It is precisely in a space that has suddenly become a frontier area such as Belmonte Calabro (Calabria), the landing place of migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and, at the same time, the departure place of those who move elsewhere to work, that Le Seppie organize “Crossings”.
The aim of the project is to give to old and new inhabitants a greater awareness of the territory and its cultural heritage by experimenting innovative actions, which address the depopulation of the “minor villages”, and by designing structures, which enhance cultural differences and encourage conversations and exchanges between different cultural and generational communities.
A revolution of imaginary and of spaces, that of Le Seppie, which involves different and unexpected interlocutors. In fact, since 2016 the project has been taking shape thanks to collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture of London Metropolitan University, the Orizzontale architects’ collective, the local association Ex Convento, the patronage of the Municipality of Belmonte Calabro, migrants from the nearby centre of Amantea and the local community.
“Crossings” is a crossing of ideal and real thresholds: thanks to the collaboration with Orizzontale collective, since 2019, the first floor of the old nunnery of Belmonte Calabro has returned to a new life becoming a space for discussion based on architectural and relational experiences. This reinforces the awareness of “La Rivoluzione delle Seppie” as a hyper collective, an open container of various relationships developed during the years of Crossings.
The first steps of the renovation have contributed to develop and define a strategic vision of the future development of Belmonte Calabro, around the construction of a new space to host the activities of the new temporary community of students, academics, professionals and migrants. This is how la Casa di Belmondo was born. Thanks to this place, lived as a real home, as well as a collective work space, the various members of the hyper collective acquire a presence in Calabria creating an ecosystem with the aim of reactivating the local reality and looking for a “home ground” between: the memories of migrants who find home in some views of Belmonte, the desire to build a new house with “superior” qualities, the desire to look at the same place but with different eyes. Not only Belmonte, but also Belmondo.
“Le Seppie” is a cultural, non-profit association formed by an active group of young international professionals working in Calabria and interested in exploring the boundaries of practice and education. Through research, planning, design and training, Le Seppie aims to improve the cultural fabric of the community, to promote social integration and development of the territory. The main aim is to experiment a new pedagogy for all creative fields, developing formal and informal learning projects, promoting intersections and comparisons between people from different backgrounds, such as artists and professionals from all over the world, and including the local community and migrants present in the area, in order to promote Calabria as a fertile and attractive ground for creative and social initiatives. In 2016 they presented their work at the Venice Biennale, curated by Alejandro Aravena, and at the "Cultural Innovator Network Meeting" of the Goethe Institute in Matera and as part of the collateral events of Manifesta 2018 in Palermo.