Sofia Bteibet, Italy

Images from the end of semester exhibition (December 2014)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Final Project Statement:


The distance to be bridged, thrust, goal, star, ambition, the desire that attracts you into a path to go.


Kilometers, meters, centimeters have no difference. Every millimeter seems infinite.

The wait.

Months, days, hours, minutes have no difference. Every second seems like an eternity.

Each smallness has a different weight when you wait, when you want to. Every detail turns.



Everything flows, everything changes, but small evasions, fragments of unreality, break and interrupt the elusive  routine bringing you back to the memories, dreams, where time and space do not exist anymore.



Warmth, intimacy, safety, peace, new discovery.



Sidus is a distance collaboration with my partner.

We want to talk about distance, expectation, desire as need and something that you don’t have, a lack, such as impulses and strides for reaching the goal.

We recreate an atmospheare intimate, dreamlike, unreal and uterale, with screenings on mirror films that create reflections and distort the images.

The video shown is the journey Milan-Florence, the distance that separates us, the audio is the buzz of the train itself.

These days, the work is also exhibited in Milan, in fact, the video would be two (round trip Milan Florence) but to talk once again of distance and separation we decided to break them down for the period of exposure to Siena.

Through the journey, the path and the wait is coming to bridge the gaps in order to find an intimate sensation.

Through the memories and the dreams that break, refract, and distort the daily routine, the distances are canceled.


67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko

With images of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko I found new shapes to create my own comet.The comets, so far away, capture our imagination, and for the first time in history, humans have arrived on a comet. This scientific achievement speaks of the desire to know, seek, and find new answers, and then ask new questions.I decided to develop a project in response using the medium of cyanotype.When the photosensitive surface is exposed to light, the image slowly appears in shades of cyan, blue: the color of the distance, of imagination, of dreams.

Snapshots from the Nov 14 Open Studio event at the Siena Art Institute:

Finalized Structures for the collaborative installation “Today is Tomorrow: The Future of Colle” in the Archeological Museum of Colle di Val d’Elsa:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Colle di Val d’Elsa is a very special village with a lot of history and with a very high percentile of immigrants in the city center (almost 14%, if we consider the national average of 9% we realize that the percentage is quite significant).
Last year a mosque was opened in Colle di Val d’Elsa, despite various problems that had delayed the project, and it has has become a cultural center for the Muslim community of Colle.
Inspired by the multi-ethnic character of the town and having noticed the distance between different cultures there, I decided to focus on this dynamic, creating a proposal for a spiritual place for the future of Colle di Val d’Elsa that is designed to foster dialogue and points of connection between the town’s different religions.

“SuperUtopian Holy Place” is a spiritual center for all religions and for all currents of thought. A spiritual place where people can take the time to reflect, learn, discuss, and meditate. 

In its architecture “SuperUtopian Holy Place” presents different archaic elements and shapes that always inspired more cultures from all over the world to find the spirituality in a sacred place; like the circle, the octagon,  life, charity, water, light and the orientation in the space connected with the cosmos.

“SuperUtopian Holy Place” is also characterized by the common principles of various religions that I tried to emphasize like life and charity.

In the center  there is the energy: a windmill blade that rises towards the sky provide energy building. 

Into the channel that will pass close the building a system inspired by the original mills in Colle di Val d’Elsa give energy to the building.

The “SuperUtopian Holy Place” is on four different levels: 

The ground floor is the space for the contemplation of the soul, for the spirit, for the prayer and for thought;

The first floor there is the library of different religions and beliefs where workshop and conferences can also be held;

The second floor is the canteen with food distribution for the poor, where everyone, even those who have no money, can eat a hot meal.  

On the roof there would be a communal vegetable garden, celebrating health, life, and rebirth. The vegetables from this garden are used for the food distribution in the canteen on the second floor.

The goal of this project is to bring a message of peace and togetherness reflecting on the common points of different religions and cultures.

I hope for a future where religions and schools of thought can be sources of inspiration and mutual comparison for constant enrichment of the collective, not pretexts for wars with other purposes and mass manipulation … but I insist on the word “SuperUtopian” because unfortunately this idyllic vision of the future is still very far away.


Il mio progetto è il “Luogo Santo SuperUtopico” per tutte le religioni e per tutte le correnti di pensiero. Un luogo spirituale dove ognuno può prendere il suo tempo e parlare al suo Dio.

Nella sua architettura “Luogo Santo SuperUtopico” presenta diversi elementi arcaici e forme che da sempre hanno ispirato più culture provenienti da tutto il mondo per trovare la spiritualità nel loro luogo santo; ad esempio la verticalità come tentativo di arrivare al cielo,  il cerchio, l’ottagono, l’acqua, la luce e l’orientamento nello spazio collegato con il cosmo.

