Please find below the transcription and English translation of the fourth online AMACI Study Day, promoted by AMACI with the support of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture


March 22, 2024






President of AMACI



Good morning. Good morning to one and all. I am Lorenzo

Balbi, president of AMACI, the Association of Museums

of Italian contemporary art. I would like to welcome you

to this fourth edition of this Online Study Day,

a project promoted by AMACI and titled The

Age of Museums – the Contemporary Art Museums as

Hub of Complexity.

This Online Study Day is possible thanks to the support

of the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity

of the Ministry of Culture and therefore, since the

programme this morning will be very full,

I’ll waste no time and immediately give the floor to

Fabio De Chirico, Director of the Second

Department of Contemporary Art of the Directorate-General

Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry

of Culture thanking him for joining us.





Director of the II Department of Contemporary Art of the Directorate-General Contemporary CreativitY, Ministry of Culture



Good morning. Good morning to everybody. Thank you Lorenzo.

I must say I am very pleased to introduce

the day with you. We have now

reached the fourth edition of our study days

after addressing issues

related to sustainability,

performance art, as well as precisely the

more complex issues that have been the topics

of these four meetings. Today, during this

fourth edition, we are here to reflect upon

the complexity of the

museum as an institution. I am also pleased

that today we will focus on the topic

of time, precisely at a time of

great transformation for our society,

while also considering the

revision, as of 2022, of the definition given, by ICOM to

museum institutions, immediately

after the pandemic

that even totally transformed our

modes of interaction and our interpersonal relationships.

I am glad that this

day also shifts attention to another

topic, namely the issue of museum audiences.

The Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity

together with AMACI has always focused attention,

since its establishment, to issues that

relate not only, let's say,

to modes of presenting, of experiencing

contemporary art, but obviously also to

issues related to the re-semantization of

places dedicated to contemporary works.

I believe that today this can allow us to

delve into these issues, which I think are

extremely important. What also seems relevant to me,

so I’ll dwell for a moment on a specific issue.

All this is very

critical at a time when

artificial intelligence is raising questions

about rethinking the

functions, , the roles and also the dynamics

that museums, as it were, set in motion within

their remits. I am pleased to emphasize

one point: the issues that will be addressed today

which are in my opinion very important, made me

think about what happened after

1975 when the Beaubourg was created. Much was said in

those years, a great cultural debate developed

about the function of museums, and perhaps Beaubourg was

the first complex museum, the first museum that

in contemporary times dealt with issues associated

with complexity. Well, back in those years there was

a lot of talk about the Beaubourg effect, referring

precisely to issues related to entertainment,

that is, what role a contemporary museum

was supposed to play in a society that in those

years was rapidly changing. And the fact that, for

the first time, a museum was opening itself up to being

also an entertainment space and was devoting

its activities to the time that was

the so-called leisure time of citizens,

of users, raised many cultural and sociological issues.

This led to reconsidering

the fact that the museum was being distorted in its

scientific functions and in its laboratory-like approach

to the issues of

contemporaneity. Well today it is clear that

in those years the situation, which was shifting

toward postmodernity, opened up, as it were, many

many spaces for reflection in a society that

was obviously very different from our own,

where instead time has become so

frenetic and where interactions

of audiences with images and with works

are also extremely diverse and

complex and have changed, so it made me think back

precisely to that very period because it was a really

pivotal time in contemporary museology.

Another issue that I think is very important

we place at the centre of our reflection, is the issue

of caring for its territories and

audiences. Clearly, if a museum wishes to

continue to be

a meaningful and relevant institution in

contemporary society, it must inevitably face

the issue of caring for its audiences, and

this seems to me an important fact. Above all

it seems important to me to emphasize the

relationship, first and foremost, with its territories, over and

above with its diversified audience. I believe that this

is an issue that museums face

on a daily basis. So these were a few, brief reflections

that I wanted to highlight, but I would

also briefly dwell on

the program we are pursuing

with AMACI, which is the

most important network of contemporary museums in Italy.

I am pleased that we

share compelling and escalating

project guidelines. I think we will also have

the opportunity to deepen and broaden

our collaboration. This is something we will be able to

address further in the

future. One last thing that I feel worth

mentioning, is that I am delighted that the opening†

presentation has been entrusted to a great thinker,

to a great scholar like Mauro Ceruti who is

one of the leading experts on complexity.

I believe it will be very interesting to understand the

subtitle he highlighted, namely the fact

that dealing with complexity is truly

a challenge for museums and is especially an ethical

imperative and an imperative where survival is concerned.

Therefore, as museums to back to reflect

on their meaning and

role in contemporary society,

cannot fail to address the issue of

complexity and all its facets.

I will stop at this point while also conveying the greetings of Director

Cappello who was unable to join us.

I also thank all our speakers.

Obviously, I thank our online audience

and I hope today will really be

an opportunity for reflection and insight

into the issues that are of utmost

strategic importance for us. Thank you and back to you now.





President of AMACI



Thank you, thank you very much to Director De

Chirico together with the Directorate-General of Contemporary

Creativity. This is the fourth

AMACI Study Day. As the Director said,

AMACI is the Association of public Museums of

Italian Contemporary Art. It gathers

24 of Italy’s most important modern and

contemporary art museums: an association that

over the past few years has developed

a precise focus on the production

of content, hence AMACI’s approach

has been to devote deep-dive meetings

to the role and responsibility of

museums and cultural institutions in view of

the changes taking place in contemporary culture and

society. This is our commitment,

a commitment that we develop through

the Museum 21 conference platform, which has held

two major conferences, Museums at the Post-Digital Turn,

curated by Lorenzo Giusti and Nicola Ricciardi and held in Turin in 2017,

and more recently Museums at the Ecological Turn,

curated by AMACI and Nero and held in Bergamo in 2023.

These events are part of AMACI’s platform. The other system AMACI

uses to obtain in-depth insights related to the

role of museums’ responsibilities are the online study days

As the director said, we have now come to

the fourth study day. The first one was

in 2021 and was dedicated to the theme

of contemporary art museums and

copyright, an overview of collaboration

based on AMACI's experience with the RAAM Archive,

curated by Andrea Pizzi and AMACI. The second was held

in 2022 and titled Cogli

l’attimo (Seize the Day), a Study Day on performance and

its presence in Italy’s museum

archival collections, curated by Marcella Beccaria.

Last year, in

2023, a Study Day focused on sustainability issues and

titled Contemporary art museums and†

sustainable development: a necessary practice

curated by Marcella Beccaria and Henry McGhie.

This year, as said earlier,

together with the

AMACI assembly and board of directors, we chose to dedicate this

Study Day to The Age of the Museum. The Contemporary Art Museum

as a focal point of complexity.

Today will consider the profound

changes that have affected museums,

their mission, their way of operating, including their

need to reconcile the lengthy times required by

research and training with the highly

accelerated time of contemporary communication

and information. These reflections obviously also are based

on ICOM’s international definition

of a museum, revised in 2022, and factors in

the expanding functions of museum institutions, ranging

from conservation to

educational activities, to participation and

knowledge sharing, to organising

entertainment activities for the

pleasure and entertainment of visitors. It is precisely the

topic of producing culture and the difference

between culture and entertainment that will underlie the

reflections that we attempt to pursue today.

This Study Day is actually intended to be a

reflection on the real or apparent dichotomy that

comes from the vision of museums conceived of both as

places in which to articulate of thought, debate,

discussion, as well as places of entertainment.

Today we will have the opportunity to address these issues

with experts also touching on some central aspects

of cultural planning. Together with the

AMACI board, and therefore including my

colleagues Marcella Beccaria, Elisabetta Barisoni,

Caterina Riva and Emma Zanella we decided

to structure this day around three sessions

which will be explaining in detail. The

first will be dedicated to the topic of education or edutainment, the

second to the theme of acceleration or

slowing down, and the third to the theme of

accessibility and co-design. These three sessions

will then be followed by a concluding session

held by Marcella Beccaria. Let me give you

some practical information before we start.

As has already been said, the day

has been organised thanks to the support of the

of the General-Directorate for Contemporary Creativity

of the Ministry of Culture, and we therefore thank

Director General, Angelo Piero

Cappello and Fabrizio De Chirico, Director

of the Second Contemporary Art Department, and thanks to the curation

of the AMACI board of directors. I also wish to thank

all the speakers who have

agreed to contribute to this day. We will also

be accompanied by two sign language interpreters,

who you and already see at work, Paola Castelletti and Maria

Chiara Sinibaldi. I thank them too as also

Paolo Faccini for the technical part of the organisation. As you may have noticed

this online day program is

illustrated by Elisa Nocentini who created

elements included in our

communication graphics, curated by Parco Studio.

As far as AMACI is concerned, I must thank Secretary General

Greta Gelmini, project manager Caterina Sartor,

Lara Facco's press office and social

media manager Roberto Bianchi. I would also mention that

this initiative has obtained the patronage of the

Italian Representation to the European Commission,

the Senate of the Republic, the Chamber

of Deputies, the Ministry of Culture,

the Conference of the Regions and Autonomous Provinces,

the UPI or Union of Italian Provinces, ANCI or

National Association of Italian Municipalities and

ICOM Italy. A recording of this Study Day

will be available in the coming weeks

at and on the YouTube channel of the

General-Directorate for Contemporary Creativity

of the Ministry of Culture. To obtain further information,

especially for students, to participate

or send comments you can email This is

a day centred on accessibility issues and, as

you see, we have provided a sign language interpretation service.

If you want to use automated Italian subtitles

They are available and can be activated on

your YouTube player.

That said, I don't want to waste any more time

and will briefly introduce the first presentation

that is more of a keynote speech, more of theoretical introduction

to the day that we felt was crucial.

The title of the day is The Age

of the museum. The Contemporary Art Museum

as a hub of complexity,

and we largely owe this title

to a discussion that

developed within the association after

a reflection on the issues of museum temporalities

and the inclusion in this reflection

of the studies and writings of Mauro

Ceruti. Mauro Ceruti is a philosopher, full professor

of Philosophy of Science at the IULM University of

Milan and is among the pioneers of the development of

complex thought. Through his research

he has been involved in the construction of an

international scientific community aimed at developing

an interdisciplinary epistemology of

complexity. His books have been translated

into many languages and have marked the philosophical debate

of the past 30 years. In particular

the reflections we shared

with the professor, from which we would like

start today’s Study Day,

are contained in this book

that Mario Ceruti wrote

with Francesco Bellucci, titled Inhabiting

Complexity. I will now give him the floor after reading

a very short excerpt in which Mauro Ceruti writes

"complexity is the word revelation of our time,

and contextually word versus time. Perhaps

we should say, even better, inactual word,

in the sense that Nietzsche attributed to the term

in his Inactual Considerations. That is, the idea

of a reality or cause that better than others

describes contemporaneity, takes hold in its own

time, but is perceived as inactual by

those who are bound by entrenched beliefs, which they

would like to continually reconfirm, even though

they are anachronistic. Firstly, the belief that

the world basically simple and one just has to

seek this invisible simplicity behind the

complexity of phenomena. Considered as being only apparent,

simplification was the way to achieve

the ideal of omniscience, constitutive element of the

modern tradition, and gradually and

progressively attain ultimate and in theory

complete knowledge, which would make the

world safe, manageable and predictable. Today, however

uncertainty, elusiveness and improbability are

gaining ground and enveloping us. The ideal of omniscience, with

its epistemological and methodological corollaries,

from Descartes onward, has governed knowledge and

human actions and has probably taken root more

deeply in the hemispheric dynamics of

our brain by forging cognitive attitudes

and emotional analytical attitudes further reinforced

by modern pedagogy. Now,

conversely, the complexification of the world

demands an aptitude for complex thinking.

Globalization demands a global attitude to thinking

Globalization and complexification

seem to be the two processes around which

all our problems revolve, all the unknowns of the

short, medium, and long-term future.” In

light of this I would now welcome

Mario Ceruti and ask him: is it therefore right to think

of the contemporary museum as a hub of

complexity? Is he already connected? Can you hear me?





Philosopher and theorist of complex thought



Good morning. Well, thank you, thank you for your

Introduction. It is an honour and also a great†

pleasure for me to take part in this conference,

this AMACI conference. I will go straight

to the point by saying that when Lorenzo Balbi

contacted me some time ago to ask whether I would

be available to make a short presentation, a

quarter of an hour or so, to introduce the

reflection proposed by this conference. Well, our exchange

Continued for quite a while

with a certain passion, a certain enthusiasm

and led us both to talk about Italo

Calvino whose 100th anniversary of his birth

we just finished celebrating in recent weeks.

And Italo Calvino gave a definition

in one of his now celebrated and still enlightening

prophetic American lectures, the ones

that were to have been his American lectures,

in which he expounded his poetics of the

contemporary novel. I

like to start precisely from here to take up the

thread of the discussion with Lorenzo Balbi

that brought. He defined the novel and defined

the contemporary novel as an encyclopaedia, as

method of knowledge and especially as a network of

connections le between facts, between people, between

the things of the world. But what encyclopaedia,

what method of knowledge, what network inspires the

novel to be the contemporary novel? Well,

in that same

lesson, “Multiplicity”, the last of the five lessons

dated 1985, Calvino wrote and clarified

this term. Actually, Calvino helped me, as a young

undergraduate student, in writing my thesis.

His advice was really

invaluable by introducing me to what was then

a heretical approach and minority position

within late 20th century scientific philosophical reflection.

Calvino, in his clarifying

his idea of the contemporary novel

as an encyclopaedia, as a method of knowledge and

as a network of connections between facts, people and

the things of the world, wrote that the task of the contemporary novel

was to represent the world, and I

read further "as a garble, without mitigating its

its inextricable complexity, or better,

the simultaneous presence of the most heterogeneous elements

combine to determine it."

Truly enlightening words. Calvino was

sensitive to overcoming the fictitious division

between the two cultures, the humanistic and the

scientific, and adopted what presented itself

now as the key word, the key category,

the crucial idea of contemporary science

and its epistemology. Notably, complexity.

