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3 March 2020

Would you take a cruise on the ship of fools? / Have you already reached the age of reason? / Does madness visit you at least twice a day? / How would you rewrite the Dada Manifesto? / Do you know how to make mayonnaise go crazy? / Have you ever worn striped trousers? / Are dreams the theatre of madness? / What is the difference between a crow and a desk? / How many times have you lost your mind? / Does the labyrinth keep you balanced?


Il Lazzaretto began in 2014 as a cultural association, and was established as a Foundation in 2017. Its mission is to promote collective and individual transformation processes, opportunities for change and growth, through cultural participation projects characterized by an open and inclusive approach, free from stereotypes and misconceptions. The approach that Il Lazzaretto adopts in all its research is “methodological doubt”: asking questions that are as generative as possible, consciously implementing doubt as a means of collecting varied, and often dissonant, responses that can constantly offer an insight into the present and its transformations. For this purpose, the Foundation raises funds to promote and support research and initiatives based on a fruitful exchange among visual arts, psycho-physical practices and performing arts.

Il Lazzaretto works mainly through two means:

A program of dialogues and workshops with artists, performers, curators, philosophers, and scientists. The public, specialist and otherwise, is invited to contribute to the co-creation of the “Festival of Madness!” by asking questions, voicing concerns, and providing ideas and points of view on the festival’s theme. “Virus!” puts the public at the center of the creative process.

Four days of performances, exhibitions, conversations, workshops, and psycho-physical practices. It is held in Milan at the headquarters of the Lazzaretto Foundation and beyond, with the desire to spread a spark of madness throughout the city. The Festival is the result of a year of work, of dialogues, workshops with artists, performers, curators, philosophers, and scientists. The audience is called on to contribute to the programming of the festival by asking questions, and providing ideas and points of view.

This year, thanks to its partnership with FARE and AIR – artinresidence, and the contribution of the Cariplo Foundation, Il Lazzaretto has decided to introduce a residency for two foreign artists.
During the residency, participants will be asked to activate working methods that are inclusive of Il Lazzaretto’s community and reference players. What is required of the artist is the activation of a co-creative act—a participatory process based on the engagement of the related target group. Through the workshop tool, they will need to build spaces for discussion, working with experts, authors, and organizations on one side, and communities, audiences, and pre-selected groups on the other. This will be done in the perspective of not hiding, but enhancing, the non-reconciled, non-standardized and neglected aspects of the relationships originating from projects based on a close interaction between places, communities, and memories.
During the Festival, the artists will need to present the results of their work with the participation of their target group.

Every year, Il Lazzaretto focuses its programming on a theme on which heterogeneous and pluralistic views are welcomed and stimulated. To this end, the questions contained in the call represent some of the possible interpretations and implications of the chosen 2020 edition theme.

Madness is the overall theme of 2020 at Il Lazzaretto.
The artists, authors and organizations involved in the cultural programming of Il Lazzaretto are encouraged to investigate the relationship that individuals and society have with madness, promoting a reflection on the perception of the self and of others, and on its (re)construction. This means not only talking about otherness, diversity, incommunicability, fear, misunderstanding, non-standardized or unresolved views, but also of creativity, the relationship between madness and art movements over time, codes of behavior and clothing. In short, it means facing and confronting otherness, real or imaginary places, and their prospective borders.

The residency is aimed at artists or collectives of artists who reside abroad, and work through participatory practices with the use of any technique or language (performance, dance, theater, sculpture, painting, installations, video, digital, photography, etc.).

Il Lazzaretto will make available to the artist:

  • Travel and insurance cost coverage that will be borne directly by Il Lazzaretto;
  • Accommodation with shared bathroom and kitchen (or for private use, depending on availability), during the period of residency and during the “Festival of Madness!”;
  • All Foundation and institution spaces involved in the project activities;
  • Tutoring through FARE staff;
  • Artist Fee of € 2,000.00, inclusive of food and on-site transportation. In the case of a collective of artists, the amount of the Artist Fee is € 2,000.00 total (not per-person);
  • Production budget up to a maximum of € 5,000.00, managed by Il Lazzaretto.

Artist responsibilities:

  • Remain in Milan during the period of residency (one month), and during the “Festival of Madness!” (one week);
  • Development of a project based on the guiding theme of Il Lazzaretto involving a target group, through one or more workshop activities throughout the month of residency;
  • Production of a paper related to the project, to be delivered by mid-September 2020;
  • Final presentation of the project during the “Festival of Madness!”, with modalities and spaces to be determined on a project-specific basis;
  • Remain available for any future communication needs related to the residency.

Il Lazzaretto recognizes the artist’s wider freedom of method and work with respect to the project’s research and implementation, notwithstanding the active participatory dimension of the community identified in the design phase.
Joining the residency program implies unconditional acceptance of these regulations; of the judgment of the selection committee made up of the staff of Il Lazzaretto and FARE; and of all stipulations contained in the signed agreement.

Residency takes place in six stages:

  • Launch of the call by invitation and collection of applications: 17 February-31 March, 2020
  • Notification to the two selected artists: 10 April, 2020
  • Period of residency: 13 May-12 June, 2020
  • Final presentation of the project during the “Festival of Madness!”: 5-8 November, 2020

To participate in the residency program, the following materials are required:

  • Application form (download the form here);
  • Portfolio in pdf format. Any audiovisual or multimedia content must be presented on platforms or websites, and listed in the portfolio in the form of links;
  • Curriculum and short bio in pdf format;
  • Letter of presentation of your artistic and professional career and your interest in the subject matter of the call (maximum 2,000 characters, pdf format);

The completed materials must be sent to call@illazzaretto.com by March 31, 2020.
The material sent will not be returned.
The selection committee may request a Skype interview of the candidate.

Il Lazzaretto is the place of contagion and contamination, where you can play with certainties and boundaries, practice the art of doubt, and elicit possible meanings. Here, you enter certain, and then discover yourself bewildered; you exit amazed, and return more curious than before. Lazzaretto is an idea and a practice, a testing ground, and an open and flexible physical space. Historically, it was a place of recovery and separation from the rest of the world. A Plague of Madness today means opening up to possible contaminations of the world; it means walking on the borders, forcing the limits with irony and fun; trying to combine logic and imagination, scientific approach and trepidation, unyielding investigation and creative courage; in the end, trying to promote a reflection on the individual and collective processes of change and transformation.


Created with the aim of enhancing and promoting contemporary culture, FARE is an organization operating in the field of visual art. Its main focus is on detecting and addressing issues concerning the cultural system and their players: what is missing, what should be done, what proposals are made. The dominant feature is the connection, the research based on the sharing of ideas, interests, strategies, in and around contemporary visual arts. Collaborative projects are created with foundations, associations, cultural and training organizations; along with more complex projects such as the creation and management of national and international networks in the field of training and mobility for artists, curators and cultural operators. Through contemporary art and its participatory, inclusive and transnational processes, FARE promotes territories and identities; contributes to the social growth of the communities with which it communicates; and promotes the development of the public through art residencies, exhibitions, publications, and educational projects. FARE works in the format of art residencies, and develops exchange programs with international partners based on interdisciplinary research and the sharing of knowledge and experience. The programs focus on different areas of interest: the know-how of residential practices; the relationship between art and the public sphere; public development and engagement. In 2010, FARE created AIR – artinresidence.it, the only Italian network of art residencies.


Beatrice Oleari | call@illazzaretto.com

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