“Ozio” at Teatro Ditirammu, Palermo

Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan, Citrus Tristeza, film still (detail)
Courtesy the artists


Ozio is a project curated by Adina Drinceanu taking place in various locations in Palermo from June 11th to July 11th, around the venue of Teatro Ditirammu, hosting performances, events and screenings.

The Italian term ozio has multiple meanings. It is associated with idleness, leisure, sloth, contemplation, inactivity, indolence, inertia, fatigue, either triggered by nature, or by desire or constriction. Historically, ozio is a bipolar concept. This lexeme and its derivatives reflects a long tradition of philosophical, religious and literary engagements, where ozio is used ambivalently, both with commendable and with derogatory connotations.

Featuring specially commissioned films, installations and performances by Bucharest based artists Anca Benera and Arnold  Estefan, Sicilian artist Concetta Modica, a soundscape and performances by Jamaican-American poet Ishion Hutchinson, with a particular contribution by New York based artist Sanford Biggers, the concept of the show relies on the ambiguity of the term ozio, further enhanced by Palermo’s social, political and historical declinations. The show, curated by Adina Drinceanu, is set and developed within the unique theatrical context of Teatro Ditirammu, which, with its impressive archive of songs, poems, dance rituals and proverbs, spanning over centuries, is committed to the preservation and dissemination of Palermitan and Sicilian’s oral history. The exhibition will also feature a theatrical performance titled OzioLapa, written and directed by Elisa Parrinello, and developed by Teatro Ditirammu.

Benera and Estefan approach ozio as a temporal multi-­layered ecosystem, in which neglect, decay, ruination and abandonment are perceived as normality, as a state of mind. Their project, Citrus Tristeza, investigates the conjuncture of natural and social histories in the present debris(f)era, a term coined by the artists to designate a yet unnamed stratum of the Earth’s crust, a supra-stratum of the Lithosphere. Debrisphere investigates the worldwide man-made landscapes: rubble mountains, “blooming deserts”, military coral reefs, and other similar constructions around the world resulting from, or still serving, conflict and war. The title, Citrus Tristeza refers to Citrus Tristeza virus, the virus of sadness, a disease that affects Sicilian citrus trees, based on inequality in growth. More specifically, the excessive growth of just a part of the tree finally leads to the death of the tree itself.

Encompassing performance, film and installation, the work draws attention to the fragmented inequitable supply chains in the citrus trade made up of numerous steps, rarely transparent, where the exploited agricultural worker, more often stateless North African and Eastern European migrants, and the large-­‐scale distribution and organized crime all live together.

Meanwhile, for Ishion Hutchinsonozio is a specific island time, shaped by sun and earth and slowed down by the vastness of the sea, until it becomes almost still. It embraces a simultaneity of histories and present time. For him, Sicily and Jamaica, despite their different histories, have a kinship, an islandness. He presents Abeng, an oeuvre in three acts based on sound. Titled after one of his poems from the Far Districted collection published in

2010, it refers to the sound made by abeng, a cow horn, blown by Maroons, the indigenous Tainos and enslaved Africans brought to the Jamaica by the Spanish, to communicate coded information during the Maroons war for freedom. In this work, he interprets ozio as form of protest against power and the manufactured time of the masters, resonating with writings of Sicilian authors such as Federico de Roberto, Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, Vitaliano Brancati and Leonardo Sciascia. The first act consists in a soundscape, which goes by the same name, installed in the theatre museum space, while the second is a poetry performance titled Mariner’s Progress. The final act, The Singing Court of Dread, is a sound and music performance, which seeks to engage directly with the audience and to activate it. Incorporating elements of Sanford Biggers’ multi-­disciplinary art practice, which also include antique American patchwork quilts made originally by slaves; “fabric sampled, chopped & screwed & Dubbed for trans dimensional sonic travel;” this last act wants to draw a line between, the temporality of ozio, Dub rhythm, making poetry, making signs and theatrical performance.

For the Sicilian artist Concetta Modica, ozio is a temporal extension triggered by boredom and endless repetition, which she enacts in order to bond fragile histories with desynchronized present perceptions. Through this lens, she examines concepts such as conflict, love and military heroism. Using methods of theatre practice, performative objects and music composition, in her piece Going Back, she appropriates and dismantles epic deeds of Orlando, the heroic paladin from Palermo’s traditional marionettes theatrical performance, called pupi, with unpredictable outcomes.

By focusing on time-based works, the show explores in what way ozio could be used as a multi-­layered temporal tactic that creates stable unions across large stretches of time, which might result in new concepts of politics, culture, subjectivity, and nature.


Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan, Citrus Tristeza, film still
Courtesy the artists


Concetta Modica, Going Back, Sculpture installation
Courtesy the artist


Sanford Biggers, Ooo Oui, 2017
Courtesy the artist


Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan, Ishion Hutchinson, Concetta Modica,
with a contribution by Sanford Biggers

Curated by Adina Drinceanu
11 June – 11 July 2018

Teatro Ditirammu, Kalsa | Via Torremuzza 6, Palermo