And it is precisely in this initial dialogue with

Lorenzo Balbi that I thought I’d start

this very brief reflection taking my cue

from the literature and to then develop

a few scientific, epistemological reflections

and move on to the world and age of the

museum. And this philosophy lends itself very

well to a discourse on the Museum as a hub of

complexity, to a reflection on the age of the

museum in the age that I like to call the age

of complexity, precisely because

this philosophy sees the world as a system of

Systems, in which each individual system conditions the†

others and is conditioned by them. And the system of Art is

a complex system, as it is now theorized,

practiced and experienced by its multiple and

complementary and, sometimes, antagonistic competitors

So I’ll start precisely from

Lorenzo Balbi’s introduction, his

long quote. Complexity is the crucial idea

of contemporary science. Since the

last century it has radically transformed

our view of the universe, our view

of life and the world, but the attitude to

simplify is so ingrained in our

culture, in our minds, that it is even

difficult to day, despite decades of

practicing complexity through scientific research

to this day it is still difficult to conceive it,

see it complexity. To understand this

we must understand that we are the heirs

of a cultural tradition that has us

accustomed to seeing complexity, one might say,

like fog to be dissipated, as dissipated fog

through which we would finally see things

in their simplicity and linearity. We would see, as

French epistemologists used to say, le

dieu caché, the hidden god, i.e. a

small nucleus of simple necessitarian laws,

necessitating, prescriptive laws that provide the world

with order through the prescriptions of linear causality.

So the idea would be, according to this view, which

has become very entrenched and become common sense,

the idea would be to separate the wheat from the chaff,

the accidental from the essential. It is this

idea has guided the epistemology, the method, as

Calvino would say, of modern classical science

and also guided its great

successes across the 17th, 18th, 19th and largely

part of the 20th century, which built

our modern world. And this idea is based,

allow me a rather “lyophilised” consideration,

after which, each of us, each of you

will dissolve this lyophilised idea in your own environment,

hoping that it will produce a slight, meaningful aroma.

This idea is based on two

principles. The first principle is nature, the world.

Nature is a complicated mechanism, very complicated,

made of component parts that are themselves complicated

very complicated mechanisms, and the properties of a

complicated mechanism, recites modern epistemology,

can be traced, sometimes with great

difficulty, to the sum or combination of the

properties of its individual component parts.

For example, a Jumbo is a complicated mechanism,

however, it can be broken down into its

parts and then reassembled. The second principle

of this modern classical idea is that the

human mind, man, is external to nature and

therefore, in principle, capable of knowing it in a way that is always

more objective and complete, hence

making it increasingly predictable and controllable.

So what is uncertainty, what is probability,

what is the unpredictability that we are kind of condemned to

in terms of our knowledge? Well, they are thought to be

only due to limits, to the more or less provisional

nature of our theories, of our

knowledge, of our ways of observing the

our worlds. So, this view justifies, to

take a metaphorical cue from

Calvino’s quote, the idea of an encyclopaedia

as an accumulation of knowledge over

time, a time that is progressive, and is progressive

in a linear way, by accumulation. An accumulation

that is an encyclopaedia that expresses some sort

of panoramic view obtained by

flying over the world. So this cumulative idea

of an encyclopaedia and this simplifying, analytical idea of the

method unquestionable ensured

the extraordinary achievements of modern science,

which has been the science of the mesocosm i.e., those

dimensions of the cosmos attainable by our

five senses and by technological extensions.

This cumulative idea of encyclopaedias,

this simplifying idea of the method, indeed, had already experienced

a crisis during the last century, actually

already during the first half of the last century

due to the effects of the same scientific advances

that developed based on these

assumptions but which, at a given point, discovered

dimensions of the world that couldn’t be attributed to this

idea of a complicated mechanism that could be decomposed

into parts to be studied separately, reassembled,

etc. etc. Quantum physics,

already back in the 1920s and 1930s,

exactly a century ago, had challenged

this aesthetic and implicitly modern epistemology

too. Today it is hard sciences,

natural sciences that tell us that most

natural worlds are not complicated mechanisms

but complex systems, whose characteristics,

whose behaviours cannot be explained, are not

deducible or derivable by studying

of their single component parts, a separate study

of these individual parts. Why?

Well because the characteristics, the behaviours of a

complex system are produced, i.e. they emerge. So

in the scientific literature, this is the crucial term,

emergence, they emerge over time

through the relationships and interactions between the

parts. A complex system, as we now often

say, is not the sum of its individual parts, it is

something more but also something different, something

original, something that evolves and emerges in a way

that cannot be predicted in a linear way from its premises,

continuously through the unending interactions among its parts

over time, as for instance

in the case of an organism. A complex world is a world in

continuous becoming, it is an uncertain world, therefore not

perfectly controllable and predictable. Well,

based on this very simple, initial epistemological idea

of complexity, we

can say that to enter

the world of complexity we need to understand that

the opposite of complexity is not simplicity:

it is complication. Complication is the opposite of

complex for the reasons I just mentioned.

So it is from this perspective that we can

understand how today a new human condition is also emerging,

as illustrated so well

by De Chirico in his introduction.

And this is happening

through an unprecedented, simultaneous and very rapid,

very rapid growth of technological power and

planetary interdependence, which characterizes

the contemporary human condition. In

a global world everything is connected, everything is

interdependent with everything else, and this in a

continuous circularity in which each part is both

cause and effect simultaneously. It is what

we are experiencing today. In our

daily experience, in our local social experience

we also increasingly feel the interference

between multiple dimensions, the

technical, scientific, demographic, economic, social

psychological, aesthetic, religious, spiritual dimension. We sense

that is, the consequences that become part of our

experience, the increased global interdependencies

that therefore challenge us. And it is

this, the challenge of complexity, that also exists at a

socio-anthropological level, the challenge to understand that

problems cannot be analysed as if they became

manifest in isolation and as if they demand

standardised, simple, one-size-fits-all solutions. It is

what we are experiencing in these few,

very rapid, very dense years. It is what we are

living through the global crises of our

time: the pandemic, climate change, the

wars, which reveal to us,

most of the time negatively, and

force us to become aware of the

complexity of our time, of our world

in which precisely everything is related. And in a

complex world, in which everything is connected and every

local event can result in consequences

that are amplified on a global scale, a

microscopic and local event can trigger rapid

amplification processes to the point of producing macroscopic and

global effects and even transform

the status of the whole global system.

The art system, too, is not one of my

Competences. As Gregory

Bateson said, I don't want to tread on sacred ground that is not

within my competence, however, through this scheme, the art system

can be interpreted as

complex system and therefore a complex world that can

change in sudden and unpredictable ways. But, let me say,

today, even in our personal experience,

we sense something else even more radically

unprecedented, and it is no coincidence that many artists have

used this experience

and translated it into their projects. Human,

social, political, economic, technological changes, have substantial

and even irreversible environmental, physical, chemical and even

geological consequences, at significant local and global scales.

And because of this tangle of

inextricable complexity, as Calvino put it,

nature and society have become one,

so much so that geologists have proposed a new term

to denote a new era in the history

of the planet, not only in human history,

in the history of the planet: the Anthropocene. And with

the Anthropocene we realise we have lost forever

the possibility of distinguishing

between human history and natural history. The entrance

of the Anthropocene into this complex system

that is Gaia, well the entrance

of the Anthropocene abruptly reduces the difference

of magnitude between the time scale of

human history and the geochemical time scale,

to the point of being able to reverse

our environment, as we are experiencing directly

with climate chaos. Things could change today more

rapidly, much more rapidly than our

culture, despite being triggered by the

technological outcomes of our culture: power and

interdependence. So, I would say that at this time

of our maximum technological power and

planetary interdependence, we are led to

recognize that we are not, according to the principle

from which we started, which was instead the premise

of modern epistemology, we are not external to the

world we know, we are not external to the world

on which we act, but we are a part that interacts

with other parts. We know the world, what

we define the world, through these interactions,

that contribute to create the world that we know

and on which we act. We are like in an Escher drawing,

but it is not a trompe l'oeil, it is the age of complexity.

So what does complex mean? What does complexity mean

Well, in the way it is used in all the

Sciences, from thermodynamics, to non-equilibrium systems

and up to the social sciences, complex

is an adjective. Complexity is a noun that

comes from the Latin cumplectere: "plectere", intertwine

and "cum", together. To weave together repeatedly over

time. Complexity has led science

to introduce time, even

in nature. The complex world is the world

of the time of complexity and of the complexity

of the times of this world. Time that was the

great absentee in the dream of physics. Even

Albert Einstein, a revolutionary, scientist,

yet in the first half of the

last century when asked: "What is time?"

he answered: "Only an illusion." Once

we discover the simplicity of the laws

hidden behind the apparent complexity of

phenomena and time will dissolve, we will come to a

vision of a world in which everything is reversible and

and hence came the great

reintroduction of time in the very

citadel of temporality that claimed

be the mechanistic, physical vision

of the world. It takes time, a long time

for complexity to emerge, and I hope

this lyophilized statement evokes in each

of you, metaphorically, something of

of significance and meaning with respect

to the museum experience. Complexity

contains within itself a reference to multiplicity,

to unity, it sounds like an oxymoron, unitas multiplex,

but also to time. Complexity, we might say,

is a dance among many parts that needs

time to develop. A dance that creates a

world, from which a world emerges, a complex world.

If the dance ends, the continuous interaction produced

also, by contingencies, complexity ends.

But in view of the complexity of the

current human condition, I would start to make some

closing remarks. We are experiencing a deeper cultural crisis

a deep crisis of thought,

which is the deepest crisis of our time. Today

ignorance, and it's not just a lack of knowledge,

ignorance lurks mainly in the way

in which knowledge is produced and organized today.

Knowledge is increasingly specialized,

fragmented, accumulated. Of course, specialism

provides a great amount of extraordinary knowledge but

this fragmented knowledge is often

unable to grasp relevant problems that are

complex, that is, they consist of a multiplicity of

interconnected and non-separable aspects. And the approach of

simplistic thinking, is also, precisely from the aesthetic point of

view, one of the most serious problems

we face today because these ways of

thinking fractionalize what, in the reality of a

complex world, is intimately connected. Today every

panoramic view of the world, and this is a kind

of conclusion with which I try to create a

bridge towards the idea of the age of the museum as a hub

of complexity, the time of complexity. Today,

any panoramic view of the world has become not

only impossible but implausible. Just as

every simply cumulative organisation of knowledge

is fruitless and sterile and has become implausible.

Every possible organisation

of knowledge, any encyclopaedic project, and I close

with the words with which I began, can only be unravelled

by following paths and

disciplinary thematic aggregations from within. In other words, every

encyclopaedic project today, contains within its

core, has within itself, a component of strong

positivity, of strong creativity. Every project of a

museum as a hub of complexity, as museum directors know

brings with it a strong

creative, not simply cumulative

and conservative, component. That is why the encyclopaedia returns

to the roots, the encyclopaedia is synonymous with the museum,

the encyclopaedia goes back to the deepest roots

of its etymology, Enkyklios paidea according to the

Greeks, that is, a learning of how to articulate disjointed points of

view of knowledge in an active cycle:

learning that makes knowledge circulate.

And it is precisely in this sense that one can then speak

of a museum as a hub of complexity, as an encyclopaedia

museum. Museums, museum directors, I

would to talk about this in the future, you don't

merely accumulate and catalogue objects for safekeeping.

Whoever runs a museum organises it so that a given

item is experienced as being the centre of

a network of relationships. This aesthetic experience

of multiplicity, of the complexity to which an object that is apparently isolated refers,

is an effective metaphor,

I like to say, of the knowledge of

Things, with the infinite past and future relations,

the real and possible relations that converge in them. Hence,

entering a museum today must become

an opportunity to adventure into

the kind of knowledge that accepts the challenge of the age

of complexity. Thank you for your attention.





Education or edutainment?




Art Historian and Director of the Museo MA*GA



Thank you. Thank you, professor Ceruti, for

opening this study day, for throwing a

bridge to us, museum directors, and also for having

highlighted some reflections

that will guide the remaining interventions of the

day. I apologise for such a tight agenda but we really have

an tightly packed lineup of

interventions. We hope to have you with us

on other occasions and I open this first session

devoted to education or edutainment with Cristian

Greco, Egyptologist and director of the Egyptian Museum in

Turin, and Andrea Viliani, art historian,

curator and director of the Museum of Civilizations

in Rome. I naturally greet them both and thank them for

their participation. We will also start with

some quick considerations and, first of all,

I will echo the words of our previous speakers.

Yes, a museum is a place of complexity.

Far from being a simple custodian

of objects, works, sculptures that are silent and

untouchable, which is an approach that no one now

can sustain any longer within museums, rather,

quite the opposite, the museum presents itself first of all,

especially in recent decades

as a research centre. A dynamic research centre

whose historical, artistic,

anthropological, scientific, pedagogical studies, foster

and support the deep knowledge of what we

so carefully preserve and value:

the narration of people, stories, artists,

and geographies too, which naturally support

memory, because the museum is memory, with all

its evocative power. And thanks to research, to

structured research, museums talk, they talk to

audiences, they open dialogues with people, because.

we live to welcome and relate with

people. And from this point of view, the museum

is also clearly presents itself as an participatory institution,

that is capable of calling the community

to an active role. It offers itself as a place of

civil coexistence in which one can reflect on

history and naturally also design future visions.

It is open to cultural comparisons, to

the urgency of the present. In a nutshell, it encourages

community participation, dialogue and inclusion in every way.

These are features

that will turn out to be, as it were, the subject of the whole

the morning, of all the sessions that we have

on our agenda. Between these two aspects, research

and participation, there would appear to be a

fracture, a dichotomy, which is clearly inherent to

complex phenomena. Participation, education

and research are, conversely, closely connected aspects for us all.

One does not communicate the museum

without scientificity, without study, without an in-depth

understanding of the reasons behind the collections of the

institutions of which we are conservators and custodians.

On the other hand, one cannot communicate the museum without

being open to educational projects

that know how to speak to the broader public, to the

audiences who visit our institutions.

