From district to network

Roberto Costantino

In considering Savona’s Ceramic District an area of intervention and redevelopment, the 3rd Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art combined the specific local features of ceramic craftsmanship with the modern “culture of the project”, the free expression of artists and the technological development of production processes.
The purpose behind such an interaction of the area’s resources (the material culture of ceramic), design, contemporary art and hi-tech company culture is to enhance the special local characteristics and to complete their compulsory transformation.    
Within the viewpoint elaborated by the Biennale, all the designers, artists, hi-tech companies and research and training centres involved contributed projects and innovative production processes being fully aware that local artistic craftsmanship is a public, cultural and economic asset.
Therefore, the 3rd Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art began from the historical and structural conditions of the production chain that still configure this area of deep-rooted traditions like a District. The basic idea instead is to reproduce it as a network, a new form of what is not only and exclusively a territorial aggregation, but also an extraterritorial one that has brought numerous new institutional, production, professional and interdisciplinary interests together to develop the social and cultural assets of local ceramics.
This brand new network, promoting the transformation and morphological evolution of traditional objects, the effective transfer of technologies and materials from other production sectors and the prototyping of projects designed to be created in small series, systematically removed the boundaries between classes of objects (ceramic, art and design) that the usual cultural and goods classifications distinguish and keep separate, to favour instead their deviating and undisciplined hybridization with an eye on the future.
The materials collected here in the catalogue are the end results of two and a half years of intense activity for which I thank all those who actively contributed to such an achievement.

Text published in the catalogue of the 3rd Biennial of Ceramics in Contemporary Art “Undisciplined” , Attese, Albisola (Italy), 2006.