Chianti Hills Residency

Vital Signs: 43.5229° N, 10.9468° E

Don’t Believe in Global Warming? Just Ask a Winemaker      

Self-directed residency at Renai e Monte presented by Twisted Oyster

In partnership with Renai e Monte, Twisted Oyster introduces the second of three art residencies operating at the intersection of art and activism. Vital Signs: 43.5229° N, 10.9468° E in Gambassi Terme Florence, Italy.

Renai e Monte is a family owned working farmhouse with 28 hectares of vineyards and olive groves. It is located on the Chianti hills in the district of Gambassi Terme. The active farm is an integral aspect of this residency and offers an opportunity to actively participate in light farm activities. The family farming practice is fully respectful of its environment and opens doors to this residency focused on climate change. As a way to give back, participants are invited to assist alongside some of the farm workers in the orchard, garden, olive groves or vineyards, all of which have served for hundreds of years.**

Vital Signs: 43.5229° N, 10.9468° E aims to bring awareness to the impact of climate change by observing and understanding the agricultural process in the region. The self guided 2-week residency places emphasis on the current environmental issues affecting winemaking and olive oil production. Participants will have an opportunity to a attend a 1-2 day presentation by Tuscan winemaker, participate in colloquium, have studio time to continue existing or create new work, present it in group critique and be able to familiarize themselves with farm routines. The residency also offers ample opportunity to explore north-central Italy: Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano, UNESCO World Heritage Site. The activities available through the duration of the residency are designed to rediscover the brilliance of the Mediterranean and our relationship with the environment while reconnecting mind, heart and spirit to nature.

**While it is not mandatory, all participants are highly encouraged to participate in the available light farm activities**

One of the most significant aspects of climate change is how little we know about it. Daily, breaking news flood us with all sorts of information and yet climate change is not making headline news. Many people may say it is the natural course of the environment, evolution, natural cycles, etc. Evolution is indeed a natural process, but the reality is that it’s occurring 1,000 to 10,000 times faster. This means that in our human lifetime we will see drastic changes that otherwise would have taken thousands of years, this is known as geologic time. And the cause for the precipitated shift points to human activity.

Take for example the Alps: By the time of the Paris agreement in 2015, 20% of Europe’s Alpine glaciers had melted since 1980, according to the fifth annual report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Today, melting glaciers have a serious effect on vital resources: Water supplies, and a reported 1.5 – 2 degrees increase in temperature in the entire Mediterranean Basin. By the end of the century, water in places like Switzerland, is expected to fall to 60%. This represents reduced amounts of water flowing into rivers, streams and groundwater. In Italy, this rapid change, is enough to alter pre-existing conditioning of optimal agriculture, affecting some of the world’s most beloved consumption products like wine and olives.

Our frail environment is the single most important issue affecting humanity today. From pollution to scarcity, disappearance of species and human migrations. This two-week residency in the Chianti hills offers an opportunity to understand the process of wine making and olive oil production in environmentally challenged circumstances. The residency includes a 1 to 2 day symposium presented by a local wine and olive oil maker. He will talk to us about past and present conditions the region experiences, how they actively come up with solutions to preserve or adapt to rapid climatic shifts and how these new conditions affect a millenary viticulture process. Participants have an opportunity to observe, collaborate, self-reflect, connect and create new work.

Twisted Oyster opens call to all artists, scientists, environmentalists, urban farmers, activists, curators, musicians, filmmakers, writers, poets, performers and wellness practitioners whose work is grounded in the environment, agriculture, viticulture, social change, spirituality, individual and community healing, ecology and natural systems. A big aspect of Twisted Oyster is community engagement, and therefore, this residency is equally open to anyone interested in understanding climate change, initiatives towards action to help preserve our natural environment, art, community and culture.

The approach to this residency program is its holistic foundation and its philosophy to connect the artists and community to further ideas and open dialogue to issues of profound impact.

Cost Includes:

  • 2-week residency (see details below)
  • Shared Lodging: 2-3 bedroom apartments
  • Transfer to and from airport (arrival to Florence only)
  • Breakfast with local and homemade products and typical dinner
  • WiFi
  • Studio space
  • Access to outdoor grill and pool
  • Wine/olive oil tasting
  • Families and groups are welcome (please email

Residency Program:

  • Presentation/symposium with local expert viticulturist/winemaker
  • Presentation/symposium with local environmentalist
  • Artists roundtable: colloquium, presentations, discussions, critique, studio visits
  • Excursion local artist studio or artisans workshops (painter, jewelry maker, glass maker)
  • Excursion to The Gori Collection at Fattoria de Celle –  Famous private outdoor art collection holding works of many artists, including: Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Richard Serra, Sol Lewitt, Richard Long, Daniel Buren, Enrico Castellani. Luciano Fabro, Mimmo Paladino, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Burri and many others. (
  • Excursion to contemporary art gallery in San Gimignano (UNESCO World heritage Center)
  • Community engagement/give back: Seasonal light farm activities in vegetable garden, orchard, picking, pruning. Participants will be encouraged to participate in light farm duties, maybe 2 times per week (days TBD)
  • Opportunity to continue or create new work
  • End of residency art show accompanied by agri-dinner with local community patrons (TBD)
  • Experience viticulture economics, culture and society

Additional Cost:

  • Private bedroom
  • Entire apartment
  • Car rental in town of Certaldo ( or Pisa
  • Excursion to San Gimignano (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Excursion to Florence
  • Excursion to Pisa
  • Bike riding
  • Hiking/trekking
  • Horseback riding
  • Gastronomy and cooking courses
  • Spa
  • Additional tasting sessions

Contact us to make any special arrangements –

Important Dates:

  • Spring Residency: June 15- June 29, 2019
  • Fall Residency: October 1-15, 2019
  • Anyone desiring to arrive a few days early or stay a few days after, please inquire by sending an email to

Artist/Writers/Curator Requirements:

  • Statement of purpose/proposal
  • CV Resume
  • Short bio
  • Any special accommodation requests
  • 5 slides sample work
  • Artist website
  • Filled and signed residency application form
  • The residency offers the opportunity to work alone or together, interchange ideas, create and present artwork
  • Artists must provide their own supplies/equipment

Non-artist participants:

Must submit a statement of why are they interested in this program, how would their participation assist them in their personal/professional lives, including a brief description of their current understanding of climate change (there is no right or wrong answer, this simply helps us craft a great presentation), and let us know if you are interested in farming activities.

All additional activities can be booked upon arrival.

Individual, collectives and groups are welcome.


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About residency organizer:

Pía Cruzalegui is a Peruvian born artist and independent curator based in Chicago. Her work focuses on the tensions, interruptions, displacements and inadequacies associated with culture, politics,  and socio-economics surfacing from the ethnic experiences as an immigrant. Central to her work is the subconscious dialogue brought forward by memory, time and space, and the observance and deconstruction of this perception by amplifying images as gestures to present a fragmented narrative. Pía received an MFA in Studio Practice from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, holds degrees in Communications: Film and Multimedia, and Latin American Studies from Florida Atlantic University, and Architectural Design from Miami Dade College. Pia Cruzalegui is the founder and director of Twisted Oyster Festival.


SOCIAL MEDIA: @TwistedOyster

About the Professional viticulturist/winemaker and environmentalist: To be announced




Film and New Media Festival

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