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Words by Anna Maria Pecci

Performing heritage: Boris Charmatz [terrain] at the Museo delle Civiltà

Along the pathway leading to a multispecies museum, the Museo delle Civiltà has recently undertaken a progressive musealization of the litho-mineralogy and historical collections of the Geological Survey of Italy, on multiannual free loan from the ISPRA (Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research). The exhibition The ISPRA geo-paleontology and litho-mineralogy collections. Animals, Plants, Rocks and Minerals > Steps to a Multispecies Museum (Collezioni ISPRA - Museo delle Civiltà (, which opened on 14th December 2022, is the first chapter in this process.

Conceived as a taxonomy and an introduction to the history and research methods, the exhibition launches a historical and critical review of these collections, which are interpreted

 «as a possible premise of a multi-species anthropological museum, i.e. one that documents the forms of co-existence between animal, mineral, and vegetable species to contribute to a resetting of our relationship with the ecosystem in which human beings may coexist with other species» (source: Press release)

On the occasion of the opening, a performative evening took place with Boris Charmatz [terrain]’s Extracts from “20 Dancers for the XX Century and even more”.

Néstor García Díaz, Julie Anne Stanzak and Boglárka Börcsök. Warm up. Museo delle Civiltà © Margherita Villani

Boris Charmatz’s famous piece was performed in Rome for the first time, in a rearranged version for the spaces of the Museum. The performance represents a living archive of dance, mixing styles and genres from the last century to the present day. In Boris Charmatz own words, «each performer presents their own museum; the body is the ultimate space for a dance museum. More than heritage, this project is about a kind of archaeology; it seeks to extract gestures from the past, gestures that are restored, reinterpreted by the dancers in the present. It is research, an investigation, a museological approach of a new kind».

Benjamin Pech. Museo delle Civiltà © Beatrice Vincenti
Boglárka Börcsök. Warm up. Museo delle Civiltà © Beatrice Vincenti

In the Museo delle Civiltà five dancers appropriated and reinterpreted famous, acclaimed or forgotten solos by modern or post-modern artists. Their personal “archives” were shared with the public who was engaged in the exploration, even construction, of a multisided relationship with the dancers, the ISPRA collections, the Museum’s halls.

Boglárka Börcsök. Warm up. Museo delle Civiltà © Sofia Cambiaggio

The event not only celebrated the history of dance, but also outlined an ideal taxonomy of human gestures and expressions, thus integrating with the conceptualization of the ISPRA collections and those of the Museum. Within the process of progressive yet radical revision that the Museo delle Civiltà has started, this interplay of different disciplines aims to rediscuss the hierarchy that legimitises dominant categories, in favor of coexistence and dialogue.

Boglárka Börcsök. Museo delle Civiltà © Beatrice Vincenti

Extracts from “20 Dancers for the XX Century and even more” was perfomed by Boglárka Börcsök, Néstor García Díaz, Fabrice Mazliah, Benjamin Pech, Julie Anne Stanzak


Néstor García Díaz, Benjamin Pech, Julie Anne Stanzak, Boglárka Börcsök, Fabrice Mazliah. Museo delle Civiltà © Beatrice Vincenti