“Luogo Santo SuperUtopico” è caratterizzato anche da principi comuni di diverse religioni che ho cercato di esaltare come la vita e la carità.

Al centro c’è l’energia: una pala eolica che sale verso il cielo per fornire energia pulita all’edificio.

Anche un sistema di mulini inspirato agli originali mulini a Colle Val d’Elsa provvede a dare energia all’edificio e agli spazi circostanti.

“Luogo Santo Superutopico” si sviluppa su quattro livelli:

Al piano terra vi è lo spazio per la contemplazione dell’anima, per lo spirito, per la preghiera e per il pensiero.

Al primo piano si trova la biblioteca delle diverse religioni e credenze, dove possono aver luogo anche workshop e conferenze;

Al secondo piano vi è la mensa con il diritto al cibo, dove chiunque, anche chi non ha soldi, può mangiare un pasto caldo e sano.

Sul tetto vi è un orto comune per dare valore alla vita e alla rinascita. Le verdure dell’orto sono destinate alla mensa.

L’obiettivo di questo progetto è quello di portare un messaggio di pace per riflettere sui punti comuni delle diverse religioni e culture.

Spero che in un futuro le religioni e le correnti di pensiero possano essere fonti di ispirazione e confronto reciproco per un costante arricchimento collettivo, non pretesti per guerre con altri fini e strumentalizzazioni di massa…insisto però sulla parola “SuperUtopico” perchè purtroppo questo futuro è ancora molto lontano.



Work-In-Progress, collaborative installation “Today is Tomorrow: The Future of Colle.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Oct 20, 2014:  Fifth Reading Response:

The reading (“The Blue of Distance” from Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost) let me think about the importance of memory in the things.

Many times the memory become the thing itself. We can’t know many places, objects and people, sometimes they no longer exist, but anyway we can live them in the other memories.
For this reason, when you work on a territory, it’s very important to study a place, the history and talk with  people who live in that place.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oct 13, 2014:  Project Statement, “Today is Tomorrow: The Future of Colle”

For my project I want to build an utopian cathedral for all religions and for all currents of thought. A spiritual place where everyone can take his time. In its architecture the Cathedral presents different archaic elements and shapes that always inspired more cultures from all over the world to find the spiritualty in his holy place; like the circle, the octagon, life, water, light and the orientation in the space connected with the cosmo.

The center would have the energy: an eolicha blade that rises towards the sky provide energy building.

The utopian Cathedral would be on three differents levels: the ground floor would be the space for the contemplation of the soul, for the spirit, for the prayer or just for think;

The first floor would have the library of different religions and beliefs where can do also workshop and conferences;

The second floor would have the canteen with the right to food; on the roof there would be a common vegetable garden.

There will be an irrigation system, from the roof to the ground floor, which will feed the vertical garden on the exterior walls, connected to the channal that will pass close the building and will give energy to the building with a system inspirated by the original mills in Colle Val d’Elsa.

The goal of this project is to reflect about all the common points of different religions and cultures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oct 8, 2014: Fourth Reading Response:  Questions for Prof. Ulivieri on Vernacular Architecture

Could you talk about  recurring numbers in the vernacular architectures and in the different cultures?

Do you think there are elements of vernacular architectures in the contemporary buildings?

Sept 23, 2014:  Third Reading Response:

The project with Wafa Hourani makes me think of our world in the future and try to imagine how it will be.

Indeed, I am doing different researches about the future. For example, the Global Footprint Network (an association that collaborates with various institutions and international personalities in order to investigate the consumption of the population and the capacity of our planet) has calculated the future datas of the Earth. According to their statistics if we continue to consume the planet’s resources as we are doing, in 2030 already we would need two planets Earth to satisfy the world demand (for more info


I think it is an important data to know when you think of the future of Colle Val d’Elsa. I can imagine this land in few decades, in a world with more and more people of different cultures and religions, living with types of energy other than gasoline, which will probably come to an end. In this context each house will have its own vegetable garden and increasing migration flows will move towards the ‘resources chase’.

Yes, we can’t avoid to be critical, but we have to do it with some optimism:, it may be difficult but it is necessary.

I was very impressed by what Thea Brejzen wrote about the desire: “Etymologically, desire points us to the stars, to heavenly  bodies, to unobtainable places (desire, from desiderare, middle latin sidus – star, costellation, heavenly body). […] Desire has predominantly been regarded as originating from a negative outset and resulting in a negative outcome. That, what is desired can never be obtained, desire cannot be fulfilled.”

