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UrbaniCity
Francesca Romana Ciardi [de] / Duration: 180 minutes

Description of actions: I am wearing white cotton gloves, a pair of transparent goggles and a white body suit, one of those light garments worn by people on a construction or archaeological site, or by forensic experts. At the back of my suit, written in dark green gaffer tape, is the word UrbaniCity. I am walking outside the venue where my performance/living installation will take place, pushing a trolley where scissors, a brush, paper tags, 3 different types of thread, ropes, pens and various street objects, have been neatly placed. I select 4 locations (two sets of columns, a site with 6 flag poles and a car park) and tie up a thick brown rope among each one of them, thus creating 4 stretched strings on which my street museum artifacts will hang from. I then proceed to select different objects, some previously collected, some donated and some found on the spot, and tie them up to the location strings. Each object is also exhibited with a brown paper tag containing the following information: description of the object, location where it was found, date and time of its discovery, the object special aesthetic or functional characteristics and a serial number made of 4 numbers and one letter. I continue exhibiting, tagging and archiving objects found in the streets (ranging from cigarette packs, discarded sweet wraps and road signs, to plastic bags, tissues, stones and dead insects) for several hours. I end my ethnographic performance by hanging my body suit, gloves, glasses and trolley to the strings, however without tagging them.

Background: UrbaniCity is a site-specific and durational ethnographic performance, leading to the installation of a transient open-air historical museum, charting the identity of the city and its citizens through the accidental, mislaid, neglected and chance-object. Objects tell everyday stories, and the street is full of such narrators. By taking into consideration the cultural, political and economical subtexts of the urban landscape and its object, this living installation aims to enable the viewers to imaginatively map habits, movements, interactions, histories, memories, individuality and perceptions. It is also intended as an open empirical urban log, to which the public is invited to contribute practically by donating objects they believe may provide valuable insights about their environment and current views, and critically by looking at it using Laurel Richardson's 5 criteria of ethnographic research: substantive contribution, aesthetic merit, reflexivity, impact and expression of reality.