And so the logics, I would say, of inclusion, of

audience involvement, have, in these

decades, two decades especially, opened up interesting perspectives

by allowing us to perfect

new tools, to experiment, to establish

relationships in how collections are interpreted, to

present them in non-unique ways, to detach them

from their, as it were, solemnity and to bring them closer to

to people, to narrate them in a different way

and sometimes, through the educational projects, to

push storytelling into the realm of edutainment,

i.e. a more or less articulated mix of education

and entertainment. We are thus drawing

a framework of great complexity in educational

and relational practice, and, in some

specific cases, even in contemporary artistic practice that

often acquires,

relational, participatory, and artistic functions, which are also

of great interest. Now the

Egyptian Museum in Turin, the Museum of Civilizations in Rome,

both represented here, are proponents of very courageous approaches

in the reinterpretation of their

collections, which are also contaminated by the present, by

contemporaneity, by the burning issues that we address every day.

These are supported and explained, in some

cases, by the gaze of contemporary artists who

enter the museum to interpret the objects we preserve

in a new, different and more problematic way

In Turin, for example,

the exhibition “Through Tutankhamun’s Eyes:

Alternative Perspectives on Egyptology," which

we all remember, or the " Invisible Archaeology”

project in Rome's Museum of Opacities, about which

Andrea Viliani will speak, are some of the

examples that invite us to reflect on†

cultural heritage through contemporary art.

So, I would start with the Egyptian Museum and

Cristian Greco, with a talk that Cristian

had to record for us yesterday because of

an unexpected institutional engagement that kept him

busy this morning. So we start with

his presentation and let's tap into the extensive

reflections that Greco will be offering, which relate to

the role of the museum in our contemporary age.

I ask the control room if we can

start Director Greco’s intervention.





Egyptologist and Director of the Egyptian Museum in Turin



Thank you, good morning and thank you for the invitation. I

apologize for not being able to be present today.

I will nevertheless try to share

a number of thoughts about the role of the

contemporary museum and the challenges that

our institutions have to face. I will try to

do so by showing you some cases where, let's say,

there is no solution but an incitement

since there are questions that museums try

to answer and very often they don't have any

solutions themselves. To try to understand in

which direction we are moving, let me

return to the definition of a museum as

it was attempted to be defined

in 2019 in Kyoto. Let's reread some passages together:

Museums are democratising, inclusive

and polyphonic spaces, for critical dialogue about the

pasts and the futures. Here, is this already a very important point,

I say this especially having the honour

of running an archaeological museum. We are not

simply focused on the past

but also on the future. The museum becomes a bridge, the

museum becomes the bridge between the generations,

past and future generations. Every

time I am lucky enough to hold an

object, I think of the person who conceived it, thought of it, to

how the object was used in the past, to when

the object was forgotten and lost, but I also think about

the curator who in 100.000 years time will hold it

in his hand. Here is the agency of the object and here is the

museum’s value: first and foremost a diachronic value,

becoming a bridge between generations. Recognizing

and addressing the conflicts and challenges of the present,

guarding objects and artifacts, preserving them

for society, they guard a variety of memories

for future generations and ensure equal

rights and equal access to heritage for all.

Again, a shared memory but a

memory that is declined in different ways.

Our societies, with their stratifications,

allow us to convey different messages. The

museum is the place to which the Republic, together with

libraries and archives, entrusts not only the

preservation but the creation of memory. Why

creation? Because we are not simply

spectators, we are actors, and through our

research and understanding of the object’s biography

we try to decline the meaning of

material culture for the many sections of

society. Here, then, in the museum there are

shared memories and sometimes, some

segments of society can even find even conflicting memories

In the museum. The

museum, therefore, must become a space of

dialogue, a safe space. The museum is the home of

everyone and is a place where different memories and frank and

and unprejudiced dialogue can

take place. Museums are not for profit,

they are participatory and transparent and work

in close collaboration with and for diverse

communities to collect, preserve, research,

interpret, expose, and enhance understanding

of the world by aiming to contribute to human dignity

and social justice, global equality, and

planetary well-being. And so, the question we

we ask is: is this museum that is becoming participatory

An alternative to the so-called research museum? Well,

in my mind absolutely not. The museum

now, as when it was born in the 4th

century BC in Athens, only has one weapon

to meet the challenges of the present, that is

research. The museum still continues to bear the

name Aristotle gave it: the museion

was a place where we know that students and

scholars met, a place of open and frank dialogue,

a place of research. We do not know

even if there were natural or artificial,

what we certainly know is that the

museum was a place for research. This model

so pleased Ptolemy 1st Soter that he

cloned the model in Alexandria and built a museion

next to the library. Here again we do not know

whether there were natural artificials and certainly

we know that it was a place of encounter, dialogue,

research, and research is the only way to create

a participatory museum. Research, because a museum

without research has no reason to exist. Allow me

to be a bit blasphemous, but a museum without research

risks being worse than a shop window

that is not redesigned. Even

store windows draws its vitality

from ever-changing production, which changes according to the

interests of the consumer. A museum without research

becomes a sum total of silent material culture.

A museum must continually renew itself in its

layouts and continually revise its

interpretations, because research is ongoing and the

physical interface of the museum in its relationship

with its audience, must factor this in. And

there is no participatory museum without research.

If we take the example of the Egyptian Museum, we can

say that the Egyptian Museum does and will always do research

vertically: it will do philological research,

linguistic, papyrological, archaeological, historical

artistic, historical, theological research into the history of

thought, but at the same time, since the museum

is not an isolated society, it will carry out research to create a connection

with its community, so I will also carry out sociological and anthropological research.

We need to know

the composition of the population of the community

in which we are embedded in order to find

ways of communication, we need pedagogical research.

How can we think of providing

educational initiatives if we do not have any

certain data and we do not know the composition of the

society and if we then fail to decline the data

into a relationship that leads us to develop

new forms of education. A museum needs

historians, philosophers, historians of contemporary thought.

How, for example, can we think of using

new technologies to dematerialize

our collections if we do not know how they

are then used within society, if we don't

find a way to use these

new technologies to make our collection

even more accessible? Here, the museum must avoid

what we see here to the left of the screen:

a 2016 work by Ali Cherri called Fragments Two.

Ali Cherri is a French-Lebanese artist. He is also

the artist-in-residence for the celebration of

the Egyptian Museum’s bicentennial this year. He already

exhibited at the Egyptian Museum in 2016. He is an artist who

is very much involved in archaeology, in the relationship

between archaeology and museums. In this work Fragments

Two, we see objects displayed on a backlit table.

The objects come from

Cyprus, from the Levant, from Palestine, from Syria,

Greece, Italy, Egypt, Peru,

and from Indonesia. You see that they are displayed on a

backlit table. The fact that they are

on a backlit table means that

these objects, in Ali Cherri's vision, are

taken from museums, they are isolated in their content,

they are stripped of their meaning

and become dead objects, devoid of any

biography, devoid of their history, devoid of the context in

in which they existed and, moreover, the bird of prey,

this Pharoah Eagle, in Ali Cherri’s view

represents precisely museums that take

objects, isolate them, put them in their

showcases and remove them from their life

and history. In the same vein,

Morehshin Allahyari who, shocked by the destruction of Daesh,

went to the Oriental Institute in Chicago,

studied excavation reports, took photos,

made a 3D model of an object, printed it out

and put a USB flash drive inside that object

The USB flash drive contains all of the following

information about the object: when

it was excavated, photographed, drawn, when it was

been published. It contains the biography of the object.

So that is that biography and what the objects

have, that each object has, that we, in the museum,

have an obligation to investigate, to study,

and to make visible to our visitors.

Therefore, the Egyptian Museum has created a tour

which we have called “Invisible Archaeology”

starting from this idea: “What is research, how

we can visualize research and how can we

share it." So, we tried to

show what searching our archives means:

14,000 unpublished photographic plates, why it is we go

on digs, how we document the excavations through

photogrammetry, we explain stratigraphy,

photogrammetry, documentation. We have

posed ethical problems such as the unwrapping of human remains.

This is the unwrapping of the mummy of

Merit, wife of Kha, imy-ra kat nesu, and also the copies

of the jewellery and amulets that covered the

body. We wondered how one can

capture the morphological characteristics

of an object, how can one study, for instance,

our organic collection, how

we can try to give a name to those who left no name,

because we have little knowledge about the

workshops of Ancient Egypt, we do not know the

artists, but by studying pigments we can

identify, for instance, the use of manganese black

versus carbon black, the use of different coats.

We were able to repair some restorations, to identify

inks used in the manuscripts, to

identify the various workshops and understand, for example,

how the sarcophagi were reused. Well,

this exhibition, which as you can see was intended to last

8 months, lasted instead 2 years. Obviously look at

the dates: it was the Covid period and therefore we

decided to extend the exhibition,

but more importantly we had incredible feedback.

The exhibition that was conceived

after an interview that I had in Berlin a few years

ago with the rector of the Humboldt-Universität.

Talking about sustainability, he wondered what sort of

sustainability a university could have today

if scientific publications are, on average,

read by five to ten people and he concluded: obviously

this will always have to exist, there will always have to

be the specificity of pure research that

cannot be limited in any way. But the

real research that universities must carry out, and museums

are at the forefront in this, is to connect

research results with a larger number and

broader range of people Here's what I see in museums

a huge periphery, a land to be conquered

that we have yet to all experience to the full.

What the universities calls the third mission, is not in the least

what is left over from educational research, it needs to

become central. We talk about sustainability

but let me, and I and go back to the tentative

definition of Museum, we also need to talk

about the meaning of democracy and dialogue. We

are indeed a presidium libertatis. Museums

are that place where we can enforce article

3.2 of the Constitution, the place where

obstacles to the harmonious development of

one’s personality are removed. Hence,

museums should not follow the easy path

of dumbing content, of speaking through

stereotypes. The invisible archaeology

you just saw described the research that we

do in the field, it described the issue of archaeological excavation

posed by the question: why does a museum

invest time, energy, and resources to do an excavation and

then publishes scientific articles, publishes

monographs, but doesn't present the excavation

in its entirety to its public. Why do we study

the stratification of sarcophagi, the fact that they

are reused? Why don't we find a way

to tell the public about it. So how do we find

ways to talk about research? Well, the

outcome was that the exhibition was very successful, that

the age of those who went to visit the exhibition

was lower. Lots of young people came

and that when we closed it there was a

huge protest, with people saying:

“but why did you close it? Why don't you continue with

this idea of narrating the biography of objects?”

So now, everything we had studied

for “Invisible Archaeology” has now become

something permanent and can be seen at the

museum. Moreover, on September 27th this year, the year

of our bicentennial, we will open a

new wing of the museum that will be called "Matter, the

shape of time," where we will showcase everything

we are doing. We will have an encyclopaedia

about wood, an encyclopaedia of the pigments of the

ancient world, we will have a vase collection, which will be a showcase on

two floors in which we will display all our

8,000 vases. We will also display the functionality

of pottery by explaining, for example,

archaeology and residue analysis.

Together with the

public and with institutions we had a debate about the ethics

of displaying human remains. What is a

virtual unwrapping? We also trying to explain

to our audience how there must

be a certain humility on the part of researchers, there must

be a Rubicon that cannot be crossed.

And this is something we have learnt by studying our

collection. Here you see a mummy,

a mummy belonging to Kha, imy-ra kat nesu,

who was in charge of the pharaoh's works during the period of

Amenhotep II. His tomb was discovered on February 15th

of 1906 by Ernesto Schiapparelli during

of the Italian archaeological mission to Egypt.

The entire trousseau, 467 artifacts, reached the

museum, and then Schiapparelli, in 1906, decided.

not to unwrap the mummy, and what you are

seeing now, you who are now about to come face

to face with Kha, you see the jewels that still adorn

his mummy, laid out according to

Chapter 156 of the Book of the Dead. We see that

he has the collar of Honour or

scebium gold around his neck. We see the heavy earrings,

we see the necklace with a scarab pendant

in a gold frame, which is

inscribed with chapters 30a and 30 b of the Book of the

Dead. We see the rings and we see all the other

amulets. Well, Schiapparelli never saw them

because he was so far-sighted, back in 1906, that he said:

there will come a day when we will be able to see

inside the mummy without damaging it.

And we must have the same humility today, because

when we carried out our analysis and saw

that the brain, cerebellum, bronchi,

lungs, liver, gallbladder, and spleen are still preserved, we too had to

stop. When various international universities

have asked us whether they could do

invasive tests to obtain some

soft parts of Ka's physiological organic tissues,

our answer has been no. But our answer also is:

develop research so that we can

perform remote endoscopies. And so the

sharing of our knowledge is what I place

at the centre of the museum’s activity. The

most important lesson that the museum can give is that there

there are simple answers to complex phenomena and

the museum does this through diachrony. The museum

is the place to encounter the other, the chronological other,

the other from the point of

point of view of geographical origins. The museum is the

place where we realize that our point

of view is not unique but can be relativized.

The museum is the place of complexity where less self-referential

museums must even have the courage

to say: I don't know. And this starts first and foremost

through the sharing of knowledge, through

conferences, like what we have been able to do

today, for which I am very pleased. A conference, a magazine

in HTML format that allows you to have

3D models and a substantial iconographic apparatus,

Or putting

our entire exhibited collection online, giving everyone

the opportunity, to use our iconographic heritage,

they wish in Creative Common Zero mode,

for whatever purpose.

Here is a book cover, it’s Nina

Simon’s book that talks specifically about the participatory museum.

You see a museum being conquered by those

who are trying to enter, not a separate fortress but

a museum that is not an isolated society but is a

part of society. To achieve this the museum can only

follow the path of research,

doing research, sharing knowledge,

finding ways to decline complex content

that can be accessible to everyone.

It is truly very complex. We need different narratives,

there cannot be a single narrative.

But that's the main role we have, we have

a very important function, as I said, of which

even Article 3.2 of the Constitution incorporates.

Hence the museum becomes a bridge,

the museum steps out of the museum. I want to show you

just one of our projects

as an explanatory model. The museum works with

cancer patients at the Regina Margherita children's hospital.

