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No Man’s Land Foundation scientific committee reunion June 17th 2017, Rome.

Intervention by the Honorary President Yona Friedman.

All my interest, all my work is based on the potential equality of everybody.
Everybody can make art, beside this everybody can understand science: if it is not understood this is the fault
of the scientists that don’t know how to explain it.
I’m looking very much for deeper projects that visualise ideas, that means not the object but the idea of it. The
visualisation is important because the humans, contrary of what psychologists state, don’t think in words,
we think in images. To explain something you have to get a visible image and then suddenly it makes sense and it
is then open to all ages.
At the Centre Pompidou the children who joined my action gave me a medal for my work made by them.
The experience with school children is really important, it’s authentic. I’m not looking forward to sell an idea, but I
want to give initiative for others. I try to build their ideas.
Speaking about architects, for me the greatest architect of the 20th century was a non architect: Kurt Schwitters
with the Merzbau, because the Merzbau is a Principle. You don’t copy the Merzbau,
if you want to make one you can do it, this turns what we call shantytowns into art.
And that made me thinking about this: the democratization of knowledge. All our present civilization tries to
exclude, create groups of society which are excluded, that don’t understand art, that don’t understand science,
that don’t understand each other.
So I think that it could be a sort of objective for the foundation to make understand people techniques to
know that they are like everybody else. It’s not about human civilization, not about localization, we are
speaking of the human species, the human animal.
I think, and some important biologists like T. H. Huxley, that we have no special intelligence (we are not smarter
than the animals), what characterizes us is imagination.
How to be open to imagination and how to make understand that everybody has imagination? It’s not a
privileged ground. That’s the project, into which all the part projects can converge forming something whole.
Prehistoric man invented the language, I am speaking about inventing a language now, and this is very
important and is in what the foundation should be specialised, it should be open for different actions.
This is what I’m trying to propose, an operation on the democratization of imagination. I think of No Man’s
Land as a land of imagination open to everybody.
And I think that there are many people like Schwitters, people who discover, who imagine and I want to give
them the possibility to materialize that imagination. This is the secret: this objective doesn’t need much financial
investment, it needs much imagination. No Man’s Land is open to everybody and everybody can do it.
And in all my jobs this was my guide concept: if I’m doing it, can everybody else do it? Yes? Then it’s ok. If it
creates an exclusion, it’s a wrong idea. That’s what I can contribute to the committee.
I think it is a very simple thing to tell somebody that an idea is good. Not to reject it because of domination
instinct. We have to encourage all the good ideas.
I think your foundation can publish a public appeal as I did in MAXXI, for the others coming with their ideas
in the “plastic bags” and making a queue, and telling why did they bring this idea.
The fame of the name of an author shouldn’t influence
the judgment of the content. (Negative example: publishers don’t read the manuscripts if they don’t already know the name of the author).
This opening and no exclusion
this is the point: all the artistic and the scientific movements exclude the others.
This kind of organization as No Man’s Land is perfect because it has no complicated juridical statues.


Fondazione No Man’s Land
Via Giacomo Acerbo 1 – 65014 Loreto Aprutino (PE)- C.F. 91140550681
recapito postale/post address: Via Conte Verde, 15 – 00185 Roma (Italy) –





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