During a press conference in Rome on November 27, Manifesta 12 Creative Mediators Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli from OMA, Andrés Jaque from the namesake architectural studio, Mirjam Varadinis, curator for Kunsthaus Zürich, and the Director and Founder of Manifesta Hedwig Fijen, unveiled the concept for the upcoming Manifesta 12 biennial in Palermo.

The concept was announced with introductions by the Italian Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Dario Franceschini, the Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, and Palermo’s Councilor of Culture Andrea Cusumano.

“Today biennials should be more than the sum of a series of exhibitions. The added value of Manifesta 12 is the fact that the biennial programme takes place in 2018 in the Sicilian city of Palermo, where important geopolitical, social and ecological realities of our times are arising. For Manifesta 12, Palermo constitutes the deep complexities that people worldwide are facing. We hope that Manifesta 12 creates new perspectives in terms of staging the immaterial and material legacy for the future of the city.” Director and Founder of Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen

Opening on 16 June 2018 until 4 November 2018 Manifesta 12  is the latest installment of the world’s only nomadic biennial of contemporary art and culture. Throughout its 11 editions, Manifesta has always been politically and socially engaged, beyond producing an experimental and emerging art experience. From Ljubljana in 2000, Trentino and South Tyrol in 2008 and Saint-Petersburg in 2014 to Manifesta 12 Palermo in 2018 and Manifesta 13 Marseille in 2020, Manifesta has consistently chosen unexpected host locations that reflect the changing DNA of Europe and shed new light on its key issues and transformations.

Palermo is an excellent host city in this context, allowing Manifesta 12 to continue its story of decoding Europe. On the one hand, Manifesta 12 will investigate contemporary challenges from Palermo’s perspective as the Mediterranean hub. On the other, it will attempt to mobilise the existing energy of the city through intensive education programmes, Manifesta’s international network and long-term projects that will kick-off during the biennial but, hopefully, create a sustainable impact after Manifesta.

Titled The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence, the concept explores coexistence in a world moved by invisible networks, transnational private interests, algorithmic intelligence and ever-increasing inequalities through the unique lens of Palermo – a crossroads of three continents in the heart of the Mediterranean. Closely collaborating with Palermitan partners, Manifesta 12 will co-inhabit Palermo as a laboratory to investigate the challenges of our time and look for traces of possible futures. The Planetary Garden. Cultivating Coexistence will host four main sections, each touching on key topics of the concept: Garden of Flows, Out of Control Room, City on Stage and Teatro Garibaldi, as the main center of Manifesta 12.

The concept of Manifesta 12 was extracted from the Palermo Atlas, an investigation by OMA into the social, cultural and geographical textures of the city, intended as a source for audiences to understand contemporary transformations through the eyes of Palermo. It is the first time that Manifesta kicked-off with a research by an architecture office.

“Palermo Atlas is a study of the past and present city, a collection of patterns, perceptions, stories and testimonies gathered on the ground and supported by data. On the one hand, the Atlas uses the city of Palermo as a point of departure to tell the story of the Mediterranean and Europe at large; on the other it is a reflection on characteristics that are specific to Palermo.” Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Creative Mediator and Partner at OMA

Inaugurated in July 2017, one year ahead of the biennial’s opening, Teatro Garibaldi is the Main Meeting Point, HQ & Public Programme Venue.  Along with Teatro Garibaldi, the nearby Piazza Magione will provide an extension of the activities launched by the theatre during summer months and will be used as an open- air stage for community-based projects, summer cinema and artistic intervention in public space.

Teatro Garibaldi Palermo| Photo CAVE Studio – Copyright Manifesta

In addition to Teatro Garibaldi and Piazza Magione, the nearby 17th century church of Saint Euno and Giuliano will also feature the programme of Manifesta 12. The church was partially destroyed during World War 2 and recently restored by the City of Palermo. The magnificent Palazzo Butera of Palermo, located in the historical Kalsa district, is the first palazzo to be released as the venue of Manifesta 12. The details of the biennial programme featured in the palace will be revealed at a later stage.

Piazza Magione Palermo | Photo CAVE Studio – Copyright Manifesta

Aside from the released venues in the Kalsa district, Manifesta 12 will launch projects outside the historical center, including the north, such as ZEN (Zone Espansione Nord) and south of Palermo. The details of the projects and further locations will be released as the development of Manifesta 12 progresses.


For more information about Manifesta 12, see: https://manifesta.org/biennials/manifesta-12/

Manifesta 12 Palermo Dates 16.06.18 – 04.11.18
Local & international TV previews on 14.06.18
International press, professional and VIP previews on 15.06 – 16.06.18
Public opening on the evening of 16.06.18

Manifesta 12 Digital:
Facebook: manifestabiennial
Instagram: manifestabiennial
Twitter: manifestadotorg