The kids kept asking us: but

could you also bring us objects? But this wasn’t

possible because we couldn't organize a

art transport every Monday and it was difficult

to have objects in storage in a place

that didn’t provide have all the features for the protection

and security of the exhibits. In any event,

the children asked for objects and the solution

came from somewhere else, that I would never have

expected, that is, from the Lo Russo

Cotugno penitentiary. I gave a lecture in the prison

and the inmates asked me: can we study

Ka's tomb for our high school graduation exam? I

said yes, and they began to make

perfect copies of the objects. They copied,

by hand, 14.50 metres of the papyrus of Kha’s Book of the Dead,

copying by hand in cursive, in cursive hieroglyphs

and hieratic. So what you see below are not

the real objects but they are objects produced by

the inmates. After that the kids at the

Regina Margherita wrote the captions.

of the objects under our guidance and thus

an exhibition was born, titled

Free to Learn that was held at

the House of Justice in Turin, and then went on

to the rest of Piedmont and Lombardy,

showing how a museum literally

can create bridges. And I’ll close with a project that

is very dear to us, which is the

I am Welcome project, based on the idea that the museum is a home

for everyone and that it does not need to opened. If the museum

is the place of our collective memory,

of our collective memories that are created

through research, through our questioning

the biography of objects, well then, the museum

must also give something back. So, once a year,

during the third week of June, we open with

an event titled I am

Welcome that we do not organise on our own. We work with

the seven choirs of the Polytechnic university,

with student associations, with

theatre groups, with the pastoral care for migrants,

and the event consists in saying to the city: Come

everyone, you are all welcome. The museum is yours.

None of the would be possible without

our volunteers. A party is held in the museum

and is a shared celebration. Everyone can enter

free of charge, and in this one evening, we try to really embrace

all our community. They enter

free of charge and we just ask them to leave us

a sign, and the sign is a post-it that we place

on our so-called welcome wall, where everyone can

leave their thoughts about the city in

we live in, about the complexity of society,

about what model of society we’d like to have and

how the museum can act as a voice for this

complex society. Hence, the museum does not

becomes an inaccessible place but becomes a place

to be participated in by everyone. The beautiful thing is that,

in addition to the various activities organized with

the volunteers I mentioned, with the choirs and

the student associations, we also hold

speed lectures in which our Egyptologists talk about

about their research, what they are doing on the ground.

The result of the initiative is amazing:

Sometimes, people who

come to the I am Welcome event for

the first time then come back. The other wonderful thing

is that this idea, which originated from the Egyptian Museum,

is now spreading and this year we hope

to be able to organise and I am welcome party in Genoa too, and

discussions are also currently underway with the National Archaeological Museum

Museum in Cagliari. So this is how the museum,

in my view, must always place research at its centre,

research becomes the keystone

to understand who we are, to understand

material culture, to anchor it to the

social fabric in which we are embedded,

to find means of communication

and involvement. Without research a

museum has absolutely no chance

of existing. I thank you and wish you a

successful continuation of this study day.

I apologize again for not being able

be take part in the debate. Good morning to you all.





Art Historian and Director of the Museo MA*GA



Good. Good morning once again. It is clear how Cristian

Greco sees research and sharing at the centre of the museum activity.

Sharing through

projects and narratives of different nature and breadth,

very different from each other, without, however,

I would emphasize, never diminishing the

content. And in this context, what is also clear is the

role of contemporary artists

called upon to provide their voice, their gaze

on the collections, on history, on the events

that led the

collections to reach museums. And this is precisely

one of the many points of connection with the Museum of

Civilizations, directed by Andrea Viliani, who has joined us

and whom I greet and thank for

his presence. And I would now give the floor to

Andrea to respond, starting from this point

which I think is one of the major ones of the many

innovations introduced under his directorship at the

Museum of Civilizations with specific projects which are also

related to contemporaneity. Andrea thank you, you

have the floor. Let's try to stay within our timeframe because we are

already running slightly late. Thank you.





Art Historian, curator and Director of the Museum of Roman Civilizations in Rome



Good morning

to everyone. Can you hear me? Yes, perfect.

Well, it is a great responsibility to speak

after Cristian Greco. What can I say, if any time

someone cannot participate yet he sends

this kind of contribution, you forgive him very

Willingly! Christian Greco is also the chairman

of a committee that in the last

year and a half, two years has accomplished important work

mapping assets and documents

of colonial provenance in all of our museums.

One of the reasons why the Museum of Civilizations

has been a part of the project is that in 2017 it inherited the

responsibility for the conservation, study, and thus

research, and also for the critical, narrative and

historical display of the collections of the former colonial museum

of Rome. But the mapping showed us something

very interesting: that there is not only a museum

for specifically named assets, but

that in fact these assets can even be present

in museums that do not even know they

hold such assets that are evidence, for example, of

this specific period, the colonial period.

The adventure we undertook was therefore

to look within our museums for the

narrative parts, the collection parts,

the parts of research that are not only real

but potential, that is, of which we are not, perhaps, aware

and the mapping was very interesting

from this point of view. Now why am I starting

from here? Because one of the challenges, shall we say

so, of a contemporary anthropological museum

like the Museum of Civilizations, is not

only to look at its own past but also

to verify its validity in real time in the

present. Anthropological museums were created

as a sequel to many other museums, they appeared with the

discipline of anthropology, and were created with the intent

of studying the forms of life and culture

all around the world, beyond

of the forms of life and culture that we consider

as the identity for a particular place, a

particular country, thus the so-called museum

of World cultures.

These world cultures are not cultures of the

world that we have known in a single way,

we have known them in different ways. Going from

one place to another has meant trade, has

meant relationships, it meant interactions, it

meant migrations, both as immigration and

as migration, it also meant colonialism.

An occupation that was first political and then de facto military.

Sorry, an occupation that was first military and

economic and then de facto political. This, however, is not obviously

the only way to learn about other cultures.

But it this one of these ways that the

Egyptian collections came from Egypt to Turin? How did the

African arts and cultures collections,

the American, Asian, Oceanian arrive at the

Ethnographic Luigi Pigorini prehistoric museum, which in 2016 was

Merged into the Museum of Civilizations? This

is a key part of that research work

that Cristian introduced and then

articulated by and is one of the restitutions

that we owe to our publics, not so much as

restitution of an asset from one country to another,

restitution is clearly a big issue, but

the goal of that committee was also to try

to understand what rightfully belongs to us and what

what might instead be challenged.

But restitution means first and foremost, in a accessibility key,

let’s call it that, restitution of

knowledge of the museum you decide to enter by

paying a ticket and having a cultural experience.

Are we are certain that we know our museums,

we are certain that our publics know

our museums? In the case of the Museum of Civilizations

the issue also arises because it consists of a

truly encyclopaedic museum: 2 million

works 50,000 square meters in the EUR district, one of the

largest districts in the southern area

of Rome. It is a museum that

must explain itself to the public precisely because it is a

recent museum, created in 2016, and because it is a museum

formed by six different museums that have joined together

through this merger. It is not always easily because

being encyclopaedic, unlike the many

museums where, we may have worked and where

many of the people who will be speaking today

work, it has no single discipline of reference.

It covers archaeology, anthropology,

earth sciences, history

of art, architecture, archivism,

librarianship, then the great, very important

world of diagnostics and restoration, which is

an integral part of that union between science

and humanistic culture described by our

first speaker. So, in fact it is a museum that must

attempt to face the discourse of

interdisciplinarity and multiculturalism as

a fragile, but probably indispensable inspiration

for its method and goal. The goal is not that of a

univocal museum that speaks only one language and that

addresses only one audience, but a plural museum

that takes into account the internal differentiation

of its collections and disciplines, and

which, however, seeks to become a unified museum.

The unitary nature of a Museum of World Cultures is

the very acceptance of pluriversality, of intersectionality,

the very acceptance of complexity, and thus

the daily willingness to mediate, to narrate this

complexity. A museum that in many ways must

also accept being literally invaded

by public opinion, by the different versions that

public opinion may have of this museum,

with the goal of becoming a parliament of

this public opinion. A place where no one

can claim to be right but everyone must be given

right to speak. And in that sense, I have

here, right next to me, a novel that was published last year

by Igiaba Scego, it's called Cassandra in Mogadishu.

I think this is the first time, at least as far as I am concerned,

that a museum where I work becomes the

theme of a chapter in a novel. The chapter

lies exactly in the middle of the book and is titled

Decolonial Interlude. The artist brings her

family, a family that has a more mature part

and a younger part, to visit this museum

which also houses colonial collections and also

African collections, so also the Somali collections.

Igiaba Scego is an artist, a writer

an Italian-Somali author. How can she explain

to her own family that has memories or has

lost memories, what this museum is and

what it means, for example, to find in a museum in

Rome, in EUR, evidence of one's culture,

of the culture of one’s mothers, one’s own

grandmothers, which in their own homeland, in their

own country of origin has disappeared. What does it mean

to have the feeling that one's homeland,

one's identity has ended up in the showcases or

in the storerooms of a museum, far from one's own

homeland. What can the museum do from this

point of view? How can it position from this point of

view? I think that what it has to do is precisely

to open itself to multiple interpretations

of the stories that audiences may see, or may not

see, depending their awareness of their

story and try to narrate all these

stories. That's why the first thing you have to do, I’ll start to wind up and perhaps

keep maybe a few seconds

to reflect, maybe with you Emma and

possibly with others, the first thing is to try above all

to explain how this museum was formed. For instance,

why that particular comb no longer exists

in Somalia and yet that that comb

was used by the more mature women

of the family with the younger women, to

hand down stories, to hand down culture, to hand down

the baton from one generation to the next. Yet that comb is here and

no longer there. So telling all these stories

means knowing the objects, trying to

study on provenances, biographies, and

create an approach that is historical on the one hand and

on the other is radically contemporary because,

as researchers know, when data are missing

in the archive perhaps there is a witness who is alive,

who speaks, who sees, and who is a living document to

reconstruct a story in a particular way

in a museum such as this, which in the context of the

contemporary age has precisely one of its most important audiences

in the so-called living communities, but also

one of its most important tools for research. An

anthropological object can speak, must speak

also through the narrative of

customs and interpretations. This means

it was interesting, for example, a few days

ago to host, Sônia Guajajara,

Minister of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil who visited our depositories and

saw our collections that have been derived

from different historical moments and she invited us to do

what we are actually already doing, that is to

continue to tell present-day stories about those

cultures because there might be the risk

of perceiving those cultures as extinct, as

something for a museum, while those cultures are still alive

and in some cases, as in the case of Amazonian populations,

they have a minister who asserts

that those cultures are alive, that they have the

right to live, they have a right to have their

land, their culture, their voice within

of the greater voice of the Brazilian nation.

So, in fact, being contemporary in this

museum means respecting precisely what

that this museum is. For me, as a contemporary scholar,

the difference between a contemporary art museum and

a museum of anthropology that is consciously and

responsibly a contemporary museum does not

arise because it means doing the same thing in

different ways, and that's why the museum has also

invited applications for six research positions, not artists,

six research positions, that is, six artists who

want to do research, who consider themselves

researchers, to investigate these stories, to tell

these stories and above all to provide methodologies

for approaches to how these stories can

be told: through museum displays,

through captions, through the pedagogical actions,

of workshop visits, through

communication. Six artists whom I will name briefly,

who currently have their role

of reminding the museum to be the museum

that it can, and must, be if it is to make an impact in

contemporaneity. That is, to move from its historical relevance to

relevance that is still contemporary, exactly

as it was when it was established, founding a

discipline, founding a new approach to

history and therefore verifying whether this can still be done today.

We are sharing this attempt with our

museum officials and with the six radically different

positions I mentioned earlier.

They are Maria Teresa Alves, Sammy Baloji, DAAR,

Colonizing Art and Architecture,

Karrabing Film & Art Collective, Gala Porras-Kim

and Bruna Esposito. Each of these positions

is surprising us and actually revealing things

that exist in the archives and

in the collections too, but that perhaps are not the

dominant or current narrative of this museum.

In that sense, and I'll close, in a few weeks’ time

we will be inaugurating a rearrangement of the

Asian collections that will thankfully offer masterpieces to the

public, masterpieces that for too long have not been

displayed by the Giuseppe Tucci National Museum of Oriental Art

and the Asian collections

of the Luigi Pigorini Prehistoric Ethnographic Museum.

There is already path titled

The Museum of Opacity which is dedicated to colonial collections.

Collections that were created, founded,

opened by Benito Mussolini in 1923 and were

were closed in 1971. So, it’s now 50 years

that these collections have not been open to

debate, to public opinion

that has the undeniable right to express

its ideas about these collections.

Many of the collections that the Museum of Civilizations

Inherited are collections that have been closed for decades,

collections that were placed in storage. I would be inclined to

say that, in many ways, certain parts of the Museum

of Civilizations are a huge Salon des Refusés

of a discipline, of the history of public memory.

Our duty then is not only

to tell this story, but first and foremost to

ensure it emerges, and the Museum of Opacity is

an exhibition that is a first attempt in this direction, a testing

ground to find a language, we could say.

Starting from its name.


has a meaning that is consciously

biunivocal. On the one hand the opacity of amnesia,

amnesia about the whole discourse of Italy’s colonial history.

Because without museums, without archives, without

scholarship, without exhibitions, themes cannot live on,

themes die in public opinion.

On the other hand, I’d refer to Edouard Glisson,

a Caribbean poet who came to Rome in 1959 for a

conference of black artist writers, and who wrote

that every man, every woman, every human being has

the right to opacity, understood as complexity

of one's identity, as the breadth of

one’s own identity, as the possibility of inheriting

from the past and at the same time of rethinking

the future, which is what we are trying to do

as Museum of World Cultures:

Trying to combine past, present and future,

The anthropic aspect and the multispecies aspect, respect,

appreciation of history but also the right to

speak about the fact that for history to be

such, it must be able to be the subject of discussion and debate.

Even prehistory, which is one of the cornerstones, or rather the

main cornerstone of our museum. I’ll close with

a well-known, but in my opinion nevertheless

always fascinating quote of Gustav

Mahler, which reminds us that

“Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire”,

and that is what, in my opinion, as a museum

dedicated to complexity every museum should

also be able to do with respect to the past.





Art Historian and Director of the Museo MA*GA



Well, thank you very much Andrea for your suggestions and

ideas, for the projects you illustrated in

such a short time. I think that, with the agreement of the

organisers, we should skip the 10-minute break

because there was a slight

delay at the beginning of the first session.

So I would give the floor to Elisabetta Barisoni

to open the second session, appropriately devoted to

speeding up or slowing down. We thank Christian Greco

and Andrea Viliani for their contributions to

this first session and hope you enjoy the rest of the day.





Speed up or slow down?



Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art



Here we are. Good morning, everyone. We are back for

the second session of today’s conference,

a session devoted to speeding up or slowing down.

