ARTS(IP)401 Installation & Performance Art, Pietro Gaglianò, Spring 2020 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS(IP)401 Installation & Performance Art, Pietro Gaglianò, Spring 2020

The Golden Age

What is the Golden Age? Does it lay in the past or is it still to come? Or it is now—the one we are immersed in now (unaware of this tremendous luck)? And is Golden Age an individual perception or a collective condition?

Students will investigate personal, collective, historical, social, aesthetic, and ethical issues connected to the many possible declinations of the pursuit or of the memory of the Golden Age.

A main deadline (at midterm) and many smaller home assignments are scheduled among many other exercises to be executed in class. The final deadline will take place the second 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 phones 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 need a different way of thinking (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 21st Century, Thames & Hudson, 2018.
ISBN: 9780500021255 (Retail price: $45.00)

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 (January 13 - 15)
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 (January 20 - 21)
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 (January 27 - 29)
Exercise in class: the “home project.”
The artistic strategy: the space.
Question time and report on the personal projects.
Artist talk (to be scheduled).

Week 4 (February 3 - 5)
Work on personal projects.
Field trip: Visit exhibitions in Florence.

Week 5 (February 10 - 12)
Theory: Vision of Italian and international community-based projects.
The artistic strategy: Time.
Home assignment.

Week 6 (February 17 - 19)
Time to work on midterm projects.

Week 7 (February 24 - 26)
Exercise in class: "The story" - how to tell / how to listen.
The artistic strategy: The audience / society.
Performance theory (I)

Week 8 - MIDTERM BREAK (February 29 - March 8)

Week 9 (March 9 – 11)
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 (March 16 - 18)
Performance theory (II).
Work on the personal projects.

Week 11 (March 23 - 25)
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 (March 30 - April 1)
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 (April 6 - 8)
Exercise in class: to be someone else / portraying.
Home assignment: failure
The artistic strategy: the process / the output.

Week 14 (April 15)
(April 13 - no class on Easter Monday. There will be a make-up class during Week 15)
Work on the final projects.

Week 15 (April 20 - 22)
Final (make-up class).
Discussion about the final.

General Safety & Emergency Instructions

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

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