The ‘Italian Council’ is the main program promoted by the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, established in 2017 with the aim of funding the creation of high-budget art projects and increasing the collections of Italian public museums.

Italian artist Emilio Vavarella, currently a PhD candidate in AFVS and CMP at Harvard, is among the winners of the 2019 edition of the Italian Council with a project entitled “rs548049170_1_69869_TT”. The project will benefit from a 178,000.00 euros production budget and revolves around the idea of translating the artist’s genome into a large textile, using commercial genotyping techniques available in Mountain View, California, and a 19th century Jacquard loom (one of the first ‘computing machines’), still active in Southern Italy.

Vavarella’s project aims to conjugate tradition and modernity by intertwining the genetic and cultural histories of the artist and his mother, (who is a tailor), and topics such as the digitalization of biological life, technical reproducibility, and the intersection between artisanal textile manufacturing and contemporary techno-scientific possibilities.

An integral part of the project will be a series of collateral events and initiatives aimed at expanding the project’s theoretical implications and produced with the support of cultural partners in Italy, the United States and China, including: Ramdom, a cultural association in Puglia and leading partner of Vavarella’s project; Arthub Asia, a Shanghai-based platform devoted to contemporary art creation and diffusion; the Film Study Center at Harvard University; and MAMbo, the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna.

Learn more about Vavarella’s work here: