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by Alessandra Amicarelli and Valeria Sacco

In the construction of our first publishing project, this strange adventure that is ANIMATAZINE, we, who are neither journalists, nor scholars, nor scientific researchers, we who are puppeteers, wanted to place the four elements water, earth, air, fire, at the center of our magazine.
This allows us to start a journey that makes us discover the puppet from different angles to explore it through the universals linked to the origins of life.
Thus, the first issue of ANIMATAZINE is dedicated to water.
Beginning of the life of plants, animals and humans.

Mystery that we breathe in the womb before we come into the world and that we continue to drink every day to stay alive. 

Force that digs the furrow of history and memory, that purifies, transforms, pacifies.

Mirror of man, who tries to guess whether the image he sees reflected on its surface matches him or not.
The puppet is also a reflection, a mirror of man and the creatures of the universe: this seems to us to be the first archetypal connection that the puppet has with water.

In the water man seeks and recognizes himself, as in the puppet.
Dowsing is the ancient millenary practice of intercepting the presence of water through the vibrations that our body passes to a stick.

We have done something similar and the puppet leads us to those who have a passion for water, a profession, an artistic research field.
Thus, on our journey, we encountered, on the ANIMATED LEVEL :

Elise Vigneron, founder of the Company Théâtre de l'Entrouvert, who with her research stages the thresholds of water: from ice to steam, the element's changes in state become a symbolic and concrete universe that speaks to the human unconscious, animating it.
Marja Nykanen, artistic director of theThéatre Illusia-Aurora, who experiences water as the space of choice, the stage from which everything can arise and where everything can vanish, the beginning and end of all stories, a landscape to live in and share with the community.
The Unterwasser Company, which has made water its own poetic manifesto and whose members have chosen it as a constitutive element of their vocabulary of emotional and archetypal signs.
The Consorzio Balsamico Company which around the elements has constituted its creative and imaginative practice: and it is thanks to water that the group met, experimenting for the first time the common flow in creative doing.
Then we looked even further, for the LEVEL DERIVED.

We met Julie Sermon, Professor in History and Aesthetics of Contemporary Theater and Director of the Laboratory Passages XX-XXI, Human Sciences of the Environment, at the University Lyon 2: investigating the links that exist between ecology and the performing arts, she reveals how much necessary are the sensitive constructions that theater artists weave on the scenes of the world, opening the vision to the paradigms of the relationship between nature and man.
Edoardo Borgomeo, hydrologist, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Oxford, leads us to reflect on how important the intertwining of economics, politics, ethics and aesthetics is in issues related to water management at a geopolitical and social level.
Julie Anne Stanzak, dancer with Pina Bausch's Wuppertal Tanztheater and choreographer, takes us through the explosion of energy and awareness of dancing with water, in a memory of Pina Bausch's Vollmond show.
Camilla Barbarito, Milanese singer and performer, leads us through aquatic sounds that flow from the body, from stones, from electronic synthesizers.
And then we looked back, towards the origins, attracted by the puppets on the water of the Bozo people and we thus arrived in Africa, where a universe of ancient traditions and lively contemporaneity has generously opened up to us, so much so that we can compose a chapter which we have called DOSSIER AFRICA.
We first met Badrissa Soro, President of Unima Africa and Unima Costa d'Ivoire, artistic director of the Ivoire Marionette Company, who introduced us to the knowledge of the diversity of puppet art on the continent, helping us to find contacts and personalities to meet. A special thanks goes to him from us. His testimony is also important to learn about the new puppet arts training projects in Africa. His Académie Ivoire Marionette is one of the examples of transmission and professionalization for young puppeteers.
On the banks of the Niger River, in Bamako, we met Yaya Coulibaly with her son Facinet Coulibaly. Guardian of the tradition of Bamanan puppets, the oldest and richest in Africa, in this interview Master Yaya Coulibaly offers us a testimony of the deep spiritual, symbolic, concrete bonds that exist between the puppet and the water element, as well as to deliver us an extraordinary message of peace and cultural cohesion around the puppet arts. With Facinet Coulibaly, we then discover what are the future projects of the Sogolon Company, founded by his father and managed by him as Organizational Director, so that the immense Coulibaly heritage is safeguarded and transmitted.
Also in Bamako we met Yakouba Magassouba, founder of the Nama Company, whose shows are committed to raising public awareness on important social issues: his next creation will be a show entitled For the defense of Monsieur Niger that will join forces with a large group of artists and young people in training, including many women, around the issues of preserving the waters of the Niger River and the cultures that live on its banks.
Following the majestic flow of the Niger River, a powerful living being that crosses Mali, we reach Kirango, in the province of Ségou, where Malick Dramé, actor, puppeteer, musician, introduces us to the culture of the Bozo People and their masquerade festivals. and puppets on the water.
We then meet the Professor Adama Traoré originally from Sikasso, in southern Mali, author, director, actor and playwright, Knight of the National Order of Mali, who makes us discover the links in Malian culture between marionette and water, as well as introducing us to the most current of the struggle that all the populations and artists of the Shael region are called to carry out for the defense and safeguarding of the arts and their freedom of expression, oppressed by the advance of jihadist forces.
Proceeding along the banks of the Niger River, we meet Professor Fodé Moussa Sidibé in Markalà, specialist in literary sociology and African civilization, writer, who in a wonderful fresco introduces us to the Banaman cosmogony and to all the spiritual and symbolic connections that unite the water element to the puppets and which tells us about the life and hopes of the Festival des Masques et Marionnettes in Markala, born 27 years ago from the desire to preserve and promote the centuries-old heritage of masks and puppets that the rural population organizes at the beginning of the rainy season.
Leaving Mali, we arrive in Senegal where Patricia Gomis and Hélène Ducharme, are in these days in creation for their next show entitled Words of water. The two artists, one originally from Senegal, the other from the province of Quebec in Canada, put their different life experiences related to water into puppet form: from abundance to scarcity, two worlds confront each other and enter into dialogue to offer to the public of children (but not only) an in-depth understanding of the sense of the common good.
Then we reach South Africa, where, thanks to Janni Younge, director of Unima South Africa, we meet Aja Marneweck and Jaqueline Dommisse.
Aja Marneweck tells us about the experience of the Giant Puppet Parade, which takes place every year in the small town of Barrydale and of which she is the creative director. In 2018 the whole town joined in this giant puppet parade for an event in defense of a tiny freshwater fish, endemic to the area, in danger of extinction. A project that has made it possible to heal deep wounds in the community due to the aftermath of racial segregation.
Thanks to Aja Marneweck, ANIMATAZINE has the honor of being able to publish an unpublished text written together with his colleague Shane A. Petzer, activist and artist involved in social justice causes who passed away last year: Decolonizing the river: puppets, politics and the Barrydale Klein Huis Rivier.
A way to remember and celebrate the memory of Shane A. Petzer.
By Jaqueline Dommisse, we discover, in the animated suggestion column, her show The fairy tale of the siren and the drunks, an integrated theatrical production where people with disabilities and able-bodied people dance on a water stage animating string puppets.

