Maria Luiga Gioffre, alumni MA Contempoary Photography at Central Saint Martins, has been selected for the AER residency at Associazione Culturale dello Scompiglio

Penelope’s White Wall, Archeological Park of Scolacium, Italy, still video 70 mins, Maria Luiga

Set up by Professor Lucy Orta UAL Chair of Art for the Environment – Centre for Sustainable Fashion in 2015, The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme (AER) provides UAL graduates with the exceptional opportunity to apply for short residencies at one of our internationally renowned host institutions, to explore concerns that define the 21st century – biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, and human rights. Through research, studio practice, critiques and mentoring the AER programme is designed to envision a world of tomorrow; to imagine and create work that challenges how we interact with the environment and each other.

Read Maria’s successful residency proposal:


Following the aesthetic of my durational performances, Penelope’s White Wall (2017) and Pangea (2017) and Spianatura della sabbia per la genesi della Polvere (2018) I would work with performance and installation at the core of the process in order to produce a work that functions in continuity with the previous ones.

Aware of my death, I privilige performance in my art practice as practice of the presence in accordance with the heideggerian Deisen and the being-there. I used to practice lens-based media after realised these where for me instruments of absence which where not allowing me to “be into the world” and practice effectively the existence we live in and the immanence of the being.

I would really take into account as explorative line for this residency this difference I make between art practices of absence (photography) and art practices of presence (performance).

Leaving what just written as open research, I will try to be clear.

The topic I wish to work on during the residency is the imaginary of a “Purgatory of Spring”. The draft of this vision consists of filling a space with soil and operating the act of flourishing in its opposite way (by burying dried flowers under the fresh soil). By this frame, the work would rituals of death as reflection on the global death such as can be the imminent overdue pollution.

Some of my previous works practice gestures of the disappearance as erasure and death as consumption and life as transient, while older works have looked at this erasure more narrow, in a intimistic way, intersecting the themes of death in connection to abortion and suicide, as it is the case of the single channel video Geo. Ego. E go. Geo (2014) realised as experiment of circular narration for Scuola Holden (Turin, IT).

Geo.Ego. E go. Geo (2014)
still from video 4.36 mins

Differently, recent works as Pangea, a durational performance where a map of the world dissolves into black water and through each touch, the paper turns more fragile until it disappears, consists in an act of erasure that takes note of the imaginary of humanity as mortals and not durable flesh as well it evokes the dying of the planet earth due to pollution: water levels go up with an imminent end for this present.

Image: Pangea, Venice International Performance Art Week
European Cultural Centre, Palazzo Mora, Venice 2017
Photo credits: Aldo Aliprandi

Spianatura per la genesi della polvere, reharsal work in progress, Soverato, Italy
durational performance, 2018

Spianatura della sabbia per la genesi della Polvere (2018) that literally means to make the sand flat for the genesis of the dust, is a cultivation of nothing. While from the soil we can see flowers, the sand of the beach seems to be almost a non-fertile ground. To flatten this ground as step for cultivation is an act that raises up the infertility.

Finally, Penelope’s White Wall and Pangea have focused on the act of erasing boundaries. The death is an internal sense of longing if we think of the myth of Penelope as well as a product of wars if we think about walls.

Image 1: Penelope’s White Wall, Archeological Park of Scolacium, Italy
still video 70 mins
credits video: Eugenio Capellupo
Image 2: Penenelope’s White Wall, Oxo Tower, London
Award-winner First Prize Celeste 2017

New Residency opportunities are being added all of the time, please keep checking the dedicated webpages for other AER Programmes available for application.  

NOTE: Applications accepted from UAL graduates, postgraduates and recent alumni (within 12 months from graduation date).

Related Links:

The AER Team: