Transcultural Urban Re-Imaginings: Ephemeral and Participatory Art Interventions in the Macrolotto Zero Neighborhood
The city of Prato is arguably one of the most widely studied multicultural urban con-texts in Italy and more generally in Europe. Yet, in the analysis of the dynamics that enable this conceptualization of the city as a space of cultural complexity little atten-tion has been paid to the way in which localized processes of transculturation have, ... since the early 1980s, changed both the visual landscape of Prato, and the way in which it is imagined and understood by the different people that call it home. This paper focuses on Macrolotto Zero, one of the city s most multicultural neighborhoods particularly marked by decades of Chinese diasporic movements. It explores how pro-cesses of exchange/conflict between local and migrant residents, artistic collectives, activists and policy-makers have profoundly changed the way in which the neighbor-hood is imagined and conceptualized at a local, national and transnational level. Draw-ing from fieldwork, interviews with local artists and historical research on the neigh-borhood s visual and aural changes, this paper argues that this historical industrial area of Prato has been undergoing an extensive process of re-imagining. This process has been driven by bottom-up participatory art interventions and by residents which have repositioned the neighborhood as a creative and innovative space of experimentation that testifies to intricate cross-cultural entanglements.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 10 (2020)