ANIMATED CONSTELLATIONS : Cristina Grazioli sketches connecting lines between luminous points of creations connected to water.

ANIMATED CRITICISM : Angela Forti offers a look at present and past theatrical performances where water is the protagonist.

ANIMATED WORD : Beatrice Baruffini plays with the word water in unexpected paths of sparkling connections.

RE-ANIMATED IMAGINATION : Marco Ferro creates an illustrated mosaic starting from pieces never staged generously offered by Agostino Cacciabue, Fabrizio Montecchi, Gyula Molnar.

ANIMATED CINEMA : Alessandro Palmeri reveals the threads that weave a concrete but invisible plot between the idea of "puppet" and the different film versions of Solaris.

ANIMATED MUSIC : a super play list of music videos rigorously characterized by two essential ingredients: puppets and water.

ANIMATED TIP : we have received many reports, find them in the section!

ANIMATED WORKSHOP : the story of the work done with the students of Animateria and the Atelier delle Figure in Gambettola in October 2021.

ANIMATED DEBATE : the dialogue of voices begins to be composed around the two proposed themes: animated theater and animated body.
Completely flooded, not submerged but fluidly transported, following the force of the current that the puppet generates when it encounters the water, ANIMATAZINE now flows into the sea of readers, who will be able to contribute, each with his own thought and sensitivity, to making this contribution to the world fertile "Ocean puppet", transporting and spreading it thanks to word of mouth, which still remains, fortunately, the most effective means of communication in the world.

Thanks to all those who contributed to the launch of:

Presentation on 21 March 2022 on the occasion of World Puppet Day.
Online release on 31 March 2022.

With contributions from:

Adama Traoré · Agostino Cacciabue · Aja Marneweck · Alessandra Amicarelli · Alessandro Palmeri · Alice Clementine Edelvais · Angela Forti · Arianna Talamona · Badrissa Soro · Beatrice Baruffini · Benedetta Pigoni · Camilla Barbarito · Carola Maternini · Chiara Giani Tagliabue · Consorzio Balsamico · Coyote · Cristina Grazioli · Damiano Zanchetta · Domenico Bernini · Edoardo Borgomeo · Elisabeth Den Otter · Eleonora Longobardi · Elisa Codato · Elise Vigneron · Fabrizio Montecchi · Facinet Cheikhou Coulibaly · Federico Meneghel · Fodé Moussa Sidibe · Gabriele Genova · Gianluca Palma · Giulia Angeloni · Giulio Molnar · Giuseppina Volpicelli · Hélène Ducharme · Jaqueline Dommisse · Janni Younge · Julie-Anne Stanzak · Julie Sermon · Lorenzo Massa · Maila Minati · Malik Dramé · Marco Ferro · Maria Cristina D'Amico · Maria Spazzi · Marianna de Leoni · Mariano Dolci · Marja Nykanen · Nathalie Veuillet · Paolo Bergamo · Patricia Gomis · Roberto Agnelli · Shane Petzer · Sofia Orlando · Stefano Giunchi · Tina Pezzini · Tonino Murru · UnterWasser · Valeria Sacco · Virginia Carucci · Yacouba Magassouba · Yaya Coulibaly

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