in-ground). It analyses how a program me of art residencies and local art production is regenerating the small town of Maranola where the biennial takes place. Its site-specific and community-based approach uses strategies of participation, ephemerality and addition, to engage local inhabitants in the realization of the event. The case study of Seminaria Sogninterra demonstrates that community-based art can shape a unique idea of public space, and can draw new maps and relations, through which people can build their own identity.

Author Biographies

Diana Ciufo, University Sapienza of Rome

Diana Ciufo is an independent architect and set designer, she studied Architecture both in Porto (FAUP, PT) and Rome (Sapienza, IT) where she graduated with honors in 2012. As a Leonardo Da Vinci recipient she moved to the Netherlands in 2013 where she started a long lasting collaboration with several offices as a freelance architect. During the past Academic Years she has been at first student tutor in the Sapienza Design and Technology Department (PDTA) and then Adjunct Professor in the field of "Performing Arts and New Media Studio". Currently she is enrolled in a PHD course at the same Department in the field of Urban Studies. Her projects stand mostly in the field of temporary architecture and scenic design (her installations have been set at: Teatro Biondo Palermo, Les Halles SchaerbeekBruxelles, CSS Udine, TPE Torino, Ventura Lambrate pavilion Milano, and in contemporary theater and dance festivals like: Pergine Festival, Oriente Occidente, Romaeuropa Festival). The relationship between people, inhabitants, spectators and space is the main point of her personal research.

Isabella Indolfi

Isabella Indolfi is an independent art curator living between New York City and Maranola (Italy), and working between Europe, United States of America, Russia, Armenia. Since 2009, she has been working in collaboration with artists, institutions, festivals, galleries and museums. With graduate training in Sociology and Cultural Studies, and with a second Master Degree in Human Rights and the Arts at Bard College in New York, her curatorial research is focused on public art through site-specific and community-based practices. Isabella Indolfi is currently holding multiple positions: independent researcher for Opere Vive; curator for public programs at the Embassy of Italy in Armenia—commissioned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; member representing Italy in the Manager Committee of "Writing Urban Places" in COST European Cooperation in Science and Technology; founder and art director at SEMINARIA Biennial Festival of Environmental Art; co-curator for Cyland Media Art Lab. With a research focus on the impact of communities and environments on media art projects, Isabella Indolfi gave lectures at the Goldsmiths University of London and at the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Art. She curated exhibitions at museums such as the MACRO Museum in Rome (Italy), the Youth Center of The Hermitage State Museum in Saint Petersburg (Russia), the Cà Foscari University in Venice (Italy), the Cafesijan Museum in Yerevan (Armenia), and the New York Media Center (USA), among others. She has also collaborated with international festivals such as Romaeuropa Festival (Rome, IT), Festival dei Due Mondi (Spoleto, IT), Cyfest (St Petersburg, RU - Caserta and Venice, IT - New York City, USA), Media Art Festival at the MAXXI Museum in Rome (IT), among others.


Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, (1998), Les Presse Du Réel, 2002, 45.

Klaske Havik et al., VADEMECUM: 77 Minor Terms for Writing Urban Places (Rotterdam: nai010, 2020), 87.

Darko Pandakovic, ‘Il recupero dei centri storici’ in: Il Formichiere (ed.), Otto argomenti di architettura (Milano, 1978), 11-22.

Juliane Rebentisch, Forms of Participation in Art, Qui Parle, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Spring/Summer 2015), Duke University Press, 29-54.