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Chiara Baldini

Chiara Baldini

area: Theory, Media Art

Key Facts




Theory, Media Art



recommending institution

frei_raum Q21 exhibition space

time period

March 2019 - March 2019

Chiara Baldini is an independent researcher from Florence (Italy), passionate about exploring how consciousness altering practices were used in the course of European history, particularly in ancient Greece and Rome. She wrote “Dionysus Returns: Contemporary Tuscan Trancers and Euripides’ The Bacchae” featured in The Local Scenes and Global Culture of Psytrance (Routledge, 2010) and she co-authored with Graham St. John “Dancing at the Crossroads of Consciousness: Techno-Mysticism, Visionary Arts and Portugal’s Boom Festival” for the Brill’s Handbook of New Religions and Cultural Production (2012). From 2010 to 2014 she has been part of the Boom Festival team in Portugal, co-producing Boom’s cultural area “Liminal Village”. In 2015 she inaugurated and co-curated the program of “ConTent”, the new cultural area in Fusion Festival (Germany). She currently lives in Portugal and is co-curating an anthology on the feminine and altered states of consciousness.

Chiara Baldini

Project info


During the artist residency in MQ-q21 I plan to create a video installation narrating the history of the “Bacchanalia Affair,” the name given to the repression of the bacchanalia in 286 BC in ancient Rome. The video will use images, videos, texts and voice over to explain who is Dionysus, what kind of archetype he represents, what happened during his rituals (the bacchanalia), and why they were repressed. The purpose of the project is to outline the striking similarities between the ancient Dionysian practices and certain modern day electronic music events, which often share similar values (like inclusivity, tolerance, female empowerment, queer safety, etc) and “techniques of ecstasy” (dancing to repetitive beats and ingesting psychotropic substances). Such characteristics lead to posing similar challenges to mainstream society, triggering both enthusiastic support or ferocious repression. To illustrate the historical facts I propose to have access to the collection of the Kunst Historische Museum in Vienna to use images and maybe film objects and statues pertaining to the Dionysian cult, specifically the original of the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus: the bronze tablet containing the senatorial decree ordering the repression of the cult in Rome and Italy, part of the KHM’s Classical Age Collection.

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