POMPEII COMMITMENT. ARCHAEOLOGICAL MATTERS Launch of pompeiicommitment.org portal and digital research centre 21st December 2020

The 21st of December 2020 sees the launch of pompeiicommitment.org, the portal and digital research centre of Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, the first contemporary art programme commissioned by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii based on the study and enhancement of the ‘archaeological matter’ preserved in the excavation areas and storerooms of Pompeii.

The project was conceived in 2017 by Massimo Osanna, Interim Director General of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, and Andrea Viliani, Head of the CRRI-Castello di Rivoli Research Centre, who is the scientific curator of the project, ‘maintained’ together with Stella Bottai and Laura Mariano. The use of the word ‘maintenance’ is not accidental, since this is an ongoing programme that qualifies research itself as an everyday responsibility and commitment, not just to conceive but also to indeed maintain, namely preserve and share, its progressive outcomes.

In its initial phase, Pompeii Commitment focuses on defining the forms of knowledge which will be expressed and produced by the project itself, via a collective research method activated and shared on pompeiicommitment.org between December 2020 and December 2021. It is for this very reason that the platform has been conceived as a ‘portal’, rather than a ‘website’, or rather as a point of separation and a moment of transition in which we can depart from what we already know, or think we know, and instead pursue new knowledge.


pompeiicommitment.org was conceived, therefore, not as a functional or support tool, but as a route of access to a true digital research centre, in which to publish ongoing projects, textual and visual essays, podcasts and audio as well as video files authored by over fifty artists, curators, writers and international activists, each invited to participate in the project with their contributions (Commitments), which will be collated into a final scientific catalogue.

The portal also recounts the story of how Pompeii became a form of knowledge of first Western and then global modernity, as evidenced by the multiple historical documents which are published weekly (Historiae), and of how Pompeii has amassed a wealth of continuously evolving transdisciplinary knowledge, composed of innumerable stories of the end and beginning of worlds, both real or fantastical, which on the portal together form a Library of Archaeology and Futurology.

Professionals from the Archaeological Park – including archaeologists, historians, archivists, anthropologists, archaeozoologists, archaeobotanists, agronomists, geologists, chemists, architects, engineers, technicians, restorers and ordinary maintenance workers – will themselves contribute to broadening and sharing their knowledge with the general public through a series of previously unpublished texts and interviews, which shed light on and celebrate both their everyday work and working methods (Fabulae).

Yet the portal also lays the foundations for a typological cataloguing of the Pompeian ‘archaeological matter’ preserved in the storerooms of the Park which serves as a subject of reflection for the invited authors, thus delineating a museum, currently only hypothetical, that is dedicated to it (Inventario).

All of these contributions build pompeiicommitment.org as a multi-authored and polyphonic publishing platform. Whilst progressively evolving as a constantly redefined construction, Pompeii Commitment forms a further gateway to the site of Pompeii – just like the monumental gates through which the visitor ordinarily enters the archaeological site (Piazza Anfiteatro, Porta Marina Inferiore and Porta Marina Superiore) –, that in this case appears as a malleable and penetrable route to the episteme of Pompeii. The web portal thus seeks to define a broader and more layered experience over time compared to the physical visit to Pompeii – but also compared to the normal digital consultation of its website – favouring a feeling of gradual ‘discovery’ that reflects and expands the permanent operations of sustainable excavation that are carried out every day in the open-air museum, which in addition to the archaeological site of Pompeii, also includes the sites of Oplontis, Boscoreale, the Royal Bourbon Explosives Factory of Scafati, the Royal Palace of Quisisana and the Villas of Castellammare di Stabia.

The second phase of Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters will begin in 2021, and will unfold as a programme of commissions, productions and presentations of works which will progressively form the contemporary art collection (Collectio) of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. This second phase is inspired by the guidelines of the Italian Council project, promoted by MiBACT - the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism.