The desire starts since remoteness, from a lack, in fact the meaning is derived from star.

It is not important if the desire can never be obtained, the real role of desire is to give us the reason for research, for endless effort and for change. More the desire is impossible, more the things we can do are  impossible, also if we do not satisfy the desire.

The desire is a time machine and projects our hope into the future.

Sept 17, 2014: Second Reading Response: 

I get lost often in the city, I love it, the Derive. I try to notice every detail. Even in my city often I pretend i’ve never seen it, everytime I discover new things. I think it’s an exercise that everyone should do. 

I also agree with the thought of Chtcheglov “We are bored in the city, there is no longer any Temple of the Sun.” The “banalization” of all is making us forget the legends and traditions of the places making every place a place without history, without characteristic, without the sun.

The Certeau’s difference between voyeur and walker lets ​​me think about the Government of the Nine here in Siena; the rulers of the city couldn’t get out of the Palazzo Pubblico to avoid the risk of being corrupt. By the frescoes and the documents handed down over the centuries, until today it seems that they had understood the benefits of good governance with tolerance, peace, and justice.  But how can that work for the common good of its citizens a government that doesn’t live the city?

Even today, the population and the powerful live different stories, but today the benefits of good governance have no importance.  The great powers of the world live another life, legislate, govern and act just for their personal interests. They are able to kill, bombing and torture for their economic purposes.

It’s true that every story told automatically excludes all the untold stories, and it’s easier for the media, influenced by the States, to mold the people; they can decide in which history or in which particular instance to give more resonance and what they hide. 

In any case, each story must be told, transmitted, and heard, but with the awareness that it is not the only story out there, and that there are so many other stories we don’t tell and so many others that we don’t even know, maybe we could give less importance to trivial stories and be influenced less by the media.

Here in Siena, the life and the value of the Contrade are very important.  It is a long tradition that is still alive in the hearts of the citizens who love and care for their territory. The celebrations transform the streets of Siena in meeting places where you can  eat, dance, play instruments, have fun and play together.

There is a very strong relationship between the people and the urban city through actions and events that change the environment and have an impact on the experiences of individuals.  Thus, based on these concepts, the Contrade are perfect Psychogeography.


Sept 9, 2014: First Reading Response: 

I was born in a multicultural family with different religions, so I grew up crossing religion’s bounderies and I never experienced conflict, but we always mix both cultures and celebrate both with respect, taking inspiration and notions from both.

My grandparents and parents have crossed many boundaries and have ventured through many different territories to reach their final destination, and I admire their hard work and persistence.  They have taught me that no matter where I am in my life or what I am doing in my life I should always be confident to cross any boundaries or blocks in my path as they come.

I feel strongly connected to a forest that I have dreamed about many times.

It is a very special place for me because in this forest for the first time I have understood that I was dreaming and I could drive my dream. I have created this place.

Dreams are a source of inspiration for me, they are a very special place where I can do everything. I think that art is like a parenthesis of dream in reality, also with art you can do everything, you can feel and show to the people what you want. You can reflect upon yourself, about others, or about a problem, a reality, and situation that we could all change.

Luisa Bonesio in the document “Documento Commissione Epistemologica” about the territory said that “Territorio” from the latin could refer to verbs about agricultural activities such as: “terere, arare, triturare” (plowing); or “taurutorium”,  (land worked by the bulls). The possibe derivation is also very intersting, as it may come from the same roots of the word “terrore”. terror like “terreo”, “terrere”, “atterrire” which means to scare (refers to a defensive and hostile behavior).

The territory is a space, physical or mental, that you have and possess. It’s yours place because you build it and you made it on your own,  you take care of this place, you live there and you defend it.

But sometimes we should forget what we have to really understand what we truly have, and we should strive to be more hungry to learn new knowledge and experience from others.


Sofia Bteibet was born in Milan in 1990 to a Palestinian father and Italian-Greek mother.

She received her diploma in sculpture in Milan with high honors in 2013 and is currently enrolled in the program of Specialization in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera. In 2011 she pursued a course of study with Erasmus in Lisbon, Portugal.
Her works are often reflections on social issues and problems. She works with materials that are very fragile and ephemeral, using time as an element of her work. She plays with illusion to imagine different realities and rules. Precariousness and deception are the tools she uses to tell her stories and those of others.

She has had the opportunity to participate in several group exhibitions in Italy, Spain and Portugal. In 2013 she was selected among the artists Under 25 for the Arte Laguna Award.

One thought on “Sofia Bteibet, Italy

Leave a Reply