Sass muss is the site in which DC was originated, the first experience in which this original project format, unprecedented in Italy, was realized. The compound is situated in the small municipality of Sospirolo (Belluno), on the southern border of the “Parco Nazionale Dolomiti Bellunesi” (National Park of Belluno’s Dolomiti), and for some months, in the summer of 2011, it has become the first exhibition centre of DC, experimental headquarters of the then-newly created visual arts in site workshop.
The idea, very simple and straightforward, was this: the site, large and articulate (with over 10.000 square meters of volume), evidently presented itself as full of extraordinary potential but, nevertheless, it had been closed down, left vacant and forgotten for 25 years. We decided to operate on this resource, which laid in a state of lifeless criticality (in a state of incredible stupidity, rather, given its potential), morphing it into an exhibition centre and a creative citadel, offering a whole season of contemporary art events in it. This all with the goal of focusing on the undeveloped asset, and therefore producing an incentive for revival in favor of the asset itself.
The site is a compound of historical buildings erected in the ’20s in which ammonia was produced at the time, and then later expanded in a subsequent productive improvement in the ’90s. Here you can find an overview of the industrial history of the compound, made by archeologiaindustriale.net. Here you can find an interview that describes the experience of Sass Muss, by the curator of DC. In the compound therefore exists a dislocation of some large buildings made in neo-liberty style and of the other block of the more recent ones inside a green area, at the foot of the first mountain group of the Dolomiti: the Monti del Sole (in English: mountains of the Sun).
The relationship between the architecture and the zoning of the site, and its impact, paired with the aggressive power of nature in the area immediately below the Dolomiti, among woods, streams (like the Cordevole), cliffs, some early peaks, is extremely strong and stimulating: a relationship which generates a powerful contrast, distinguishing the site in a unique way.
Repurposing and revival
After a long work of preparation, which made possible the building of the first supporting structure for such an ambitious enterprise, and for a project which already was committed to the task of operating strategically in regards of the unexpressed potentials of the territory, on the 31st of July 2011 the Sass Muss compound, closed down for twenty-five years, was inaugurated as centre of contemporary art. Over 100 political, institutional, public, productive, private and social figures were involved. The site was then started up again and recovered through a format in which culture and art became motivational productive elements. Art and culture aren’t pathetic and abstract antagonists of the “production index”, then, but tangible levers for the pragmatic action on the territory. Sass Muss has been used by DC from August to October of 2011, and has inaugurated the season of the “artistic migrations”. Other sites, compounds of industrial archeology and abandoned factories, have come after it. We’re working on numerous other construction sites, so to speak.
Below, a series of links through which it’s possible to reconstruct that experience, which was put under the national spotlight as a case of cultural innovation and best practice.
June 20, 2017
March 19, 2017