The Commitments developed for the portal – over fifty – will be published weekly over the course of twelve months, from December 2020 to December 2021. The participants whose contributions will be published in the first half of 2021 include: Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Maria Thereza Alves, Marcella Beccaria, Anna Boghiguian, Diana Campbell Betancourt, Cairo Clarke, Cooking Sections, Chiara Costa, Trisha Donnelly, Jimmie Durham, Haris Epaminonda, Eva Fabbris, Milovan Farronato, Simone Fattal,  Lara Favaretto, Liam Gillick, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Prem Krishnamurthy, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Lina Lapelyte, Matteo Lucchetti, Goshka Macuga, Elena Mazzi, Marzia Migliora, Otobong Nkanga, Henrik Olesen, Charlemagne Palestine, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Giulio Paolini, Lucia Pietroiusti, Walid Raad, Michael Rakowitz, Lucy Raven, Tabita Rezaire, Salvatore Settis, Tai Shani, Paul Sietsema, Himali Singh Soin-David Soin Tappeser, Marianna Vecellio, Adrián Villar Rojas, Kandis Williams, Cerith Wyn Evans, Akram Zaatari.

The inaugural Commitments are by artists Giulio Paolini (who is also author of the holding page of the portal) and Mierle Laderman Ukeles. In order to trace the starting horizon of Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters, Paolini has conceived four possible versions of its access portal: just like in that ‘painting which contains all paintings’ ­– the first work by the artist, Disegno geometrico (“Geometrical Drawing”), 1960 – Paolini squares the surface of four white sheets, in order to focus his and our attention on them and upon what is about to happen there (or has already happened?). Laderman Ukeles on the other hand participates with the re-publishing of her MANIFESTO FOR MAINTENANCE ART 1969! Proposal for an exhibition “CARE”, which has deeply influenced the curatorial vision of the project, in terms of its ‘care’ understood as ‘maintenance’.

The author of the first Fabula is Professor Pierpaolo Forte, member of the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.

In Spring 2021, the monographic volume Gianni Pettena: 1966-2021 (Mousse Publishing, Milan, 2020, co-produced as part of the project with MAXXI-National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome, Luigi Pecci Centre of Contemporary Art, Prato and Kunst Meran/Merano Arte) will be presented, along with Invernomuto’s work Black Med-POMPEI (2020-2021), one of the winners of the 2019 Italian Council project promoted by the Directorate General of Contemporary Creativity of MiBACT, developed in collaboration with the Morra Greco Foundation, Naples, and donated to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii.



In support of Pompeii Commitment, the Fundraising Office of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii has devised a project and model of sponsorship known as Partners Committee, which will be trialled for the first time for this occasion. The project is presented as an opportunity to propose and evaluate new forms of public-private sector collaboration and to interact with partners via the activation of new dialogue practices. The Partners Committee will consist of the Lead Partner and the Team Partners. The Lead Partner will play a key role, taking care of the governance of the sponsorship as well as the dialogue with the Team Partners and the representatives of the Archaeological Park of Pompeii. The Team Partners in turn will be able to suggest actions to support the project, but also new forms of collaboration and promotion by means of the organisations involved. The objective is to establish a work team where public and private sector entities cooperate in support of Pompeii Commitment, the first long-term project dedicated to contemporary art at Pompeii.

Please follow this link to access the Sponsorship Notice, published in the Transparent Administration section of the Park of Pompeii: click here


The project is also present on the Art Bonus platform, in order to allow donors, friends and supporters of art to participate with donations in support of contemporary artistic creations. The names of donors will become part of the world of projects at Pompeii, benefitting from tax relief as provided for in the Art Bonus regulations. For further information, please consult the following link: click here

Images 1 and 2:

Giulio Paolini – Untitled (Pompeii), 2020 – Pencil and collage on paper – 35 x 50 cm

© Giulio Paolini – Photo Luca Vianello, Torino – Courtesy Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini, Torino


Images 3 and 4:

Mierle Laderman Ukeles – Washing / Tracks / Maintenance:  Outside, 1973 – Part of Maintenance Art performance series, 1973-1974

Performance at Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT – © Mierle Laderman Ukeles – Courtesy the artist and Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York