Expedition Symposium Info
The Symposium event was held on the evening of Friday November 8th at the Siena Art Institute with a a welcome reception and project introduction by Mark Dion and Amy Yoes. The Siena Art Institute students also be opened their studios to attendees. Saturday November 9th was a day of discussion hosted at Castello di Ama. On Sunday November 10th, attendees were invited to participate in visits to the project work sites guided by Dion and Yoes.
Symposium Event Statement:
The symposium marks a halfway point in Above/Below Ground, a project by Amy Yoes and Mark Dion for the Siena Art Institute’s fall semester. For their project, Dion and Yoes will explore Siena through the medium of drawing. Taking as its departure point the idea of two worlds mirrored yet different -- above and below ground -- they will connect and map the results of their research into the cultural and geological specificity of the city. The activities of research, art making, and exploration form the structure of their project, in which they will work closely with the students at the Siena Art Institute, contributing to the centuries-old discourse about Siena and its environs.
The symposium will use the notion of the expedition as a framework for discussing the human impulse to explore the unknown, and the role of creativity in knowledge-seeking. A group of speakers including artists, scientists, writers, and scholars -- Nina Burleigh, Michael Höepfner, Mark Dion, Luigi Folco, Rob Shorrock, and Amy Yoes -- will present short talks on the subject as it relates to their work. Cesare Pietroiusti will moderate the discussion.
Expeditions usually call to mind travels to remote and exotic places. However, a shared experience of practicing artists visiting a collection, a curious garden, or an archive, can be as much of a generative experience as scientific quests, military campaigns, and voyages represented in myth.
The discussion will also address an aspect of the expedition as it relates to military and colonial activities. Teasing out the progressive and positive threads of the world of adventure and discovery from the tangle of pernicious connotations will be one of the points of discussion.
Siena is celebrated for its historical significance and beauty. The search for knowledge has long been a part of Siena's identity, with the University of Siena being at the heart of the city's timeline since the year 1240. As one of its newest institutions, the Siena Art Institute is now part of that continuum. By highlighting the interplay between different disciplines, the Expedition Symposium reveals the vital links between them.