VOID/body/ BREATH/CARE Four Conversations on a Changing World Between Italy and Canada

The Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto has called upon eight thinkers, each in different fields, to reflect upon the changes and transformations imposed on our lives by the effects of the pandemic.

Soon after the outbreak first hit China, Italy and the world, it became clear that it was not to be a temporary, superficial disruption. The drastic measures of containment and the strict lockdown imposed by the authorities in order to limit the spread of the virus, as well as the constant exposure to the threat of an invisible danger, have forced us all to abruptly and radically modify our social and daily life habits. Social relationships, work environments, use of public spaces, all the different aspects of our life have suddenly changed in a way that would have once seemed unconceivable. A moment of serious reflection and thought is necessary in order to start drafting a new theoretical framework to respond to the transformations.

Together with curators Sascha Hastings and Francesca Molteni, we have chosen to focus on four key concepts: Void, Breath, Body, Care. The Italian and Canadian thinkers will each discuss the transformation from their own perspective as it relates to their individual field of expertise. Using these four concepts as metaphorical cardinal directions, our hope is that the outcome of the discussions will give us a sense of direction as we navigate through this collective experience.

Alessandro Ruggera, Director, Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto

23/09 | 12:30pm EDT


The ongoing global pandemic is forcing us to rethink the word VOID, that we all experienced with the lockdown and the social distancing - an empty space in our homes and cities, but also a feeling of unhappiness because someone or something is missing.

Instead of filling the void, we'd like to explore the positive and generative possibilities of new forms of the empty space with Davide Pizzigoni, architect, scenographer and artist, author of The shape of the empty space, and Bruce Kuwabara, one of Canada’s leading architects, founding partner of KPMB Architects, in conversation with moderator Francesca Molteni.

30/09 | 12:30pm EDT


The body gives us movement and mobility. It is also a locus of pleasure, pain, intimacy, strength, mortality and politics. The physical restrictions forced upon us by COVID-19 have made us rethink our relationships with our own bodies and those of others.

Dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata Zab Maboungou and Professor of Aesthetics, Poetics, and Rhetoric Chiara Cappelletto in conversation with moderator Sascha Hastings.

7/10 | 12:30pm EDT


Breathing is necessary to life - we all learned that one of the symptoms of COVID-19 is shortness of breath. It's a process common to the earth, the forest, human beings. We depend on nature for this primary function - plants are providing us the air to breathe through photosynthesis. Our mind is related to it, as the ancient greek "psyché" (ψυχὴ) means breath, soul and life.

Professor of General Arboriculture and Arboreal Plantations, Director of the University Museums including the Botanical Gardens in Palermo, Paolo Inglese and multidisciplinary artist, architectural designer and researcher Philip Beesley in conversation with moderator Francesca Molteni.

14/10 | 12:30pm EDT


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and an effective vaccine and/or treatment have yet to be found, the world economy is the most fragile it has been in recent memory. Many people who were already marginalized or living precariously are now at high risk of being left behind completely.

What does care mean in today’s world? A discussion with architect Simone Sfriso of TAMassociati and The Power Plant Contempory Art Gallery director Gaetane Verna, moderated by Sascha Hastings.

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Imaginis DesignStudio