Monte Verità: Utopias and Magnificent Obsessions
Utopia is an ante-chamber for the imaginary, and scholars, poets, architects, philosophers are those who know how to deliver notions of utopia, nurturing their magnificent obsessions for years until they become embodied in works that gradually become a part of reality, in the process enriching that reality, and perpetuating magnificent obsessions in the minds of those who read or listen to them , and who often fall in love with a world that they then make their own. Nothing is more accessible than a work of art or literature that offers itself to a public which is potentially infinite in terms of both space and time.
In its time, Ascona, with its Monte Verità, has nurtured gentle, non-violent forms of utopia, flirting with naturism, the sun, vegetarian diets and theosophy, casting its spell on writers such as Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Hermann Hesse, Erich Maria Remarque, Rainer Maria Rilke. Hence it is the ideal venue for an event that intends to explore, from a contemporary standpoint, the theme of utopia and the passions/ideals - social, political, literary – that feed it.
With “Monte Verità: Utopias and Magnificent Obsessions” a Festival dedicated, most aptly, to the magnificent obsessions of literary utopias, we are planning to re-open the Monte Verità space to new and diverse, potentially transversal, borderline initiatives, adventurously pushing forward, avoiding the exhausted banalities of conventional thinking.
To this end, every year Ascona will invite major figures and guests from all over the world to spend four days dedicated to literature, to meet and embrace an opportunity to go beyond the borders of literary and cultural geography, in a project to facilitate and encourage an exchange of ideas, through meetings and seminars, and appealing, ideally, to an youthful audience willing to share and discuss both their own utopias and magnificent obsessions and those of others.
As part of the event, “Monte Verità: Utopias and Magnificent Obsessions” will present an annual award, the Premio Enrico Filippini, named after the great intellectual (1932-1988), originally from Ascona, but a citizen of the world, who via his work of discovery, support and development, laboured so generously to encourage the literary talents he encountered over his lifetime. This Prize will thus be awarded to someone in the world of letters who has discovered, helped, or launched new and interesting talent: an editor, literary agent, or translator.