I see Professor Andrea Moro is already online.

Good morning. Good morning. I would like to thank the

previous speakers, the fellow AMACI board members

and also all the members of the AMACI assembly.

I give a brief introduction to

our topic, which together with the board of directors we

thought to develop for today’s second session.

We considered the theme of Speed and

Slowdown in an effort to establish the

museum as a place for the slowing down of

visual and perceptual knowledge, a place where

the public can take its time to reflect

and understand processes and know, going back to

to the reflections I jotted down this

morning during the introductory remarks of

De Chirico, Ceruti and the colleagues who preceded us

in the first session one, precisely

the theme of garbles, Calvino’s garble,

that is processes. I liked this reference

made by Ceruti, precisely about the

world being a garble and the need there is to

express it as a garble in literature too.

Not to necessarily split it out and develop it in a

simple and straightforward way. We started from these

reflections and also considered what some

international museums do, as well as from the perspective of the

museums that are part of AMACI. For instance, the Louvre in

Paris is limiting its daily access

of visitors to ensure conservation

of the works but also to ensure and improve

visitors’ experience. What happens

within the museum, how much time does

the visitor need? So, for this second session

we have invited two speakers,

Professor Moro and Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev from

two different territories or disciplines that however, thinking back to

Calvino’s ideas, are not separated because

we are talking about the disciplines of linguistics and science which are ,

very relevant to the issue of museums. We now have Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev joining us.

Good morning. Welcome.

So these are the consideration that led us to organise

this second session, considerations that relate precisely to

this slowing down, which is also an idea of

non-performance or non-speed, in terms of obviously

not identifying the museum experience

only from the standpoint of the outcome or the

speed of the visit, i.e. the Louvre example I gave earlier,

and then, once again with respect to the themes of complexity,

there is also that of care. The care

of territories is a term that De Chirico mentioned

in his introduction. I took note of it

because the theme of the museum as a place of

study, research, education, archives and

libraries, also has to do with caring for

tangible and intangible heritage and one’s

territory. So I would like to introduce Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev,

a curator and museum director who is

among the most prominent international art critics.

In 2012 she was listed in Art Review's Power 100

ranking of the most

influential people in the art world, and up to 2023

she was the highly regarded director of the Castello

of Rivoli in Turin, as well as holding

several international and national curatorships.

I would ask you a first question for this

intervention of yours, for which I thank you. Could you tell us something, in

terms of your experience and also of your

thinking with respect to the Slow Museum, about the term

slowdown, on which you have worked,

reasoned and expressed yourself for many years.





Curator and Museum Director



Thank you for the invitation. This is an online conference

so I didn’t heard the previous

speakers because I only was able to access

a few minutes ago. So, I have the impression

that I will repeat some of the main things that you,

Elizabetta, summarized earlier and they are

things that I would have said as well, i.e. especially slowdown.

However as far as I can

attempt to contribute to this conversation,

I can tell you that when I used the term Slow

Museum for the Castello di Rivoli at the time of its

first reopening, on May 19, 2020,

and therefore, at the beginning, so to say, of the Covid period when we

thought the pandemic might be short-lived,

I used the term without knowing there was a book about it. Now, while

Googling to prepare for today’s talk, I saw

that in 2010, two authors, Vetere

and Ambusto had a book that was called Slow Museum

so clearly the term had already been

used. In any event regarding the Castello di Rivoli, to

which you referred, and about which I imagine you invited me today,

I used it obviously referring to the

Piedmont movement, that was created in Piedmont but became global,

that is called Slow Food. A movement founded by Carlo Petrini

in the 1980s. Petrini is a person who very dear to me and now

he is no longer president of Slow Food, but in any

event he responded very well to the need

to be local and global, realising that being Slow

is not just a matter of slowing down

experiences. Yes, of course, it takes longer to

cook Slow Food than fast food, but obviously

the thinking behind Slow Food and the Slow

Museum has to do with many other issues.

For example, one’s relationship with one’s surrounding

territory, being careful

not to import things and thus add climate crisis problems

due to the importation

of food or raw materials from distant countries, right?

Because even these hidden costs of the food economy

are very important. So, when I†

thought up the term Slow Museum, it had to do with

an idea of institutional ecology. It meant a

radical decrease in the transportation of art

and thus, of the costs of building wood crates

that are bad for the environment and of the overall

world of transporting these

crates for mega Blockbuster exhibitions. Having little time,

this is just a small detail,

however, it is a very obvious detail. The fact

of being able to experience and valorise territorial collections,

local exchanges, valorising

smaller museums across one’s territory,

might seem a kind of self-contained closure, but in

actual fact it is the new way of also dealing

a political, economic, social and generalised

drama, let’s call it that, faced by public museums, not only in

Italy but all over the world. Just think of the museum in

Rio that burned down in 2018 because the director

didn’t have €25,000 to refit the electrical system.

Think of the immense heritage that was lost, from prehistory

to the most important objects and materials of the

Latin American and pre-Columbian cultures to

all the Greco-Roman acquisitions that the museum contained,

all of it, gone up in flames.

So, there is the objective reality of a

world in which a minute percentage

of people own more than several national states.

Just think of Elon Musk who has

3,000 satellites. Italy, I think, only has three

or four. I am probably wrong, but I always overdo it when

it comes to figures, and that's why I’m into art,

where one needs exaggeration and intensity,

Precisely, emotional, cultural and historical intensity. But

in any case, despite my possibly wrong figures, the

sense is that it is absolutely necessary to defend

museums because one of their main functions

is to create subjective and

collective identity and thus provide people with roots

in an age of, not just speed

in transferring information,

not just garbling, which is very interesting,

I didn't hear how it was used, but garbuglio, or garble

makes me think, today, not so much of garble

but rather low Latin, i.e. the situation

of a world dominated by

muddled English that is English-Indian

English-Italian. In English, for

instance, the word manager means a person in charge,

basically, the concierge of an apartment block. In other words

building manager does not have the associations that

the word manager has in Italian, i.e. the

leader of an organization. Therefore this

garble, which is a mixture of many languages,

similarly to what appeared at the end of the Roman Empire,

was not only a garble, it was also

a simplification. In other words, in some cases

the ablative disappeared, etc., the grammar had been reduced to four

cases, etc., so it was both

a garble and an excessive oversimplification

and homologation created by these

bubbles of knowledge. Going back to the museum,

in 2020, while reflecting during the period inside

the closed museum when we did a lot of restoration on

works for which previously we had not

had the time nor the space,

and thus we also found time to care for the building.

And it was also thinking about caring for people that

led to this idea of a Slow Museum, which

has also been embodied elsewhere. For

example in the use of the contemporary art museum,

together with the artist Claudia Comte, as a

vaccination hub. The idea was conceived to reassure people and was developed

through collaboration with the Torino 3 ASL (Health Department),

also with a view to supporting the region of Piedmont. The regional councillor had

strongly supported this idea. So, as I said earlier mentioning

very specific things, in this case we provided support to

the vaccination campaign, but at the same time it was also a very

different way of experiencing the museum.

It was different because back then, when museums were

all closed, we were open because we were a

vaccination hub, which wasn’t located in a building on the grounds

of the museum, as for instance like in Capodimonte, at the bottom of the garden.

Instead, one had to walk through the museum

rooms, and artist Claudia Comte had created a

sound background, and also designed the images on the walls that

you see behind me, to

accompany visitors as they followed directions feeling rather

intimidated, partly because of

the vaccination. So, from something specifically

artistic like transportation, to something that relates

to connections that have to be forged,

in a metaphorical sense but also literally, the function, the role of museums,

is that of care. This is a brief

introduction to what it all

meant. However, it is not only the idea of the

endurance of physical matter, and therefore

of the embedded experience of knowledge

which is formed by experiencing works

of physical art. It is also something that must act

at a virtual and purely mental level as well.

Therefore, when faced with short TikToks and the

platitudes of influencers, etc., this also meant

creating the first truly virtual museum space,

The Digital Cosmos, with

A selection of works that could also experience in one’s

own home, not through documentation

about the works or exhibitions but through

works that were expressed through video and audio works, images

and texts, which were created like

Penone’s for example, which he never exhibited

in a physical space, but conceived for online

viewing. In other words, the kind of viewing that

one does online, but transforms the

fragmentation and brevity of online viewing

into an enjoyable experience through the coherence of the

virtual elements. So, we can move from what

happens in the museum, to what happens backstage,

to what happens in the physical-digital relationship

through the museum, geared towards the convergence

of experiences

in forming subjectivity. This is what formed the idea

of a Slow Museum that you can also read about because

there is a lot of information about it online and also

on Rivoli's website. Maybe one day it would be a good idea to write

a book about it, because I think there are too many

things to list In this short answer of mine.

Absolutely, and in the meantime thank you Carolyn because

the theme of the Slow Museum and some of the points

you made both about experiences, methods and

let's say reflections, are tangential to all of

today’s conference as well as to our daily work.

Let me come back to the idea of a

garble but also that of excessive fragmentation. Earlier you

mentioned the fact that knowledge, which

is a theme that Mauro Ceruti had also referred to

in his introduction, knowledge

is sometimes still oversimplified and too

compartmentalized, so it is true that it’s a garble,

but it is also true that there is also extreme division.

I would emphasize the importance of the work,

that you, as an eminent representative of the Italian world of

international cultural, have carried out for

years on the theme of

Archives. because the theme of speed or slowdown

and also, that of museums that don’t only exhibit, and are not only

is an experience, this was mentioned earlier in talking about

between education and edutainment, but the museum

is also a place where you can make

connections that are not simplifications or fragmentations,

but rather are fabrics. You

have worked so much on research and study centres,

you launched the archives project, and this

in my opinion is very interesting since it is practical evidence.

Yes, thank you for also mentioning

the CRRI, or the Castello di

Rivoli Research Institute, or

Rivoli research centre, it can be read in

both languages. Indeed, certainly the future

of museums, but also thinking of Rivoli as a remote place

because it is not in a city centre, it is on

top of a mountain, along the road to France, so perhaps

physical health is somehow combined with health, let's say,

of the soul, so it is quite an appropriate place,

in my opinion, to create an archive-based research center

which however is also based on the proximity of art

works. But I don't see this, let's say, as being new,

it is simply new to the general public, but over

history a great number of museums started out

as university museums. When they

were university museums they obviously had, like

all the seventeen Harvard museums, they shared this

feature. It is perhaps rather a question of making

this part of the work more visible to the general public.

But I am not against garbles and

fragmentation. It's odd, but since I deal with

contemporary works, I am always very careful not to

criticize the imminent future because it seems

passatist to me, what the futurists called

academic passatist. In other words, when printing was invented,

say Gutenberg, one clearly lost

the ability to memorize texts compared to before that invention.

It is normal however that it should be accompanied

by an enormous change in the way

knowledge was created. It is not that the

Cloud is totally different from the invention

of printing: it is another invention that is accompanied

by its consequences, which are those of any

technological innovation, the atrophy of

skills. In other words when we invent the clock we no longer

can tell the time by looking at the sun, at

most we know whether it’s morning or afternoon. So

it is normal that every technology, for example

fire, brings with it the atrophy of

something else. First it is a prosthesis to

expanding a skill and then it becomes a

cause of atrophy. As long as we do not stop

at the critique of this innovation but

think a little bit like Lucio Fontana, that means

are added, it’s not that they are subtracted, that’s fine.

Well, I think that the main change

we’ll see in the 21st century is the end of specific museums,

In other words, the contemporary art museum

will make no sense in 20 years or 30 years’ time because it

Would mean carving out a specific space or scope, while

artists do not work within a specific sphere.

A contemporary artist works by going to the cinema

seeing a movie, reading a book, walking down a

street and eating food, so this need

to divide museums on the basis of their expertise is

what will change most, because we will need

to garble them up, and we often take for granted that museums are

there forever with that same remit, Museum of

Science, museum of this, museum of that. But

is not true in the least. In the early 20th century,

for example, they separated human bodies from entomology,

but crate with a woman's body in formalin was

left on the roof of the Roman Museum of Entomology,

They had forgotten to move it when all the crates were moved

and after that it was an embarrassment and it's still there. So

museums can also change and be rearranged.

Talking of this, I remember holding a workshop at Harvard

Because back in 2013 they had

14 or 17 museums, and were thinking of

reorganizing them. For example, a contemporary work, a Boetti, could be placed next to a Sumerian tablet if one’s thinking about organizing a

collection around the theme of the codex.

So, let’s say I see things as very

garbled in the future, but very interesting,

and more advanced countries will be the first to

try to carry out the kind of revolution that

their own institutions are periodically subjected to.





Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art



Well, first of all, I thank you because the end of specialist museums

is something to think about, something

we could also discuss during future

study days. There is also the very

important topic of

not being afraid of either technology or the future

nor of the present, let's say, taking things as they come and

trying to see what happens,

without assuming that there will be a loss, that what is

new means a loss compared to the past.

I must say that the talk by Andrea Viliani, whom you

know well, and who preceded you

in the education-edutainment session, actually,

from the perspective of the end of specialised museums,

that is, even within the complexity of

institutions or names or natures,

if this has now been going on

in the collections for some time

in terms of names and identities, it actually

is a propitious garble,

a propitious complexity that we will probably

will be witnessing soon and we feel ready to address and interpret it.

Your suggestion gives me the opportunity to

introduce the next speaker because earlier

you said the garble of linguistics is not that propitious,

you gave examples about the English language and

about this type of communication of knowledge.

Professor Andrea Moro has been invited to speak

in the same session as yours precisely with respect to two

themes. Not only that of linguistics and therefore

the theme of the constants in

language expressions, but also for the idea, and

you earlier mentioned the difficulty of getting

the general public to become acquainted with the world of archives

and museums. There is, however,

an underlying issue about our knowledge about what

happens in museums. When you were talking

about the archives project, there clearly is a need

to promote or make this

complexity better known. I would leave the question with you.





Curator and Museum Director



Thank you, I will think about it. No, I was saying that

not only do I know Andrea Viliani, he was one of my assistants

when he was younger so I learned a lot

from him, and so it's obvious that

we have a common approach.

However, I wasn't saying it in a negative sense when

I mentioned Low Latin, which was also a period of great






Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art



Thank you. Let me thank

Carolyn who can stay with us or disconnect

or follow us using the link for visitors.

