Why Palermo?

Manifesta 12 Tour 2017. Spasimo, Palermo © Manifesta 12 Photo by Minimum Studio

The City of Palermo was important for Manifesta’s selection board for its representation of two important themes that identify contemporary Europe: migration and climate change and how these issues impact our cities. The multi-layered and deeply condensed history of Palermo – being occupied by almost every European civilization and having long-term connections with Northern Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean over the last 2000 years – has left its traces throughout this multi-cultural society at the heart of the Mediterranean area.

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo is a great challenge to rethink how far cultural interventions can play a role in helping re-shaping one of the most iconic Mediterranean crossroads in our history as part of a long term transformation process. Manifesta 12 will raise questions such as: “Who owns the city of Palermo?” and “how to claim back the city?“ The city’s migration problems are symbolic of the far wider crisis situation which the whole of Europe is facing right now.” – Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta Director

“Manifesta 12 in Palermo in 2018 will be a fantastic opportunity for the city to reinvigorate its local and international identity. It is a moment for Europe to appreciate the significance of its Mediterranean dimension and identity: Palermo brings Manifesta to the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean to Europe. Manifesta 12 is an opportunity to celebrate Palermo for what it really is: a laboratory for the humanities, arts and culture. The city will be able to renew itself and pave a way for its future.” –  Leoluca Orlando, Mayor of Palermo

“We are honored to work with the city of Palermo for the next Manifesta 12. In the current political climate, Palermo’s history and character make it the ideal laboratory to re-imagine, from a Mediterranean perspective, the liberal values we share, and to address crucial issues for the present and future of the European city. On a personal level, being Italian and Sicilian born, but like many of my generation having worked abroad for many years, I feel particularly privileged to contribute to this edition of Manifesta.” – Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Manifesta 12 Creative Mediator; Architect & Partner at OMA

Manifesta 12 Tour 2017. Ballarò, Palermo © Manifesta 12 Photo by Minimum Studio

Manifesta 12’s main ambition is to work in a truly interdisciplinary way with local communities in order to rethink the basic architectural, urban, economic, social and cultural structures of the city. Manifesta 12 can investigate how great the role of cultural intervention can be in allowing the Palermitani citizens to take back ownership of their city. Manifesta 12 in Palermo can act as a grass-root incubator supporting the local communities with cultural interventions: this will help to rethink the city in their socio-economical and cultural structures and will use the existing informal profile of the city to act as a platform for social change.

The upcoming pre-biennial program will start in building the process for a sustainable theoretical framework and will set out the parameters of the city’s revitalisation process. In this phase, Manifesta would like to activate the communities of Palermo in the identification of its mission statement and objectives, as well as the challenges, expectations and outcomes of Manifesta 12.