Transcultural Urban Re-Imaginings

Ephemeral and Participatory Art Interventions in the Macrolotto Zero Neighborhood

  • Matteo Dutto Monash University, Australia
  • Andrea Del Bono Western Sydney University, Australia
Keywords: public art, Prato (Italy), Chinatown, transcultural place-making, urban multiculturalism, urban culture(s)


The city of Prato is arguably one of the most widely studied multicultural urban contexts in Italy. Yet, in the analysis of the dynamics that enable this conceptualization of the city as a space of cultural complexity little attention has been paid to the way in which localized processes of transculturation have changed both the visual landscape of Prato, and how it is imagined and understood by the different people that call it home. This paper focuses on Macrolotto Zero, one of the city’s most multicultural neighborhoods particularly marked by decades of Chinese diasporic movements. It explores how processes of exchange/conflict between local and migrant residents, artistic collectives, activists and policy-makers have profoundly changed the way in which the neighborhood is imagined and conceptualized at a local, national and transnational level. Drawing from fieldwork, interviews with local artists and historical research on the neighborhood’s visual and aural changes, this paper argues that this historical industrial area of Prato has been undergoing an extensive process of re-imagining. This process has been driven by bottom-up participatory art interventions and by residents which have repositioned the neighborhood as a creative and innovative space of experimentation that testifies to intricate cross-cultural entanglements.

Author Biographies

Matteo Dutto, Monash University, Australia

Matteo Dutto is Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Monash University in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics. His research explores how cultural producers collaborate with Indigenous, migrant, and multi-ethnic communities to pro-duce transmedia and transcultural counter-narratives of belonging and identity. His work has been published in Studies in Documentary Film and Modern Italy. His first monograph Legacies of Indigenous Resistance was published by Peter Lang Oxford in 2019.

Andrea Del Bono, Western Sydney University, Australia

Andrea Del Bono is an independent researcher interested in the dynamic relations be-tween Chinese migration/settlement and processes of city-making. He obtained his PhD from the Institute for Culture and Society (Western Sydney University) in 2016 with a thesis entitled: ‘Chinese and Italian Place Brands in Contemporary Sydney: Assembling Ethnicity and/in the City.’ He is co-author of Chinatown Unbound: Trans-Asian Ur-banism in the Age of China, published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2019.