What is the Observatory on Imaginary?


This area examines artistic languages and imagination as tools for understanding the contemporary world. The ideas, emotions and experiences engendered by artistic practices nurture the potential for active participation by citizens, legitimizing – through beauty and its deformation- forms of creative protest that shake up public debate with signs and visions intended to broaden the communality of citizenship. The aesthetic dimension operates as a solid base for rethinking society’s structures; through a sensitive lens it exposes modern-day processes, its limits and fragilities alongside the democratic potential of expressive freedom.

Network (main players)


Teatro alla Scala; Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Milano; Triennale Teatro dell’Arte; Fondazione Nazionale della danza – Aterballetto; FAIR-E/ CCN de Rennes et de Bretagne; Sicilia Queer filmfest; Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati; CSS Teatro Stabile di Innovazione del Friuli Venezia Giulia; Institut Francais.

Some of the participants:


Virgilio Sieni, choreographer

Irene Serini, actor

Cyop e Kaf, visual artist

Marta Puig, pianist

Annagaia Marchioro, actor

Shaymaa Shoukry, dancer

Noura Tafeche, artist

Fabrizio Bellomo, director

Joseph Kosuth, artist

Davide Livermore, director

Teho Teardo, musician and composer

Lee Ranaldo, musician

Orazio Sciortino, composer

Linda Hayford, dancer

Chris Watson, musician and composer

Carlos Casas, visual artist

Antonio Raia, musician

Teresa Noronha Feio, actor

Marzia Gambardella, actor

Kool Koor, street artist

The Observatory’s principal activities


Welcome to Socotra

A summer festival of dance, music, theatre and satire: performances, new productions, national previews and artist-led workshops for non-professionals, films from all over the world. What kind of world do we want to live in? Through the arts we can widen the meaning of citizenship by making room for an ‘us’ that dreams and plans relationships, connections, affiliations. Different voices and expressive languages for stimulating aspirations and projects, breaking through the past months’ withdrawal. (2021)


Atlas of the Imaginary

A project for cultural innovation among Italian territories, listening to the most innovative creative expressions, to promote co-planning and foster original artistic proposals. A journey born from the encounter between the sensitivities and urgencies of the territories, Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli’s archival sources and a network of artistic communities in the cities of Milan, Genoa, Naples and Taranto, A co-planning process – with the support of Fondazione Cariplo – culminating in three new artistic productions, staged in Milan as part of the Welcome to Socotra Festival (2020/2021)


Voices&Borders. Unlock Imagination

A festival of performing arts exploring different languages: music, dance, theatre, audiovisual art and poetry. The fourth edition, in 2020, from lockdown to freeing the imaginary: a symbiotic journey with the city, where performances are amplified and spread in open spaces, transforming buildings into sounding boards. Each workshop concludes with a short moment shared with the public, taking the experience from inside the Foundation into the open, in an attempt to mend the relational rifts caused by this emergency. (2020)


L’orgoglio di essere fragili

A series of meetings to discover the fragilities that make us human, acknowledging them as a means of personal rediscovery and improved wellbeing. Philosophers, writers and mayors, assisted by those working in the field, will accompany us through the many ambivalences that characterize our emotional landscape and make us human. An examination of the fragilities linked to the psychological effects of the pandemic, to the fraying of social ties and the progressive erosion of certainties that has produced both private anguish and collective trauma. (2020, 2021)


Cammino popolare and Lessons on gesture

On the occasion of May Day 2017, a choreographic happening together with citizens, young people and students, people of all ages, backgrounds and skills, with the dancer and choreographer Virgilio Sieni. Following this event, Virgilio Sieni created a cycle of Lessons on gesture, on the importance and beauty of movement that becomes dance, curated and directed by the choreographer. The meetings, portrayed from life, were subsequently published as Dizionario Minimo del Gesto. (2017-2019)


Notes on History

A dialogue between the directors of the new productions scheduled at Teatro alla Scala di Milano alongside historians of the modern and contemporary era. A series of meetings culminating in a live broadcast by Prima Diffusa every December 7. With, among others, Damiano Michieletto, Davide Livermore, Michele Mariotti. (2018, 2019, 2020)


Musica dissidente

The collaboration between Fondazione Feltrinelli and the Teatro alla Scala celebrates its fourth consecutive year: following three years of sessions dedicated to Music and History, music takes the stage with a new cycle of three live concerts, directed by pianist and composer Orazio Sciortino. (2021)