Maintenance of What

If I maintain it, is it mine?
Or can I maintain it just if I own it?
And, maintenance of what? A place, a thing, an idea?


November 2018 - DAI Kitchen Presentation, Arnhem
Performative reading (dialogue), performed by Matthieu Blond (Sara: S) and Sara Cattin (Gregorio: G). Duration 20 min.


May 2019 - DAI Graduation Acts
Performive reading (dialogue), performed by Olivia Arbacheli (Sara: S), Matthieu Blond (Sara: S) and Sara Cattin (Anonymous: X, Andrea: A), sound by Nicolò Tescari. Duration 25 min.

This series of performances is part of broader research on transhumant pastoralism I started in 2018, conducting interviews with various people who work and live within the valleys of the province of Biella, the mountainous area in the North-West of Italy where I live and come from.
Part of this research is the MA thesis Reconnect, and Stay Alive. Leaving behind the idea of domain at the passage of roaming shepherds. A thesis extract is available at

Transhumant pastoralism is a kind of semi-nomadic pastoral activity that raises animals while moving between the mountain tops and the low lands with a seasonal rhythm. In Biella, transhumant pastoralism shares its traditional territorial identity with the world of the capitalistic industry.

In Maintenance of What? I transformed the recording of the conversations I had with young shepherds into scripts. Questions go from “Do you listen to music when you are at the grazing?” to “What does it mean to maintain a mountain?” and “How does Europe undermine your autonomy?”.  

The aim of the interviews is to learn about those embodied practices that are able to reconnect humanity to a physical reality, looking at things directly from the point of view of who works with land and navigates the web of land private and public property. The aim of the re-interpretation is to create a collective moment for learning through words that need a social amplifier.  

The shepherds agreed to the terms in which their words are being used. 

S: Hi Gregorio!
G: Hi Sara.

S: Do you wear a watch?

G: No. I’m allergic to time, and the phone too.

S: And do you like photography?

G: I almost never let people photograph me.

S: How long does your day last? At what time do you start?

G: When the light wakes me! I wake up with the sunrise and when the sunset comes I go to sleep.  



X: Because when they are there all together you can hear them eating. If you are careful you don’t hear anything. But if you stay closer you hear a chaos, the noise they do. That’s the best part.

Then you have a lot of moments in which you just think. You think…

but it’s healthier…

S: Healthier than what?