Philosophy festival looks at love in 21st century

1.5 mln people expected in Modena, Carpi, Sassuolo

Philosophy festival looks at love in 21st century

(By Sandra Cordon). Rome, July 2 - Italy's annual philosophy festival will ponder the nature of love through more than 200 discussions, lectures, and presentations this fall. This year marks the 13th annual iteration of the Philosophy Festival at some 40 venues in the cities of Modena, Carpi and Sassuolo in the northern Emilia-Romagna region. From September 13 to 15, the theme 'Loving' will be discussed and debated by an expected 1.5 million guests - a significant increase from the 34,000 who took part in the first event in 2001. Teens and young adults from high schools and universities across Italy will join with some of the world's leading thinkers on the subject of love. The topic of love and all of its meanings is far broader than what has been reflected in the best-seller lists in the past few years, notably in the 50 Shades of Grey series of novels, says Remo Bodei, head of the organising committee. "Love and passion constitute the human experience," of loving, but there is "much more to grasp", said Bodei. From the world's view of love across centuries and continents, throughout literature and theatre, to iconography, modern cinema and photography - all are fodder for discussion and presentations during the festival. This philosophy festival will welcome its usual list of top-notch thinkers and intellectuals from the world, including British-based Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who has participated in the event in the past. Among those leading the classes are top Italian names, such as Massimo Cacciari, Enzo Bianchi and Michela Marzano, as well as famous international thinkers, who account for around a third of the event's special guests. France's Jean-Luc Nancy, Spain's Fernando Savater, Niles Eldredge of the US, Germany's Peter Sloterdijk and the Anglo-Hungarian Frank Furedi are among these. In addition to the main philosophical program, a host of collateral initiatives have been lined up, with literature readings, theatre, cinema, music and workshops for children. Almost 30 exhibitions have been timed to coincide with the festival, among which a retrospective of work by Japanese photographer Daido Mariyama and a tribute to the American composer and philosopher John Cage. Gourmands will also be catered to, with a series of 'philosophy meals' at 50 restaurants and wine bars designed to incorporate and promote discussion on symbolic ideas into delicious local specialty menus. Launched in 2000, the Philosophy Festival has far outstripped all expectations. It has also been a major cultural boost for Modena, a city more famous abroad for its balsamic vinegar, tortellini and the nearby Ferrari headquarters. "Because it's such an original idea, the philosophy festival has become a defining moment for our city," said Modena Mayor Giorgio Pighi. "It's something that everyone feels involved with". Past editions have addressed concepts such as memory, fantasy, humanity and the mind. For more information about the festival, visit

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