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Convento São Francisco de Mértola

Multifida Foundation



Organized by Multifida Foundation with the support of Mértola's Archaeological Survey and the Municipality of Mértola, the opening event of the Multifida Foundation at the Convento on the 6th and 7th of October 2017 is dedicated to augmenting the creative sensibility towards biodiversity and its applications in ecology. The main focus of this event is the presentation of original and individual ways to combine Arts, Technologies and Knowledge related to the alchemy of senses, together with ecological innovation. This comingtogether provides a space for artist and scientist alike to share competences and knowledge about this issue in the form of talks, performances and exhibitions over these two days. The environment of the Convento Sao Francisco de Mértola, especially given its gardens and the medieval town of Mértola as a back-drop, will be the guiding focus during the meeting. The excursion on the second day to the Villa of Mértola will be organized in reference to this area's past Mediterranean heritage and the cosmopolitanism of this town in the past.

Based in Portugal (Mértola) and in Holland (Amsterdam), the Multifida Foundation promotes experimental and collaborative research by artists, scientists and teachers from around the world, research which inspires and generates innovation in terms of human and environmental interactions. By choosing as a symbol the multifida lavender, whose leaves are multi divided and whose range of dissemination covers both North Africa and southern Europe, the Multifida Foundation aims to gather academic and culturally diverse experiences which share a common sensibility towards ecology.

Honored guests:

Bernie Krause is an American researcher, musician and soundscape ecologist. In 1968, he founded Wild Sanctuary, an organization dedicated to the recording and archiving of natural soundscapes.The principal thrust of his work revolves around distinguishing between three concepts of the world’s sounds: geophony, biophony and anthropophony. He has produced a vast discography together with many books and scientific publications. Recently, he held an exhibition at the Foundation Cartier in Paris. He will share with us his amazing experiences concerning sensibility towards nature and ways to use technologies to amplify awareness of this sensibility.

Cláudio Torres is archeologist and director of the Mértola Archeological Survey. Mértola is an impressive open air museum of ancient Mediterranean culture, a monumental town unveiled by Torres who is noted for the remarkable research which has brought to light the importance of this town during the Islamic occupation of Iberia. He was the recipient of “Prémio Pessoa” (1991) and of "Prémio Rómulo de Carvalho" (2001). He represents Portugal on UNESCO’s Committee for World Heritage. Among many other titles, he is the author of Portugal Islâmico – os últimos sinais do Mediterrâneo, Lisboa, 1998.

Aissa Derhem is the Director of the Foundation Si Ahmed Derhem which promotes local culture within the communities of Southwestern Morocco and creates sustainable initiatives through the integration and use of scientific ingenuity, based on deep knowledge of biodiversity. Aissa is Professor of mathematics, an accomplished poet and a scholar of Berber culture. He will come to explain to us how to use moisture-catching technologies to increase the efficiency of an ancient Berber management system of environmental resources, entitled agdal.

Abbas Benaissa (associate of Aissa Derhem) is a specialist in Agro and Phyto-Engineering.

Ahmed Aarab is Professor of the History of Sciences at the University of Tanger (Morocco). He is a specialist in Medieval Arabic Zoology and bio-artistic innovation in the Muslim world. He has written a reference book about the work of Al Jahiz, an Arabic Zoologist of 10th century CE. He will discuss knowledge exchange in Andalusia about Zoology and Botany and also about animal-related sensibility in Medieval Islamic science and art.

Eugénie Denarnaud is a Doctoral graduate at the School of Landscape at Versailles. She is a landscape architect and a specialist in Mediterranean informal gardens. Currently, she is preparing a thesis on the “Pirate’s Gardens” of the town of Tanger, a series of creative gardens built through individual initiative and featuring a selection of plants. She will share with us the first results of her research.

Gilbert Curtessi is an environmental geographer and Ph.D candidate in Industrial Ecology. He is director of SUGU Holland, an inspiration platform for future growth that makes it practical and feasible to accelerate positive defiance. SUGU uses advanced manufacturing in order to produce environmentally friendly designs and make technological products from bio-based raw materials. He will share with us his experiences and conviction that we should celebrate natural diversity in all its abundance and transfer it seamlessly into our technology systems.

Fernando Varanda is an architect and urban planner. Graduated from the Lisbon School of Fine Arts, received his master's degree in urban and regional planning from New York University and was awarded a PhD. in human geography from Durham University. He is was a professor at the Universidade Lusófona in Lisbon until 2014. Since 1973, he has undertaken extensive research on built spaces in Yemen, published in both monographs and specialized publications, notably The Art of building in Yemen; he has also undertaken research into the built environments of Portugal, and published Mértola no Alengarve in 2002.

Aline Gheysens is a Belgian photographer and landscape architect. She is a specialist in art biographical gardens, gardens which are animated by the art production of the owner. Her work is based on research into the genealogical link between garden structure and the art production which took place in it. She also worked on Moroccan landscape-perception projects. She will share with us her latest work.

The event will be hosted by the founder members of the Foundation:

Christiaan Zwanikken, artist, researcher and initiator of the Convento Artist & Scientist-In-Residence program.

Romain Simenel, anthropologist, ethnologist and ethnobotanist.

Geraldine Zwanikken, former classical dancer, artist, botanical specialist and founder of the contemporary Convento.

Willlemijn de Jongh, art historian, teacher in biodynamic agriculture and essential oils professional.

Sónia Machado, financial lawyer and advisor on environmental legislation.

Program of the Multifida Foundation Inauguration

October 6th, day one at the Convento Sao Francisco
Theme « Agdal gardens and the alchemy of senses »
10:00 - Introduction and presentation of the Foundation
11:00 – Scientific and artistic promenade in the Agdal garden of Convento
13:30 – Lunch
15:30 – Lectures and Talks
20:30 – Dinner (for honored guests and participants)

October 7th, day two, excursion to Mértola and conclusion at Convento
Theme « Past Mediterranean Cosmopolitanism of Mértola »
10:00 – Excursion to the Villa of Mértola (monuments, museums, archeological sites)
13:00 – Lunch
15:00 – Lectures and Talks
20:00 – Dinner (for honored guests and participants)

During the event artworks by Christiaan Zwanikken will be exhibited in and around the Convento, also his most recent interactive and synaesthetic installation 'Nose Patrol', that integrates movement, sound and natural fragrances will be on display.

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