European Spectators Day 2021

PUNCTUM – Exercises for an embedded look

On 20 November 2021, there will occur the seventh edition of the European Spectators Day, a digital and community-based event that every year involves and connects the local groups of active spectators participating in the co-programming activities developed in the framework of Be SpectACTive!.

This year the artist selected for developing the event is Salvo Lombardo, Italian performer, choreographer and director.


PUNCTUM is an experience proposed by the artist Salvo Lombardo and it is aimed to broaden the possible questions on the role of the spectator and on the role of the gaze observing an artwork: why does my gaze on an artwork involve me? Why does it excite me? How do I interact with that work and how does it interact with me? How does that work “re-look” at me?

In his beautiful essay on photography entitled “La camera chiara”, Roland Barthes investigates the very essence of the artwork (using the photography in this specific case), trying to go beyond the ideas of illustration and representation. In this Barthes’ reflection, the subject who observes a photo (spectator) animates the photo, and in the same way the photo animates the spectator: this happens through a PUNCTUM.

Therefore the PUNCTUM is a very particular detail that escapes the general gaze and that “stings” me. It leaves me a wound or runs through me. It is a detail, even a minimal one, that activates my system of memories, of analogies, of associations, of perceptions and that stimulates the subjectivity of my gaze until it becomes a kind of “re-action”. The same also happens when I find myself in front of a live artwork: a performance, for example.

Salvo Lombardo proposes an experience with the aim of activating a form of “embedded look” starting from the concept of PUNCTUM.

Three the steps of the project:

1.Watching the same show and identify the personal Punctum.

Each group of involved spectators chooses a performative work taking place in their city, in order to go and watch the show together. Each spectator of the group is going to find her/his own personal PUNCTUM.

Each spectator is invited to privately reflect and produce a personal content (for example, an image or a text) that relates the observed artwork to their way of perceiving it. They can move between personal references, associations of ideas, intimate memories, public memories, other cultural and artistic references freely associated. To activate this quality of the gaze, they can draw inspiration from the exercise kit provided by Salvo Lombardo, using it as a starting point.

The materials produced will create a digital archive through a website conceived specifically for this project. 

2.The public website to collect the materials by the spectators

In the weeks preceding the final meeting Salvo Lombardo will create a public website in which he will upload an archive made up of materials collected by the spectators.

3.20 November 2021: The European Spectators Day (5 pm Western Europe, 6 pm Central Europe, 7 pm Eastern Europe)

Each group will meet live in their project partner’s venue and online, on zoom, for discussing together, starting from the idea of the gaze and the punctum.

The event will be live on Facebook, follow it!

Salvo Lombardo – performer, choreographer and director. He is the founder and artistic director of the Chiasma Company_Rome. His own art research moves between dance, theater, visual art while focusing on the languages of digital and relational art. His works have been programmed in many theaters and festivals across Italy and abroad. His works have been mainly supported by Festival Oriente Occidente, Theatre National de Chaillot (FR), Fabbrica Europa, Romaeuropa Festival, Aura International Dance Festival (LT), Attakkalari Dance Festival (IN), Scenario pubblico, Ater Balletto, Short Theater, Teatro di Roma, Anghiari Dance Hub, InTeatro Festival, Teatri di Vetro, Attraversamenti Multipli, Festival Corpi in Movimento, Versiliadanza, Piemonte dal vivo and many others institutions. In 2019 he founded and co-curated with Viviana Gravano and Giulia Grechi Resurface_festival di sguardi post coloniali in Rome. In 2020 he works as associated artist and guest curator at the Lavanderia a Vapore \ Piemonte dal vivo, (Turin).