Dl 13 al 16 novembre 2019 a Palermo si tiene il workshop Proximity Factor promosso da IN Residence, strutturato come importante contributo didattico-formativo e di ricerca teorica nel contesto del programma di Human Flows, organizzato da PUSH, e vede come protagonisti nel ruolo di tutor due giovani e talentuosi designer internazionali: lo spagnolo Guillermo Santomà e la belga Nel Verbeke.

Durante i quattro giorni di svolgimento del laboratorio creativo i tutor, i curatori e i partecipanti sono chiamati a esplorare la città di Palermo con l’obiettivo di elaborare alcune riflessioni progettuali che possano dare risposta ai quesiti impliciti nel tema di ricerca.

Il workshop, dal titolo PROXIMITY FACTOR, si svolgerà nel prestigioso contesto della GAM ‒ Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Palermo, nel complesso monumentale di Sant’Anna alla Misericordia, in un luogo emblematico per le dinamiche sociali e culturali della città, dove si incontrano e confrontano le diverse culture che contribuiscono a rendere Palermo una grande città autenticamente multietnica.

In questa occasione, ABADIR ha rilasciato delle borse di studio per la partecipazione al workshop per gli studenti del Corso Triennale in Design e Comunicazione Visiva: Bruno Bonnici, Laura Castronovo, Miriana Cesareo, Giulia Chiusa, Vincenzo Costa, Gabriele D’Amico, Giuseppe Franceschino, Rosaria Fresta, Laura Pizzo, Simona Spadoni.

Sabato 16 novembre è previsto un evento pubblico di restituzione dei risultati della ricerca, e le lecture dei due curatori e dei due tutor, protagonisti di questa edizione del workshop.


In social contexts that favor – or, from a radically different point of view, they suffer – the possibility of encounter between human beings, the conditions are created for their potential relationship and possible interaction. These encounters, which often result in not preordained of the innumerable, unstoppable “human flows” that pass through the territories of the urban context – the city: a privileged scenario of encounter – expose subjects involved to a relationship of reciprocal influence that can take decidedly variable gradients of intensity.

The encounters – or the collisions – between individuals, like a chemical reaction between distinct elements, give rise to infinite results, presenting themselves as opportunities for intersection that open to possible processes of confrontation, exchange and transformation.

The anthropologist Edward T. Hall, founding the discipline of “proxemics”, understood as a subject dedicated to the study of the use that individuals make of social and personal space, defines the types of interpersonal relationship distances in increasing measures – intimate , personal, social and public – and open to the concept of a “proximity” condition, useful for explaining the development of a particular “privileged” category of relationships between individuals.

If the “proximity factor” extends to incorporate the relationship between individuals and places they inhabit, including material presences – characterized as objects – that populate them too, the picture of potential socio-cultural alterations, triggered by moving human flows, takes on a dimension that deserves to be explored.

In such a context, by what actions, processes, devices or artifacts can we imagine encouraging the emergence of positive proximity relationships? Using the tool of design, which mutations in the dynamics of relationship between individuals can we propose, force or facilitate?


Guillermo Santomà
Guillermo Santomà is an artist based in Barcelona. In a few words, he could be described as being interested in how a space is affected by the production of elements vaguely similar to furniture as well as by chromatic interventions. It seems that the force that motivates his interest in the architecture is driven by the question: how does the social space of a reactionary mind look? The question is a sensitive one because we tend to ascribe the practice of art to liberal values, even though there are plenty of historical examples of artists who by no means share such principles. Yet Santomà adds another twist: the artist is not only interested in how politics shapes character and how character shapes taste, but also how, then, taste shapes the body. Do ultra-conservatives sit in chairs similar to the liberals?

Nel Verbeke
Nel Verbeke (Belgium, 1989) lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.
With a background in visual art and a specialization in design and design research, Nel Verbeke is primarily a concept designer. Balancing between arts and design, her vocation will always be the emotional potential of shape and space. Fascinated by conceptual thinking, she shies away from the obvious focus.

IN Residence is a non-profit cultural association whose main objective is the planning, organization and implementation of projects to promote contemporary design culture. IN Residence is essentially a research project on the production of knowledge and the recognition of creative aptitude through the practice of talent scouting.
IN Residence sets out to offer an opportunity to the young interpreters of creativity of today and tomorrow, but also to contribute to produce refined thinking, intangible assets of priceless value that we have an obligation to cultivate and protect for the benefit of our community.


13-16 novembre 2019
GAM Palermo
IN Residence
Human Flows
Guillermo Santomà
Nel Verbeke