I thank her and look forward to new

study days and many new insights and ideas.

I hope so for

our audience too. I welcome Professor Andrea Moro

who is now with us again, he is a linguist, neuroscientist,

writer and communicator. He is a full professor

of general linguistics and vice rector at

IUSS, the University School for Advanced Studies in Pavia.

Good morning to you. Good morning. Firstly, thank you Andrea.

I know how busy all our

collaborators are, and it's a good thing because it means that

we are always presenting the most recent results of our research

traveling around the world. In

my second question I would like refer to

an article that I think you published

yesterday. Yes. My first question, instead, relates

to the reflections developed by an expert like

Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev about the world of museums, but

when our board met online,

our reflection focused

first of all on the issue of a method. Do you agree

with that approach or is it wrong?

You will be telling us. You are a great communicator. I have

also heard speak you in museum circles, and it is

obviously difficult to communicate or be an author

who even communicates very complex topics such as

those of general linguistics, thus not

readily understandable to the general public.

So, what we were wondering with the board

is why the Sciences, and

I use a term that Calvino would disagree with,

with respect to what we were saying: I am

distinguishing two disciplines. But how

did the sciences find a way to be

understood, and I am referring to linguistics,

mathematics, astrophysics, or

at least to be communicated, and what can

one do, what can be taken or

stolen for the visual arts

from the world of popularising science?

My question is: is it necessary to slow down to

speed up the outward compression or can one

can also communicate in a fast way? It is a question

that contains 3 million other questions, so it won’t be easy.





Professor of General Linguistics and Deputy Rector at the IUSS Pavia University School of Advanced Studies



It’s a trap, right? Firstly, I thank you

very much for this invitation. I must say that when I

first received the invitation I wondered

what a linguist was doing

talking about museums, because if there is one thing

that’s intangible, it’s grammar. And then, however, your

subtitle "hub of complexity"

immediately rang a bell and

made me realize that, after all, the challenge that humans have

with grammar is the prototype of every type of

complexity. So much so that we call total chaos Babel.

Incidentally, if there is a

literary reference that I like in talking about

confusion it is Gadda, not Calvino:

the gnommero, the cyclonic depression

in which everything is mixed up in an awful mess.

Languages are an awful mess.

But you asked me another question, though. So

the question you asked me is a question

I will answer as I reflect on it now, exploiting,

as perhaps we all do, our experience with

people with whom we have had contacts and

who have inspired us. I was lucky enough

to have Chomsky as a teacher

in the United States, but in Italy, when I became

professor, I was Eco’s colleague for a period.





Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art



We are reconnecting Professor Moro

who left us suspended with Umberto Eco and Chomsky and

his teachers. He is

now probably reconnecting.

Perfect. He's being


It is the curse of linguistics communication.

I’ll try to go even faster.

Your question. No, no, we had stopped at Umberto

Eco, we were all very interested.





Professor of General Linguistics and Deputy Rector at the IUSS Pavia University School of Advanced Studies



Umberto Eco – let me say this – I like to write

essays on language, articles on the language

brain, and occasionally I try to write

informative essays, but novels too. Now

I’ll get to the second point, and I remember that with Eco we

used to say: is there a difference between when you are trying

to publish a scientific paper on the brain

and language and when you tell a story? My

personal feeling is that there is absolutely no

difference, that is, scientific narration or the

narration of emotional topics, or at any rate of

reflections, passes through the same channels.

In summary, the line he always used

was that the method is very clear: 1% inspiration and

99% perspiration, that is one hundredth

inspiration and 99 perspiration. In other words, intuition is actually

only the very first step and then

the rest is all method -based work. Coming to the issue of the

representation of linguistic data, it contains two aspects.

On the one hand, as we heard earlier

in the beautiful talk before mine,

grammar becomes a model not only

for complexity but also for the evolution of

complexity. We all know that it seems to us

that we are speaking the same language, but in 100 years’ time who knows

what will be spoken. It will depend on how

peoples and cultures will shift. Therefore

studying a grammar also means learning

to understand how grammar shifts. I always like

always use this metaphor: when one

speaks a language is like walking on a

glacier. You think you are standing still and you see the

mountains as being stationary, but you know the glacier is moving, and

that 50 years later the glacier will take on a different

shape. The same is true for Italian and for other languages.

Then, there is another issue that actually

ties in with the issue of complexity, the

one that relates to the title, "hub

of complexity," because what happened in the second half of the

twentieth century is that Babel was

chopped up. It was taken it apart. Everything has

started with linguistic comparison: during the

1950s, mainly due to two scholars, one

was Chomsky himself and the other was Joseph Greenberg,

they began to compare grammars and understood

that despite apparent differences, if

a mathematical technique was used, what emerged was a

substantial unity. Incidentally, the brilliant sign language

interpreter who is translating at this very

moment, is using the same grammatical channels

both in her brain and in the form,

of any other language. And there are sign language dialects

too, there are sign language languages. So there is a single

great human heritage and in the late 1900s the question that

was asked was: but where do these instructions come from,

these instructions that seem to identify what

I like to call the boundaries of Babel. That is,

why do grammars, when seen through the right eyes,

all look alike? I say seen through the right eyes

because obviously, from an individual’s point of view,

if you hear Japanese being spoken that's one thing, if you

hear the Berghem de hura dialect being spoken it's something else.

Clearly subjective impression

is a different thing. The crucial question, after all, is

the age-old question, i.e. the linguistic rules,

the ones that we are now using, the sign language, the

Italian ones and those in other

Languages, are they conventions, are they inventions or are

they part of us and expressions of our

genetic heritage? You see, if I were to tell you.

that gallbladders were an invention that man

came up with to digest fats, you would all laugh,

because we owe our gallbladder

to evolution. Here, the most important discovery,

the most important wager

of the late twentieth century was to say that

this ability to speak, which Darwin

had already guessed to be more of an instinct than

a discovery or an invention, is actually

something we find inside ourselves. But then the

problem becomes very clear: how do we bring

obvious complexity back to its underlying simplicity?

So there, what happened, was a

stroke of luck, and at the end

of the previous talk there was

a wonderful comment about the fact that museums

may not have fences in the future,

as is unfortunately the case with universities today,

academic fences are obstacles,

they are not advantages. Actually, I am

a bit radical in this, but the distinction between

scientific and humanistic culture was probably very convenient

in the Renaissance when it was a question of

emancipating philosophy from theology, but in the

present day it really is an obstacle. How do we

place human language? It is science

or is it Humanism? It is clear, we can all see

that that language is encircled

by neurology,

computer science and also by

linguistics, but the essence is

this: the same thing was done in linguistics

as in science. That is,

as Perrin, a Frenchman and Nobel laureate said,

we have moved from visible complexity

to invisible simplicity. This kind of methodological slogan

clearly impacted linguistics thereby

dismantling the

Babel prototype. How does one prove this

to be true? My generation has had the good fortune

of using these wonderful machines that

always remain machines and don't tell you

anything if they are not questioned. Take the example of

MRI. My research group and I

invented impossible languages

and we tried to

make people learn them. What

happened? That the brains of these people, unaware

of the fact that they were dealing with both possible

and impossible rules, sifted and made a distinction between the two

types of rules. Instinctively, the possible rules

were processed by the part of the brain that

almost all right-handed subjects usually use,

whereas most left-handed

people use the left hemisphere

which is a complicated network,

and, instead the other one was used with the impossible rules.

So let's say, using a slogan

dear to Christian culture, but to Western culture

in general today, we can

say that by the second half of the 20th century we

discovered that it is the flesh that has become the word

and not vice versa, it is the flesh that became the word.

Firstly, thank you for this far-reaching response and you give me

the opportunity, because, I understand the terms

according to which the museum world, the world

of archives, this world of complexity, can

emerge and find a positive path

like that of the sciences, because of when you

mentioned the fact that for you to write

a novel, a story, a poem or

a scientific work, in the long run, as

Umberto Eco said, one is doing the same thing.

You remain withing the same scope.





Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art



Instead, in your specific area, linguistics,

you were referring to

impossible languages and what your

thoughts are about impossible languages. Earlier you

referred, I generalise a little to summarize,

to the ideas of nature and culture, where they come from, in other words,

the digital fingerprint of the human mind

is your specific area. it's also the one of fields excellence

of your studies and those of your department,

with many important publications.

My question was: can you apply this digital fingerprint

to the languages of art as well? Allow me also to make another

reference, so you can also quote from your article,

which, quite by chance as a coincidence,

although perhaps coincidences do not exist in real life,

you just published yesterday on the

subject of recombination rules

as related to artificial intelligence. It is a subject

that both director de Chirico, but also by Mauro Ceruti,

mentioned in the introduction,

and it is an emergency, as Ceruti said, an emergency

of our time. Yesterday saw you published in Nature

Three Reasons why AI

doesn't Model Human Language.





Professor of General Linguistics and Deputy Rector at the IUSS Pavia University School of Advanced Studies



Look, you actually

summarized everything. By the way

I wanted to add something that is very close to my heart.

Another person, aside from Eco, who said that

An artistic operation and a scientific operation

coincide was Rita Levi Montalcini, who, speaking

of her sister's works and her own work, said, we

we do the same thing. I was always so impressed by this idea

and, for me, she is a perfect model.

In any event, removing the emotional element

from my talk, I would say that

this is exactly the point: we are

the only living beings capable of communicating

different messages with the same building blocks. Here is

an example: if I give you two names, Cain and Abel, and

a verb, "killed", your brain can create two

structures: Cain killed Abel or Abel killed

Cain. Two opposite messages, created with the

same building blocks. The ability to recombine generates

meaning. What does this tell us? it tells us one extraordinarily important thing:

while all

other animals, and probably even plants,

absorb information from the outside. Just imagine

an oak tree that spends 100 years under

the sun and the wind, or imagine a frog that

feels that water in a pond and goes and feeds on

its algae, well, we human beings have the

ability to incorporate experiences, hence we can

say "I blew on a geranium shaped like a

cloud,". However, if I utter this sentence, you can

then turn it around and say I blew on a

geranium-shaped cloud. So what is happening?

What happens is that this ability to recombine is

basically the core of human imagination.

Not only are we capable of recording outside events

but we also know how to restitute by recombining in

a different way. One then realises that, clearly,

creation and artistic creativity, for

instance in figurative art, become another

way of expressing this digital fingerprint. I

would not dare to talk about art with you because

I can only stammer, however, one of my personal heroes is Cézanne.

There is a wonderful letter where Cézanne says: if

you understand how things work, what a sphere,

a cone and a cylinder are then you know how to describe anything.

That's what Mendeleev

did when he proposed the periodic table of the

elements. that's what Chomsky did when he

worked on grammars, that’s what human beings do.

And so, in a sense, even with

differences, because I'm not saying that

Cézanne uses the grammar of French or the

grammar of Italian, however, in both cases he uses

this ability to recombine

primitive elements. Of course, this also applies to

music: were we to send evidence of who we are

to another galaxy, perhaps this recombination idea

could be the manifestation of the digital

fingerprint of human beings, which becomes apparent,

as was understood in the Middle Ages, through mathematics, music and

grammar, as well as through artistic expression. Thus,

in a sense, in the age

of neuroscience, the museum today becomes perhaps even more

important because it represents us. Not so much what

we have done but our capabilities. And the last

thing that you were saying, then I guess my time

is up, but you tell me at when I have to

stop, is that this issue, the distinction

between possible and impossible languages, is something we need

distinguish us from machines. Right.

It used to be said: that machines are too clumsy

to be compared to human beings. We have

come to realise that the opposite is true: machines are

too powerful, no languages are

impossible for, they do not have our limitations. Ultimately,

we are our limits.





Head of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art, Venice



Well thank you,

I hope there are some

interesting suggestions for the world of

art museums. I would like to thank Andrea Moro very much.

I feel we convinced him about

why we wanted him with us after our initial

contacts and besides the of the day's subtitle,

there were also these intersecting themes that

affect us. You spoke about artificial intelligence

and you also addressed it,

in the article that was published yesterday in Nature, from the

standpoint of the recombination of languages

and linguistics but also in terms of the

visual arts. I mean there are many points that

constitute emergent issues for us and we ourselves,

cultural professionals, have to keep abreast, we have to

understand. So, it was truly

a very important perspective for this

session. Once again, I thank Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

and Andrea Moro because we are closing this

reflection with several, not simple slogans, but

several titles for new novels or scientific texts.

Thank you indeed, and I also

thank our interpreter, Paola Castelletti. Thanks to you






Accessibility and co-design




Curator and Director of the MACTE Museum in Termoli



Good morning, everyone, I am Caterina Riva

I am the director of MACTE, the museum of contemporary art

in Termoli and I am delighted to moderate

the third and final session of our morning together. The

theme of our last conversation will be

accessibility and co-design. We

realize that it is a very broad and very

interesting topic and we thought that

after this very stimulating but

also, very abstract discussion, we might try to

get a deeper understanding of the future challenges of museums with

the help of two distinguished speakers who

I will be introducing shortly. I also wanted to

to pick up a few of the ideas that emerged

over the course of the morning: the idea

of caring for territories as well as Calvino, who

was something of a tutelar deity in some

of the discussions. It is a odd coincidence

that at the museum I direct we are currently holding

an exhibition called Ersilia, the name of one

of the invisible cities invented by Calvino.

This particular city was a city of

threads, of all kinds of relationships, whether friendly

or not. I, too, would like to thank

the signing interpreters who are helping us along this

path toward accessibility. I would also encourage those who

haven't yet had time to

see the wonderful illustrations illustrator Elisa Nocentini created for

this occasion.

In particular, the one for our session

shows let's say a woman trying to

touch, we know this should not be done,

a figure, sort of a sculpture that is

falling apart, perhaps it’s a mummy from Christian Greco’s Egyptian Museum.

The woman is drawn by using lots of words,

maybe this is to give us an idea

of the operational complexity of dealing with the contents

that coexist within museums. Some of

these words are: complexity,

touching, inclusive, we find

incomprehensible too. Thus, in this challenge

of deciphering the present, the future, and also

looking back at the past, I think they are strongly

linked. I would also like to welcome

the next two speakers who will follow, I hope it will be

a constructive dialogue. The idea was to

compare two experiences that would appear to be

different so let's start with Francesco

Stocchi, who is a director of the MAXXI museum in

Rome, the artistic director of the MAXXI museum in Rome.

