“Windwörtern – Windwords”

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo | Turin


Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation (FSRR), Turin


Funding bodies
The workshop was funded by Fondazione CRT per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea as part of the week-long programme “ZonArte. The space and time where audiences meet contemporary art”.


To encourage active participation and to promote exchange and empathy between participants by creating a common space of reflection on the challenges for an individual to speak in a language that is foreign to him/her.

Target groups
Adult audience: teachers and students of local centres for adult education and training, cultural mediators with an immigrant background, artists, translators, students from the Academy of Fine Arts and Scuola Holden (a school of creative writing / storytelling based in Turin), families, communities living in the neighbourhood of the project’s venue (Fondazione Merz).

Duration of the project
April 2010

Project description
Keeping on with a growing engagement in intercultural projects (“A Vision of my Own”, 2007-2008; “City Telling”, 2008-2009),
“Windwords” is a workshop initiated by the Foundation’s Education Department, drawing inspiration from the work of the German artist Rupprecht Matthies. As museum anthropologist Christina Kreps observes, «Matthies’ work is inspired by the exchange of ideas, human interactions and relationships, and the words of people he encounters in his everyday life in a variety of communities and contexts. Human relationships, Matthies says, serve as his muse. Matthies uses his work not only as a catalyst for the exchange of ideas, but also as a tool for community building. […] I do not know if this is Matthies’ intention, that is, for his art to inspire a sense of empathy in its viewers for the people whose voices are literally embodies in the piece. But this is how his work affected me and helped me see that intercultural dialogue is more than cross-cultural communication and exchange. It is also about creating a sense of empathy that comes from hearing someone else’s story» (see “Publications / other resources”).

The preliminary phase of the project involved the following steps:
· initiating a dialogue with Matthies, who provided the Education staff of the Foundation with guidelines and practical advice
· consulting with cultural mediators and teachers from local centres for adult education and learning
· carrying out desk research on relevant literature as well as on contemporary artists using the language and words as a cornerstone of their work.

The workshop took place in the context of the “ZonArte” programme
, promoted by Fondazione CRT per l’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in cooperation with the Education Departments of six local arts institutions (museums, exhibition venues, private foundations) dealing with contemporary art.
It revolved around a few key questions – is there a word in your own language that you particularly miss using? One which has no equivalent in Italian, and/or cannot express the same concepts or feelings? – and was structured in two meetings.

– First meeting:
· presentation of some public art works by Rupprecht Matties (and more in particular his project “Windwörtern – Windwords”, which already involved many citizens, both “native” and “migrant”, throughout Europe); virtual interaction with the artist through Zonarte’s blog
· brainstorming and open discussion on the words emerging from the different life experiences of participants; during this phase, the use of the Internet, dictionaries and texts chosen by participants themselves was encouraged
· first “reworking” of the chosen words through a reflection on their sound and shape: the words in Italian and many other languages and scripts were made into individual pieces (work by small groups or in pairs), whether they be writings on different materials, three-dimensional objects, spoken-word rhythms.

– Second meeting:
· words were further “reworked” through a variety of media
· debate and exchange on the meanings and shapes emerged during the workshop, as well as on the concept of translation from one language into another
· virtual setting in the urban context of the chosen words: where, in the neighbourhood, would you like to exhibit your word/installation?
· uploading of texts and images on Zonarte’s blog, through a continuing interaction with the artist.

Publications / other resources
– The correspondence with Rupprecht Matthies and a real-time description of what happened during the workshop (English version) is still available on Zonarte’s blog:
– Video of the workshop by Elena Maria Olivero:
– A description of the workshop is also available in Palermo A., Togni F. (2010), «MAP for ID un anno dopo: ricadute e sviluppi del progetto City Telling», in  M. Pereira M., Salvi A., Sani M., Villa L. (eds.), MAP for ID. Esperienze, Sviluppi e Riflessioni.

Contact details
Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
via Modane, 16 – 10141 Turin
tel. 011.3797600
– Project coordinators:
Elena Stradiotto (Head of Education) and Francesca Togni (Coordinator of Education Projects)

Target Groups

Teachers and students of local Centres for Adult Education and Training, cultural mediators with an immigrant background, artists, translators, students from the Academy of Fine Arts and Scuola Holden (a school of creative writing / storytelling), families, communities living in the neighbourhood of the project’s venue