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The Attempt of a Poem

Meeting with Filippo Riniolo in Istanbul

The Diyalog association is setting up its fifth edition of the Mahalla Festival, which will take place under the title Palimpsest between the 1st and 10th of September 2022 at the former Greek School in the Kurtuluş district on the European site of Istanbul.

The Italian concept artist Filippo Riniolo is in Istanbul for this occasion. He is participating into the Mahalla Festival with an interactive performance/installation with the title The Attempt of a Poem in the frame of a residency program by  MagiC Carpets. MagiC Carpets is a Creative Europe platform uniting 16 European cultural organisations that create opportunities for emerging artists to embark on journeys to unknown lands and to create, together with local artists and local communities, new works that highlight local specificities. Latitudo Art Projects in Rome is a partner of the network and nominated Filippo Riniolo to participate in the Mahalla Festival. The emerging curators Ilayda Tunca in Istanbul and Paola Farfaglio in Rome manage the implementation of Filippo’s art project for the Festival.

Filippo was born in Milan. He started drawing at the age of 5. By comparing his drawings with those of other children of the same age, he quickly understood that he had a talent. His passion led him to the prestigious  Academy of Fine Arts of Rome where he graduated in 2011.

Filippo is a concept and visual artist. His artwork is displayed in many forms such as performances, videos, paintings, poetry. The idea and the process behind the work is more important than the finished object. Depending on the concept he wants to develop he will choose the appropriate technique.

Filippo’s artwork focuses on political, religious, social, poetic, and historical themes. He sees art as a tool to understand society just like philosophy or mathematics. According to him: “While mathematics use numbers and philosophy uses words, art uses visual.” He also thinks that knowledge is not an accumulation of information, it is being able to take a position. Regarding this statement and his artworks, we can consider his art as engaged.

Filippo’s  project for the Mahalla Festival

Filippo’s artwork for the Mahalla Festival, The Attempt of a Poem is inspired by the by the Iliad and Odyssey. During the period (1200 BC) climate change caused a famine that led to social and political instability resulting in migration, wars, and epidemics. The entire political structure, technology, and society were lost – only memorable poems survived from this period. The Bronze Age collapse featured several parallels to our modern world.

Filippo recalls oral tradition by drawing an analogy between present and 1200 BC and he invits everybody to participate into the production of the art work into interactive workshops during the Mahalla Festival in September at the Greek School in Kurtuluş.

Attempt of a Poem is a rewriting with a queer and feminist point of view of the mythology of the past. Patriarchy is a narrative to be torn down with collective rewriting work that starts from queer and nonconforming subjectivities.

Attempt of a Poem returns to a moment in history; and attempts to rewrite the past by infiltrating to the moment of the horse’s appearance. In aim of organizing a new narrative and a poem accompanied by the Kirke and Tiresias passages, three sessions in total, the workshop is devoted to create a ‘nostoi’ by organizing a joint poem with the participants and transforming this poem into a choral performance/sound theater.

Filippo will re-tell/re-write the epos of returning: the Odyssee – the Nostos.

The Nostos are epic poems that relate the return home of the Greek heroes after the end of the Trojan War. Filippo wants to invent 3 episodes of the Nostos, both in the text aspect and musical aspect, in cooperation with the multicultural community of the Kurtulus district in Istanbul. That’s why during his artist residency, Filippo will hold workshops with local communities to write these poems. As the artist aims to work on oral tradition, at the end of the workshops, the written text will be destroyed and only the audio recording of the work will remain.  The poems will be finally presented as a sound installation (vinyl and nft audio) within the Mahalla festival.

The language of the workshop depends on the participant’s preference, and the workshop is open to all languages. Translation will be provided upon request.

So if you are an enthusiast of storytelling or a writer or a narrator interested in rewriting history and creating finally a collective sound installation, you are invited to attend the workshops with Filippo between September 1 and September 10.


Please register on the Mahalla website for participating into the workshop

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