Filippo Trentin was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the ICI Berlin. He studied at Sapienza Università di Roma (BA in European Literatures), Dartmouth College (MA in Comparative Literature), and the University of Warwick (PhD in Italian Studies). Trentin’s broad research interests range from problems of fracture, anachronisms, and survivals in modernity/postmodernity to notions of spatiality and temporality in queer theory.

His publications include a co-edited book on Rome’s postmodern narratives in literature, film and architecture (Pickering and Chatto, 2013), an essay on the relationship between Walter Benjamin and Pier Paolo Pasolini (Modern Language Review, 2013), and a forthcoming article on queer images of Rome in global cinema (co-authored with Dom Holdaway).

Archaeologies of the Negative
in 1970s Italy

The postdoctoral project Archaeologies of the Negative in 1970s Italy concentrates on the anti-integrationalist ethos which characterizes Italian art and thought in the 1970s. If one of the most striking effects of Europe’s last economic crisis seems to have been the establishment of a permanent state of emergency characterized by a regime of the ‘necessary’ (Giorgio Agamben, Wendy Brown), this project explores this problematic from an aesthetic perspective by genealogically tracing back its roots to the rise of neo-liberal governmentality in the early 1970s. Drawing on Italian 1970s experimental art (Pasolini, Carmelo Bene, Mario Mieli, the Arte Povera movement), on post-structuralist theories of aesthetics (Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Ranciere), and on the ‘negative turn’ in Queer Theory (Leo Bersani, Lee Edelman) the project undertakes an inquiry on those aesthetics which rejected the construction of our neo-liberal present as something ‘necessary’.

The aim of my postdoctoral research project is two-fold. On the one hand it attempts to enlarge the spectrum of interest about the Italian 1970s beyond the emphasis on terrorism, which currently characterizes the field of Italian Studies in Anglo-American academia; on the other it proposes a reading of the aesthetic context which accompanied the rise of theoretical and political phenomena which are receiving growing attention in the field of Critical Theory such as post-operaist thought (Franco Berardi, Antonio Negri, Mario Tronti), Italian feminism (Adriana Cavarero, Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro), and Italian queer theory (Corrado Levi, Mario Mieli). My ultimate aim is to support the argument that, given its peculiar positionality in the global community, 1970s Italy reacted to its integration within the Post-fordist order with the production of a radically negative thought and art that are now haunting the neoliberal present.

Reassembled Fragments, Flexible Wholes:
Towards a Topology of the Atlas

ICI Project 2013-14

The project aims to unearth the intuitive logic of the atlas, with the objective of establishing the foundations for the constitution of an osmotic and flexible idea of the whole. While atlases are now generally intended as topographical maps that illustrate the geographical and/or political conformations of a territory, their structure and meaning went through different paradigm shifts throughout the centuries. In my project I will try to identify the shifts that the notion of the atlas underwent by distinguishing topographical and positivistic (e.g. Cesare Lombroso’s L’atlante dell’uomo criminale) from the topological and non-positivistic atlas (e.g. Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne).

My aim will be to unearth the existence of paradigm of the atlas in the twentieth century, particularly focusing on Walter Benjamin’s Das Passagen-Werk and Charles Baudelaire project, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Petrolio, Georges Bataille’s Documents and Jean-Luc Godard’s film Histoire(s) du cinema. The project will ultimately seek to demonstrate that the panel of an atlas as well as the shot of a film or the page of an open project such as Petrolio or Das Passagen-Werk can be thought out as a flexible but unitary surface that foresees anti-positivistic and a-linear paradigms of interpretations of reality.