CRITICAL PRACTICE WITH FEDERICA BUETI
- TIME: 10.00 - 12.00
- LOCATION: ONLINE
Federica Bueti Mythographies, mythologies, and mythical creatures. A Writing Workshop
Myths– cultural myths, legends, or ancient mythology–are easy to make and hard to break. In this workshop, we will examine the production of myths and mythologies (day 1) and practice myth-(un)making by engaging in a series of writing exercises(day 2). This writing workshop centers around the deep correlation between what we “believe” or do not believe and the myth we live by, opinions, prejudices, aspirations, and those we want to destroy.
Myths can become metaphors for the way we negotiate the world. Mythical self, personal mythologies, resistant subjectivities: these are some of the ways in which the myth has been bent, turned and twisted, reinvented–– as a way to preserve material cultures, pass on knowledge, to construct individual and collective identities. Urban legend and myths become stories circulated as true, happened “to a friend of a friend,” concerning mysterious or troubling events. Still, they can also reflect societal moral standards, prejudices, and other ways of making sense of societal anxieties. In the place I come from – Scylla– which carries the name of a mythological figure present in the Homer’s Odyssey, mythology and archeology have been the ways by which the modern Italian state, through the work of many local intellectuals and politicians, shaped the identity of an otherwise “ungovernable” land, Calabria. But the construction of this mythic past only served to conceal the miserable conditions in which communities in Calabria lived and continue to live. Calabrian writer and journalist Corrado Alvaro poignantly writes, “the poor worker escapes into migration and the intellectual escapes into the past.”
Myths and legends have helped shape artistic identities. In 1972, curator Harald Szeemann curated a section of Documenta 5 in Kassel called “Individual Mythologies,” by which he meant the foundation of the artists’ methodologies and concerns and those creating highly subjective alternate realities in the form of large-scale installations. In the feminist and lesbian tradition of writing, myths become sites of multiple resistance and their own aesthetic and socio-political spaces. For instance, Audre Lorde invents the term “mythography” to discuss her book of prose, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, published in 1982. The context for the publication of this biomythography was the emergence of the struggle for freedom in the ‘60s and ‘70s in the United States and the acceleration of state/interpersonal violence against minorities and women, western imperialism on a global scale. Zami can be seen to be simultaneously questioning the legitimacy of personal, institutional, and supra-structured power in an age of hegemonic metanarratives.
How do you interpret myths and mythologies, how do you deconstruct and appropriate them in your practice? We will spend some time studying different mythologies. We will use characters and themes from mythologies as inspiration for writing/your work. In preparation for our first meeting, students will choose or invent a mythical creature(s) that they will have to introduce to the group during our first session (day 1). The second session will be dedicated to writing mythographies/mythologies from your personal or collective perspective (day 2). The outcome of the writing workshop could be both individual or a collaborative textual intervention. The workshop will also be an opportunity to share and develop editorial skills and reflect on the possibility of documenting the process of studying/writing by using Binder as a publishing platform and landing page.