The slideshow by Mariette Schiltz & out, office for urban transformation (00:18:38, 2009-2014) traces the different stages of the urban and social transformation of the Isola neighborhood of Milan, from the point of view of the artists of Isola Art Center and the local residents who are fighting against the ongoing gentrification process. The mobilization, which began in 2001, is still active in the Isola Pepe Verde community garden, conquered in 2013 by the inhabitants of the quarter and by the artists and activists of Isola Art Center.
Isola, a neo-liberal Italian tale
DVD 2009, 14’30’’
The slideshow describes the Isola district in Milan and the contemporary art projects such as out and Isola Art Center that started there in 2001. In 2003 the 1.500 square meters of the upper floor of a former factory were squatted in order to create an Art and Community Center open to the neighbourhood. The challenge set for the centre and its participants was to avoid what nearly always happens when museums, art centres, galleries or public art projects are introduced in a working class neighbourhood: they become instruments of gentrification. Out of this awareness the centre begun to actively work against gentrification by linking the art projects to the movement of opposition to the urban plans as well as to the neighbourhood’s elaboration of counter-proposals. After the destruction of the building in 2007 Isola Art Center, out and the inhabitants invented a new type of homeless “museum”, organizing acts of protests such as having picnics in the public square, transforming more than thirty shop shutters into artworks and organizing exhibitions and meetings in spaces offered by private individuals, associations, shops and restaurants.