ARTS(IP)401 Installation & Performance Art, Pietro Gaglianò, Fall 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS(IP)401 Installation & Performance Art, Pietro Gaglianò, Fall 2019


The Fall semester course is aimed at opening up meditation on the concept of "SPACE": what distinguishes public from private spaces? How does art take form into the space? How does art change its meaning when in a gallery or in a public square? Is art in the public space a type of political statement?

Students will investigate personal, collective, historical, social, aesthetic, and ethical issues connected to the many possible declinations of this concept.

A main deadline (at midterm) and many smaller home assignments are scheduled together with other exercises to be executed in class. The Final deadline will take place on the second to last day of class.

Students will be asked to be active and participative in class activities. A physical warm-up will open each lesson. Participation in physical exercises, creative improvisations, brainstorming, and discussions in class is mandatory.

It is strictly prohibited to bring food or drinks into the classroom, to use mobile and other devices, to take photos or videos, to chat and to behave in an inappropriate manner. Late arrivals and early exits are not allowed.


  • You are expected to work in a new perspective, focusing on the process as much as on the output.
  • You are expected to work with your body, as well as with your mind, and to use the space as a stage for your expression.
  • Remember that installations and performances require you to think differently (compared to traditional disciplines): very rigorous and flexible at the same time.
  • Explore new territories and experiment with new disciplines (artistic and not artistic) beyond the languages you are used to practicing.
  • Pay attention to social matters, geopolitical and ecological emergencies, human and civil rights questions; therefore, you have to read official and independent newspapers and websites, and to stay tuned to local and global events.
  • Read books and magazines about art critics and the art world.
  • Share your point of view in discussions and critiques, explain it, defend it…change it!
  • Keep yourself informed about what happens in town (pieces, exhibitions, theater, dance, public events…) and participate.
  • Be open minded.
  • Be doubtful.

Graduate Students
Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.


Recommended Reading

In compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act Textbook Provision, SACI provides, when possible, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price of required and recommended reading. Note: Many required and recommended texts are available for loan or can be consulted in the SACI Worthington Library.

Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship , Verso, 2012.
ISBN: 9781844676903 (Retail price: $29.95)

RoseLee Goldberg, Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present, Thames & Hudson (Third Edition), 2011.
ISBN: 9780500204047 (Retail price: $21.95)

RoseLee Goldberg, Performance Now: Live Art for the Twenty-First Century , Thames & Hudson, 2018

Nato Thompson, Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 , the MIT Press, 2012.
ISBN: 9780262017343 (Retail price: $39.95)

Pietro Gaglianò, Memento: The Obsession with the Visible, Postmedia Books, Milano, 2016.
ISBN: 9788874901470 (Retail price: €19.00)


Week 1 (September 9-11)
Presentation of the course: goals, methods and strategy, rules and behavior policy, terms and deadlines.
Self-presentation (instructor and students).
What is an installation piece and what is a performance piece? Why have a course joining these two kinds of artistic expressions?
The main topics of the course: war and peace; the role of the artist in contemporary society; art, public art, engagement, politics and aesthetics.
Home assignment and exercise in class about visible and invisible conflicts.
Introduction to the project for the first deadline (installation piece).

Week 2 (September 16-18)
Individual and group exercises about the individual and collective perception of time.
Theory: The birth of installation and performance in the 20th century.
The artistic strategy: discussion about motivation.

Week 3 (September 23-25)
Exercise in class: the “home project.”
The artistic strategy: Space.
Question time and report on the personal projects.
Artist talk (to be scheduled).

Week 4 (September 30- October 2)
Work on personal projects.
Field trip: Visit exhibitions in Florence.

Week 5 (October 7-9)
Theory: Vision of Italian and international community-based projects.
The artistic strategy: Time.
Home assignment.

Week 6 (October 14-16)
Time to work on midterm projects.

Week 7 (October 21-23)
Exercise in class: "The story" - how to tell / how to listen.
The artistic strategy: The audience / society.
Performance theory (I)

Week 8 - MIDTERM BREAK (October 26 - November 3)

Week 9 (November 4-6)
Exercise in class: concerted action.
Home assignment about “time.”
The artistic strategy: the body.
Home assignment about meaningful gestures.
Exercise outside: Urban drift.

Week 10 (November 11-13)
Performance theory (II).
Work on the personal projects.

Week 11 (November 18-20)
Introduction to the project for the final project (installation piece / performance piece).
Artist talk (to be scheduled).
Question time and report on the personal projects.

Week 12 (November 25-27)
Exercise in class: To do something you hate (the value of the opposition).
The artistic strategy: fade in and fade out.
Theory: about the critics.
Question time and report on the personal projects.

Week 13 (December 2-4)
Exercise in class: to be someone else / portraying.
Home assignment: failure.
The artistic strategy: the process / the output.

Week 14 (December 9-11)
Work on the final projects.

Week 15 (December 16-18)
Discussion about the final.

General Safety & Emergency Instructions

Click here for a pdf of SACI's General Safety & Emergency Instructions.

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