Abstract. A fresco in the church of San Petronio in Bologna, dated 1410, depicts Satan in a fashion quite common to the imaginary of Middle Ages. The Devil is a gigantic beast devouring human souls and, at the same time, giving them birth again through a second “mouth” between his legs, in a circular damnation and movement of digestion that reminds of the uncanny symmetry of the Roman god Janus. In fact, this image of Satan absorbes what the Catholic power wanted to condemn and politically control: not just the pagan background of Europe, but specifically the rural and aboriginal faith in the circularity of nature and the self-regeneration of the whole countryside (that is of the means of production themselves). The idea of the eternal return of life, with no divine intervention, no Genesis and no Apocalypse, the alchemic and very gastronomic cycle of ingestion, digestion and regeneration, had to be excommunicated and eventually attached to the pansexual body of a cannibalistic Satan.
— 600 years later, Mondriaan’s paintings brought unconsciously to the canvas the polder landscape of the Netherlands in which he grew up, probably the most human-made landscape of the world, where each square meter of soil has been conquered from Water and then squared and transformed in arable and productive land. Mondrian’s compositions absorb the modernism of Dutch culture, where there comes no longer a distinction between nature and artifice, the fields and the city, where nature is no longer dreadful nor an arcane force, and eventually incarnates the power of a crystal clear abstraction.
— The Manifesto of Urban Cannibalism is a celebration of the “big stomach outside us”. Following the traces of the smell of the centuries, it crosses the inorganic life sedimenting the fabric of our cities as well as the hungry social metabolism of human history, until it encounters today the very interior and urban nemesis of late capitalism.
Participants: Monika Bakke, Paul Chaney (Field Club), Leszek Golec and Tatiana Czekalska, Tue Greenfort, Marta Madejska, Will Foster and Alex Head (Wasteland Twinning), Baz Kershaw, Lissette Olivares and Cheto Castellano, Matteo Pasquinelli (Urbanibalism), Nicola Triscott (Art Catalyst).