He comes from 10 years of experience, which

ended in 2022, as curator of modern and contemporary art

at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in

Rotterdam. Francesco, I hope I pronounced that

right. He will be followed

by architect Mario Cucinella

who I will be introducing after

this initial part with Francesco Stocchi.

Earlier we had a short discussion

on how to organise

these interventions, and I believe

it is very important to attempt

to imagine together what the museum

of the future could be

and then share together the

professional experiences that

we have experienced and are experiencing. Thank you.





MAXXI Curator and Artistic Director



Thank you, Caterina. Thank you all for the invitation.

Let's say that it’s the topic is not only

interesting, it's foundational: accessibility in museums.

Even more so today as a result of, let's say, the

revolutions that cultural institutions are going through,

a total paradigm shift. So

rather than presenting ideas, mine will be more of an exercise in

synthesis attempting to capture the most salient points

First of all, I am happy

as a museum director, to speak

at this meeting not so much about exhibition programs

acquisitions, figures and

of major manoeuvres, but actually to address

the question of accessibility, which I do not

mean as a discipline, one of the many features

of a museum, like research or exhibitions,

but it is actually is a methodology. It is a methodology

and therefore, does not have a content

in itself, but it is a foundational aspect of how

we want to relate to our

public. Works on display have no reason to

exist without an audience, whereas an audience has

reasons to exist without works, hence

this idea of a foundational element, because

emphasis is placed on the museum first and foremost as a

place. There is heritage, there are responsibilities,

but first and foremost, it is a place, and depending on

how this place is treated its

identity is determined and thus the desire

we all have, the widespread tendency

to move beyond boundaries, therefore

disciplinary boundaries, let's even say boundaries

of a scientific nature, to

embrace everyone in the

narrowest sense of the term. This means

conceiving of the arts as a foundational aspect

of our society. Not something

extra, a hobby let's say, despite, as they say,

their effective uselessness, but it is precisely because of

this, but it is yet another

aspect, that one should conceive the arts and the

place that hosts them as an foundational aspect.

So the place and the building. And to do

this implies work based on

communication, on exhibition paths,

and the work of serving the public.

I would really emphasize that there is not one single public, there are many

publics, and this is something that we are trying

to do the best we can. We take this in a very

serious and sustained way here at the MAXXI. But following

Caterina’s invitation, I would like to start

to talk about what,

in my experience, relates to

to the concept of accessibility, and then

perhaps follow with a discussion about what is

in the making, which perhaps can be

a subject for an exchange

with Caterina and architect

Cucinella. As far as my experience is

concerned, until last year I was working in

Rotterdam at the Boijmans Van

Beuningen museum and over the last 10 years we worked,

not exclusively, but we were

concerned primarily with the

construction of the Depot, which is a building that

perhaps some of you have heard about, and

others have seen it, and I hope others

will see it, because let’s say it is a

bit of a crazy idea, and it’s

certainly a pioneering idea, of a

repository open to the public, thus

accessible to all. Furthermore, the museum areas,

which historically are those dedicated

to technicians, to professionals are

also open to the public, with the

maximum degree, let’s say, of

Dutch transparency, and this concept

is expressed in a totalizing way.

The need for the birth of

this building arose from a pioneering and

radical new model,

and it achieves what we set out to do.

It actually stems from need, not from a deserving

vision. Often, as we also learn

from artists, great works arise from

need, whether internal or not, not so much

from research. And in this

case they arise from the needs of

an obsolete building, one of the few buildings

that survived the 1941 bombing,

when Rotterdam was razed to the ground and only four buildings,

including the 1935 Boijmans building remained standing,

and from the needs a collection that started in 1849, a

collection that has grown to 151,000 pieces, and

neither the museum nor rented storerooms

could meet needs any longer. There was

widespread inefficiency, and so these

needs brought new ideas.

Two alternatives were immediately considered, that

of building a new depot in the suburbs. A Depot

that would be well guarded and accessible only to employees,

or a depot as close as possible to the

Museum, as if it were the other side of the museum, the

hidden dark side of the museum, in the city centre

but that was to always be open

and transparent, with all its services and areas

placed in the hands of the public, openly. Thus

the first procedural steps started in 2014 and then,

in 2017 the building site began. The opening

to the public of what is then a large, 40 m high,

metal cup, took place

in 2021. It covers 15 000 square meters and is divided over six floors.

First and foremost, the public finds that

50% of the spaces are accessible without a guide,

including gallery spaces, the various walkways,

the terrace, etc. The other 50% consists of the

by the depot itself and the

of restoration and conservation offices, which means that the

public finds shelving systems and conservation areas,

which are accessible to

guided tours for groups of, at most,

12 people. There's a sort of policy, 12 people.

for 12 minutes. I don’t think even the Scrovegni Chapel

imposes similar restrictions, and the purpose of 12

people for 12 minutes is to avoid altering the

microclimate necessary to preserve the works.

There is this idea of infinite preservation,

which is another aspect that is certainly

critical, but international standards

of museums are based on these ideas of

preserving forever. Actually,

after each visit, the repository

needs to be closed to the public for three

quarters of an hour to re-establish

the right microclimate. Incidentally,

the building is described as carbon-neutral.

I have never believed this and

one day it could be interesting to talk about

conservation, heritage and the environment. These things

simply cannot go together. One should find a

a policy and a synthesis between things but

things normally cannot be preserved,

at least today, though

technologies may help us in the future. But the most

interesting to discuss today is the

transformation of a warehouse into a usable place

that is open to the public, which actually means

rethinking the very concept of a museum. So the

need for the preservation of works imposes

new paths that are neither chronological,

or based on style, nor thematic, but are very pragmatic paths

based on the materials of

of which the works are made, for example metal,

plastic, organic materials, wood, paint,

or photographs, requiring different climate zones

to ensure their suitable thermohydrometric conditions.

So, in the Depot one might find

a Van Gogh next to a Warhol and next to

a lesser or an anonymous artist,

all harmoniously grouped together on the basis of

preservation requirements. So we may carry out research

but there's also a lot of discovery, and that's also the thing,

from the point of view of my work, which I

loved most: there was the aspect of discovery

that normally we may use in daily life,

outside museum spaces,

as we look around and see things, observe society,

listen to a radio program, watch

television. In this case, discovery happens

even within the very idea of a

research, precisely because of this classification that is

totally new for us. So, the climate

is that of a museum, both in terms of

environmental conditions, but also of the environment that

one experiences. However, it is not

is a museum. The Depot is not a museum because it is a

ideal place to work and prepare exhibitions,

and prepare the loans that are required from all over

the world. It is therefore a place where the

public can learn about the enormous responsibility

of a museum, of taking care

its works of art, of doing research, as Cristian Greco

stressed this morning.

So, it is also the responsibility of telling visitors

how much

museums workers know about the conservation and care

of heritage. So, were I to

of a metaphor, to be as clear as

possible, this redefinition of the relationship between the public and

works of art is absolutely revolutionary in the

Depot because, if so far one was used to

enter a museum as if it were, let's say,

a restaurant with a menu based on

the museum's offerings and where

ready-made meals are served, in the Depot it’s as if you

entering the kitchen. So, you look around. You know

that sometimes inside kitchens there are Kitchen Tables,

well, it's like watching the chef’s team

prepare with the main ingredients

of dishes

that are then taken out,

elsewhere in the museum, no longer in the Depot. So, one sees

the process, what’s going on behind the

the scenes, and that’s the Depot, a

building that sits alongside the museum, presenting the

mechanisms that lie behind the traditional experience

of art as we know it.

Thus, if the museum displays the outcome, the effect

of its research by telling a story

through its exhibitions and by the arrangement

of its collections, the Depot reveals something of the

way a museum team

reflects about the methodology behind what

is normally exhibited. Possibly this

also coincides somewhat with the contemporary

demand to see, to understand the mechanisms and

see behind the scenes, perhaps

using, let's call them, alternative paths.

So, when the aspects I have listed

concern a public collection, hence

collective heritage, it also means

preserving cultural heritage in

general. So, it also entails telling

citizens: this is what belongs to you, it is

yours. We are just keepers. This

belongs to you. So, if we distance ourselves

from our discipline, this can also

provide, let's say,

purely social and identity value.

Speaking of identity, I would summarize

three key aspects around which

the Depot the organized. One is that of preserving

works of art as public heritage.

Another is to redefine the

relationship between the public and

this heritage by showing

the works as such, their bare bones, not edited,

studied or contextualized. The objects,

the works of art, are held, studied,

restored, and selected under

everyone's eyes. So, there is this

radical exposure. And the last thing is maybe

that of offering another paradigm to curatorial practice

in which, as I said earlier, the

searching intersects somewhat with finding, thus

perhaps opening up to a more natural and intertwined way,

and perhaps even of greater discovery,

compared to somewhat linear ways of thinking.

This, briefly, is

how the Depot is organised.

Possibly the most interesting element, besides

Its openness, is the organization of the works. They

are actually not being exhibited to the public, it is

the public that is exposed the works. This is what

is quite interesting: you enter feeling

bit like an intruder, because you feel that you are entering

into the domain, into a place built for objects.

So, visitors enter on tiptoes into

this domain, into this physical world, made of

of objects, where the public is, let's say, something of an

intruder. So it’s a totally inverted paradigm.

Thank you very much.





Curator and Director of the MACTE Museum in Termoli



Francesco Stocchi for giving us a

bit of background and also for showing us

what is possibly a virtuous international example that

can perhaps be a stimulus for considering

the development of similar systems in Italy.

I also really liked your metaphor that

gives us creating a buffet from which

audiences can help themselves, once again in this

spirit of multiplicity, which nevertheless maintains the

complexity of what each museum attempts to

provide. I think this is the right time

to welcome and invite Mario Cucinella

to join our conversation. He is the founder and

creative director of Cucinella

Architects, based in Bologna and Milan.

He is a person who has always been very attentive to sustainability issues,

which I think go hand in hand

with what we are trying to articulate

in terms of physical, cognitive, and

digital accessibility, and also this idea of co-design, which

therefore actively takes into account publics,

users, the people and professionals who

move through these spaces, the places and the

contexts in which they are created and exist.

In 2015, Mario Cucinella and with his studio founded

the SOS, School of Sustainability. I hope, among many other

things, that we will hear

about this as well, and I believe that this dialogue,

let's say, based on foreign experiences and what is

possible in Italy is part of architect Cucinella’s

scope of activity. You now have

the floor. Thank you very much.





Architect, founder & creative director of MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects



Thank you for your invitation.

Yes, I wanted to take advantage, of what Francesco Stocchi said

earlier. Perhaps we crossed paths somewhere

a few years ago. I mean

I remember him when he was still in

Rotterdam. In any event I wanted to say that carbon neutral buildings

do not exist. So, I want to confirm

that this is unfortunately a bit of a fad,

this wanting to give architecture a

environmental value of this relevance. In actual fact,

building is never a carbon neutral activity. Let’s say

that we can build better,

that, in my opinion, is the

least we can claim. Then obviously

we can design buildings paying greater attention to

environmental issues, to materials, to how they are run,

however, this neutrality business has become a bit of a

a mantra that, I must say, is not helping us

to move ahead. So that's the point.

I just wanted to make a comment

because I would also like to react a little bit to what

was said earlier, this issue of depositories.

It sounds like a really super interesting thing

because my experience is

not in a contemporary field but in archaeology,

that is, the Etruscan Museum that we designed

in Milan, based on a private collection, in which a few

modern artists were incorporated with Salvatore Setti,

i.e. Picasso, Martini, Fontana, and

what also really surprised

was that the public understood this

connection with the continuity of art. It was no longer

just the specialized topic of

the Etruscans, but of intersecting time, right?

And what was said earlier, about the

discovery that maybe the world of Art is a continuous flow,

it's not chopped into themes, right? Then

obviously, museums have to express periods and

moments, but this idea of discovering

an archive and seeing this overlapping

of time and history, giving a sense of the

continuity of the world of artistic thought… to me

it all seems to be a new frontier in the narrative

of museums, whatever its segment may be.

I like this overlapping because it becomes sort

of an interactive way to live this

moment in which we discover connections

between things that come from different times. To me it seems like

a very contemporary view of how art can be read.

And maybe the museum can also

be, I'm rather divided

between two somewhat different positions but maybe this

debate can help us clarify it. On the one

one side we have a building, a neutral envelope

with a lot of things happening inside. So, a building

that houses art but does not become prevaricating, is not

in itself complicated.

It is a very flexible place, where

one can do many things, so the building

acts as support for all its activities. On the other hand, as we have

seen in recent years, the architectural design of

a museum becomes itself a major attraction.

Here perhaps we have two schools of thought,

different ones. I'd like to know a little bit more about

what curators, who live inside museums, think about this,

right? because there are somewhat different positions,

right? But on the one hand this kind of

knowledge factories, knowledge hangars, where

so many things happen, where there is a need for this

flexibility to express what

was said before, right? to be able to invent

ways of representing art over time in

different forms, perhaps they need more and greater flexibility,

but, on the other hand, I am an architect.

So, I think architecture is also a

very powerful message, right? that even can describe

such an important institution, right? So

the museum also needs to somehow

represent that value, right?

And architecture is a great

conveyor of messages, isn't it? I think that at the

present time, this environmental theme you mentioned in

talking about sustainability,

well, museums could also say more about it, couldn't they?

Also, about how the art world has always

concerned itself with environmental issues, right? I believe

that art is really a way to express the sensitivity that

artists have shown for centuries.

In other words, for as long as one remembers, they have addressed this

emotional and inspirational relationship with the

world of nature, and equally the issues that affect

the world from an environmental standpoint, then

turning this sensitivity into an artistic message. In these recent times,

when I hear a lot of talk about

about technology and technological innovation,

I get the idea that I would like to see this idea

counterbalanced, this idea that the world is only about

technology, whereas perhaps we really express a stronger message

through the emotional expression

of art, right? which explains why we have to deal with

these issues through this type of sensitivity, right? So basically

I'd like to see a better balance.

