Turin Spirituality reflects on the skin

From 29 September to 2 October, Torino Spiritualità returns, four days of lessons, dialogues, readings and meditations at the Circolo dei Lettori and in the heart of the city, to reflect together by comparing consciences, cultures and religions. The XVIII edition reflects on the concept of Skin, the “deep surface” of the human being which, while hiding, interrogates the tangible mystery that each of us represents. In the confrontation of consciences, cultures and faiths, Turin Spirituality once again triggers a reflection on the meaning of our time and our being in places of encounter and worship, museum spaces, culture and entertainment in the Piedmontese capital. The image chosen for this year, an ancient lava rock marked by the traces of a contact as unpredictable as it is poetic, alludes precisely to the infinite wealth of encounters that our skin bears witness to: some ephemeral, others lasting like crystallized flowers forever in stone. Footprints and ornaments that every life is destined to know.

“Dedicating the edition to our epidermis means giving ourselves wide horizons to investigate: skin to protect and wounded skin, perfect skin that does not want to know about ageing, thin, thick, covered, immodest skin, the mirroring one of touch aids , the one that changes, the same skin, the different skin, the one on which the world comes to meet us, the skin with which we go in search of God. An intimate and collective exploration that we are eager to share with the Torino Spiritualità audience” , comments Armando Buonaiuto, curator of Turin Spirituality.

“Turin Spirituality returns to animate the city with a theme that is the perfect synthesis of who we are – an indissoluble combination of interiority and appearance, of life inside and outside of us. The skin is not only the largest, indeed boundless organ that we have: it is also the border that separates us and unites us to the world. This year the festival – coming of age! – will explore the inexhaustible complexity of existence through the skin and the extraordinary ideas that this “deep surface” offers” Elena Loewenthal, director of the Fondazione Circolo dei Lettori, reasons on the subject.

Subtle yet grounded and deep, skin is the visible map of our existence, the archive of billions of unique and individual stories. Precisely starting from this individual surface of ours, index of who we are and where we end up, threshold and place of contact with others and with reality, think writers, philosophers, protagonists of the arts and contemporary thought.

The festival is inaugurated by the former world champion soccer player and anti-racism activist Lilian Thuram and the missionary priest Alex Zanotelli, in a dialogue on skin and stereotypes starting with Il pensiero bianco (ADD editore) moderated by Internazionale journalist Annalisa Camilli . A special event is the meeting with Orhan Pamuk, Nobel Prize for literature, who in conversation with Elena Loewenthal, talks about Nights of the Plague, a new novel published by Einaudi: it was 1901 when the plague spread on the imaginary island of Mingher, slipping beyond the skin to poison consciences. The 2022 Pulitzer Prize also arrives at the festival Joshua Cohen, in Italy for the release of “The Netanyahu”, the novel that earned him the prestigious award, published by Codice Edizioni. Getting out of one’s own skin to give physicality and impulses to that of other human beings is the actor’s job; it is the point from which Fabrizio Gifuni will start in Cambiare Pelle. The art of the actor, in conversation with Maria Paola Pierini, professor at the Dams in Turin and film historian. Sons ≠ parents is a comparison on when parents and children do not recognize each other in each other’s faces, but more in intimacy: a conversation about society and its stereotypes between children and parents of mixed couples, foster or adoptive parents with Luciana Littizzetto, the singer-songwriter Niccolò Agliardi, the writer Sabrina Efionayi, the journalist Elena Goretti, conducted by the radio speaker Matteo Caccia and the dancer and performer Lidia Carew, in collaboration with the Lidia Dice Association. On the opening day, the neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso intervenes with a lesson on vegetable epidermis: the skin of the earth (the event is already sold out), while the writer Paolo Nori recounts the experience of his burn. Skinless is the title of the dialogue between the theologian Vito Mancuso and the artist and theater actor Alessandro Bergonzoni, moderated by Armando Buonaiuto; the writers Nicola Lagioia and Valeria Parrella talk about skin, bodies and literature. The psychoanalyst and essayist Massimo Recalcati thinks about the epidermis and its link with vulnerability, while the Dutch writer Jan Brokken reflects together with the historian Carlo Greppi on the theme of The Righteous. Saving the skin of others. The philosopher Maura Gancitano discusses beauty, canons of aesthetic conformity and perfection of the complexion. On the final day, the monk Enzo Bianchi discusses with the founder of Turin Spiritualità Antonella Parigi, the Hindu nun Svamini Hamsananda Giri and the Zen nun Elena Seishin Viviani on the links between body and spirituality and their evolution in these 18 years of festival. The linguist Federico Faloppa also speaks of stereotypes and social imagery, in the lesson Whiten an Ethiopian and the writer Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, who in the dialogue Always and only good people? confronts the historian Francesco Filippi on our colonial memory. Vittorio Sgarbi talks about how the epidermis has been represented in the history of art in a lectio magistralis; Oliviero Toscani also thinks about the visual arts, a photographer who changed the advertising imagination forever, drawing the cardinal points of a photographic atlas of the human race, together with Luca Beatrice. The theologian and priest Luigi Maria Epicoco reflects on the relationship between skin and interiority in the lesson The skin of the soul (event already sold out), while in the intervention Una carezza sul mondo the ethologist Roberto Marchesini explores the tactile dimension of care by comparing the humans and animals. Cecilia Strada and the former magistrate and essayist Gherardo Colombo discuss lives spent taking care of the skin of others and the experience of the ResQ People rescue ship, in dialogue with Armando Buonaiuto, in collaboration with the Migration Festival. What it means to enter the skin of others to tell it is the incipit of the reflection of the Dutch writer and reporter Frank Westerman, in dialogue with the anthropologist Marco Aime. Neuroscientist Giorgio Vallortigara, on the other hand, answers the question Why can’t we tickle ourselves? in the lesson dedicated to investigating the boundaries of the self, while the writers Vincenzo Latronico and Irene Graziosi, the content creator Petunia Ollister and the essayist Elisa Cuter talk about social networks and their effects on the perception of our bodies.

The festival has an itinerant preview on the weekend preceding the event in the city: after the summer appointments, the spiritual walks of Turin Spiritualità return with Nature on tiptoe, two itineraries for walking lightly on the surface of the earth. Saturday 24 September the priest and writer Paolo Scquizzato and the readings of Daniela Falconi accompany Walking is joy. Remembering Thich Nhat Hanh, an itinerary immersed in the biodiversity of the Fondotoce Nature Reserve, in collaboration with the LetterAltura festival in Verbania. On Sunday 25 September, Paolo Scquizzato and Daniela Falconi themselves, this time in Ostana (Cuneo) and in collaboration with the Community Cooperative Viso a Viso, will host Women for the Earth. How the feminine listens to the environment: listening to the words and texts of some women who have dedicated themselves to protecting the environment, a walk through paths and villages to get closer to the wounded mother who hosts and feeds us.

Turin Spirituality reflects on the skin – Piedmontese newspaper