This is something I have come to realise because I live

between Milan and Bologna where there is a lot of talk about

Issues of technology startups,

data research, the use of Big Data, which are all

really important things today. However

I also wonder who is capable of

interpreting the data, right? Is the message of

this data just technical facts or can it instead become

a great message from the art world

that takes this data and turns it into a

message that is, let's say, more accessible to everyone.

So, these are some of the themes: it seems to me that

in museums this relationship with citizens becomes more focused

because they become, or actually are, major

attractions. A few weeks

ago I was at the Royal Academy. Going to the Royal

Academy in London is like entering, it feels like entering

a market, right? People are coming and going,

some go to the bar, some then have a bite to eat and go on

see something. It's really a moment that becomes part of

daily life, it's a bit like what we had

in our churches in Italy, right?

People went to church, they went to pray,

but there was also the whole world of images.

People went to see the artwork, right? The fact that

these public places are really public,

which means that they are places where I can spend

half a day or just an hour. I go there to see something that

inspires me, then I leave and then I go back. I mean I really like

this idea that museums are really the

most accessible places in our everyday,

lives, right? Then there obviously is

also, the issue of reading content, and that can at times

be very difficult, for example, in the case of contemporary art.

Now I say this as a

non-expert, although I like art and follow things

a lot, however, maybe museums are a little

static in narrating their works, maybe we need to

find the underlying narrative with other tools.

In one’s awareness of a

final product, of a work, there is an underlying

course of thought that often is not

easy to grasp or that perhaps one would find interesting

to grasp to understand why it like that, right? So that

insight of why things are the way they are,

of why that artist conveyed something

so important through a work, is perhaps the

most powerful message we can provide to

young people too, to the younger ones who are starting to approach

to the subject of art, without alienating them too much

because they are unable to understand. These seem to me to be important themes,

so the museum is no longer… the word museum is perhaps also a word that means

something a bit static, isn't it? It should be something

much more dynamic, it should be much more, a piece of

city one goes to every day, right? So, these

some of the themes I

would like to put across to you, right? Then,

as you were saying, there are the environmental themes. We created

a school called SOS, or School of Sustainability

for the simple reason that the big themes that

we are addressing, especially in architecture,

can look forward to 30 years of

very important changes, right? Because

environmental data are increasingly dramatic.

On the other hand, the goals are very

ambitious and it is all very interesting.

Now how can we make the transition

between the ways we worked up to

day before yesterday, and how do we deal with a

challenge that can be won with palliatives,

with little things, it is a challenge that

requires us to make a substantial change

in the way we work. So, there is the very important

issue of training to achieve professional growth.

Tackling a building today to

meet those goals requires a level

of expertise and especially an intersection of

knowledge, right? That's what my profession has become, hasn't it?

Cross-fertilising the knowledge of others, no? So, it’s not

architecture enclosed within the

magnificent world of the architect.

What Ceruti says, I love what he

writes in his prefaces

about Edgard Morin, about the theme of complexity, well,

it seems very contemporary to me:

if architecture can escape

from its somewhat protected world and instead access

the knowledge of biology, ecology, right?

Of science, no? I am currently seeing

new developments of our work,

we are becoming increasingly, as it were,

involved with techniques to understand the behaviour of our buildings,

for example, environmental simulation.

But understanding the behaviour of

a building from the point of view of physics,

of environmental physics, is a way to design

a new aesthetic, because the environmental physics of

how air moves or how light enters, imposes a

way of analysing a building that then also has an

aesthetic outcome, right? So maybe

this theme of complexity, of sustainability

opens up interesting future scenarios about the

new aesthetic of this world we want

change, right? Which cannot be what

is currently happening. Buildings are all the same,†

but we say they are sustainable.

That shocks me a little:

but how is it that there are very different themes yet how is it possible that

that the aesthetic result is always the same? So

it’s a really interesting world, with plenty of

big changes, for which we have to make an

effort. I also believe, more and more, that one of the great

inspirations of this changing world

actually, comes from the world of artists. I really don't know.

I am currently re-reading, out of personal passion,

the work of Joseph Beuys, but from

that way he described those years,

I can already envision a future that he unfortunately

never saw. So, what I say is this there is a world of

artists who are strongly

engaged in these issues

and I would like it if they were

the ones who convey the message to the world

of architecture too, right? Because architecture

is not just a question of making buildings to fit

things into them. Buildings speak, don't they? They speak, they say

things, they gather experiences, they are people’s memory,

they are memories that build

memories, right? I always like to give this simple example, and then

I will close. A few years ago I made a

project for a kindergarten, right? now that doesn't have

anything to do with museums, right? And then suddenly, 55 years later,

I happened to remember my

kindergarten, right? Well, how many of you remember.

your day-care?... So why do I remember it?

And suddenly, somewhere out of a synapse, the image of that place

had been deposited. So

I went back to see it again.

It had been designed by a modernist architect,

Giuseppe Vaccaro, from Bologna, who, by the way, had also designed

a small kindergarten in Piacenza, right? So that’s

led me to feel a sense of concern and

responsibility, thinking that when we build a

building we build a memory that remains over the

time, right? So, we remember things because of

the experiences we have had,

for instance, being inside a museum where there was

a particular light, because I walked around

a space where I experience a strong emotion,

because I walked through a light, a shadow, a

Staircase. So, what I always say is that

architects are very dangerous because

the result of their work

can create strong positive memories

or strong negative memories, right? And so you always have to

be very responsible in using a

pen or a computer, because places such as those

can really change your perception

of your time, right? Or even generate new ideas, right?

Because while remembering places in your memory

you can build places for the future, because, after all, we

are living in this continuity, as if we were a piece

of living art. That is we live on our memories and

we harbour hope for the future, right? And so we go through

our time window when we are faced with something that

needs to be built. But underlying that there is all

our history so we bring

this continuity with us. I really liked

what Francesco said earlier about the fact that

an archive is research. For me it’s the interest to see

different things side by side, because that helps me

bring all these connections together and

it seems that a museum that succeeds in providing this curiosity

and discovery is a really wonderful idea. I mean,

it would seem wonderful to me to see a contemporary art museum

in which there are also these worlds, in a

somewhat chaotic way. Worlds that have overlapped

over the history of humanity and have narrated

a history of humankind regardless of

the period, right? After all, we are always quite the same.

same. Today we may have viewers and mobile phones,

however, the emotions we experience are part of

what Morin says: we are

Homus Complexus, are we not? There are

certain things about our lives, about our DNA, that are

pretty much always the same, right? And so,

in my opinion, when you see this in a museum it is wonderful, when

you realise that those who lived before us

experienced this same emotion. I feel quite

reassured when I see this. How else can I express it?

If I look at the MDGs, earlier I was looking at

MDGs 4, it's called

Quality Education, which is one of the programs of the

United Nations, and Quality Education is not only

the school but it's really the places of knowledge, right?

So maybe there needs to be a

strong commitment to designing a different space

for culture.





Curator and Director of the MACTE Museum in Termoli



We thank

architect Cucinella for his sensitive approach

and I’d like to continue to talk to both

Francesco Stocchi and architect Cucinella

about these continuous transformations that

museums experience and their growing awareness

of the different needs of different audiences

and their ability to successfully navigate them

and focus on them, hence requiring

the necessary staff training,

consultations with associations that deal with,

train, work with and have

themselves people with disabilities. Perhaps

the example of MAXXI per tutti is the most interesting

in this sense so I would ask Francesco to

tell us about it, taking advantage of the

presence of the architect Cucinella since

you work in Zadid’s very distinctive building.

Maybe, let's say, we can provoke the architect a little

by also talking about how you try to

become embraced by containers that are not always

very flexible, whereas contents and ideas

demand a great deal of transformation and flexibility.





MAXXI Curator and Artistic Director



Yes I agree Caterina,

it’s also very interesting to talk about

space in architectural terms. I think that

the challenges or complexities of

Zaha Hadid’s building in terms of our discourse

become opportunities,

but we’ll get to that and I really welcome what

Mario was saying about the Casa delle Muse terminology,

that perhaps was passed on a bit,

and Zaha Hadid interpreted this

area of the city. I am quoting Mario. But

I see things exactly in the same way. You talked

about the design groups that are one of the

foundational activities of MAXXI per tutti.

Yes, they are actually tables where you co-design

together with people with disabilities who have meeting

and meet with our staff.

I find it interesting because this

experience allows to shift to a nonspecific,

universal form of design.

Because we are discussing visions of

an open, democratic, participatory museum but

this implies re-reading

the museum space. So that is

where we get to the containers, the buildings and

to architecture. But does this reinterpretation of the

museum space entail from the inside?

It is the interaction of

an all-round approach that is truly open

to everyone and it starts from professional practice.

So we work, and my work is also carried out,

not alongside but with exhibition work,

constantly working with the head of our public

program, Irene De Vico Fallani, and Sofia Bilotta

who is in charge of anything related to

accessibility. Through this work we succeed in

developing, at times in a pioneering way, the trends

and ideas that emerge. There are never

any statements. There are questions and with Marta

Morelli, head of educational programs,

we see them as foundational aspects of this being open to all.

But when you say “all” what does that mean?

I’d start with children.

Well, Freud says - but not only Freud - that

when children are born it’s

in their first 6 years that they build definitive cognitive

and emotional maps i.e. what they do not

builds in the first 6 years they will no longer build.

My daughter is 5 years old so we have we have a

other year of work then after that the cognitive maps,

in other words, the way a child comes to know

the world, which doesn’t mean that in the first 6 years

the child knows everything he will ever know

obviously, but it is a mode that is

determined during the early years. So, it can be a sad mode,

an enthusiastic mode, a reflective mode

that is developed during that period. Then there

are the emotional maps, the ones with which they experience

the world. So this means we are

faced with the idea of a mode in

approaching and understanding, talking of a broad public, children.

Or rather, and I

correct myself, by talking about publics because it is always they

that have different needs and so the

interesting thing is that on the one hand museums have

always tried to open up to everyone in a secular way

and have as many visitors as possible

to create culture, but actually to create exchanges

through one's audience, and then there is all the work

Required to make a museum open and also accessible

to all forms of disability. In

Italy the figure is one in five people, so 22% have

some form of disability.

But in actual fact they would seem to be two different ideas:

open what is public to everyone and dealing with

disability. Actually, they are two problems for

which there can be one and the same solution, and, with its design tables,

MAXXI per tutti †

shows this very clearly by

asking questions within a space of confrontation,

to place the problems in context and discover

opportunities. Solutions then emerge

but in the meantime, the fact of meeting, discussing and contextualising the

problems is a way to imagine possible

solutions. I think that is the beauty of the system.

There is no right or wrong, it is a collective approach†

to designing a public’s experience

Let me try to be

even clearer. The needs of a

person, say, without an

arm or with a broken arm, or those of

a woman with a baby in her arms, are exactly

the same, they don't change. No need to go into

the area of pathologies.

Some pathologies are, say, permanent some temporary and

others, I would say, are like

heart disease. Even a pregnant woman

requires the same sort of attention as a

heart patient and the same is true

for the other senses. So, you can actually

design accessibility so it becomes

a kind of shared social responsibility.

It is a matter of method and

being able to work synergistically with people who think up

spaces, like Mario Cucinella for

example, can become interesting

because then the envelope and the container

inform each other. Let's say, without being original and

quoting Cerruti who this morning

spoke or wrote about a dance that

requires time to be danced. I

found that beautiful looking at some of the athletic,

allow me the term, forms that Zaha Hadid offers us.

We too had the idea

of a dance, of movement and questioning

what is static: the object

with respect to the public. So then, to use a

English term, museums could

be a visitor-oriented-process with a process

that is visitor-oriented rather than object-oriented.

As I said at the beginning of my talk

rather than starting from the object we should

start from people's behaviour,

and start from a physical place,

for instance, the Fondazione Rovati in Milan.

First of all, it is extraordinary

in the way its various levels present

a variety of identities that have

a common and total sense, but we should also say that

the idea of an identity of spaces and flow of the

public must have been central to your

design approach.




Architect, founder & creative director of MCA – Mario Cucinella Architects



Yes, absolutely. The museum is a sort of

time travel.

You travel through time, however it something that gives this sense of the

continuity of the of the art world, a feeling

that seems very interesting to me. Then I also wanted to offer a

quick comment about co-design

because it's kind of what I was saying earlier. We

we do it quite regularly when

we design schools because we always hold

workshops with the kids for the simple

reason that the kids come up with suggestions

about their school because it’s they who go to school, not me.

So we don’t necessarily

have to do things the way they ask us, however

they tell us things that perhaps we hadn't

thought about because we are no longer 6 years old, we are

much older. I’m always surprised

by the narrative abilities even of a seven- or eight-year-old child

who can tell us

about what kind of space he would like, right?

Lots of very common things always crop up

like the theme of greenery that is always a common theme

that takes us back a little to some

of Morin’s ideas about this ancestral relationship with

nature that maybe emerges in childhood.

So I draw a school

and a child imagines it

always full of greenery. He always imagines it with

a park, with a lawn,

he always imagines that there are animals. He may be

a city or a country child, but there always

is something in his nature, as in ours, right?

He may also always have idea that school is not

is a closed box but an open box, right?

So, we want to see the sky. Why? Because

classrooms are all closed: Maybe later that’s not how you’ll

design it, But that process of dialogue

brings us closer to them and they can exercise their

imagination. What I find

disconcerting in a positive way is that these

codesigns are exercises in imagination,

through them we use our imagination, right? No and it’s not that there

are that many places to carry out an imaginative exercise.

Television communication, communication using

Mobiles leaves no room to the imagination. Take

this very simple example: cinema. Now

I don't want to sound too traditionalist, and claim that the

past is the future, however once, when you’d

go to the cinema to see a

Pasolini or a Rossellini film, the story would leave you

with room for imagination. You’d watch

the film and after that you also kept imaging about the character.

I don't know, I was always fascinated by the fact that

cinema left room for my imagination about

a love story that might continue of

maybe something else might have happened, or maybe I could have

had a different role among the characters. In any event

but it would leave me with room for my imagination. Instead,

what we see today does not

because it is so real, so embedded in

reality that it no longer allows me any imaginative space.

So when I've finished viewing I no longer have

any room to imagine something different, right?

And that is really what happens because I see something

that doesn’t leave any memories. You don't have any memories left; you see

something and then you don't remember it. Conversely,

those moments of co-design are a

collective imagination exercise and I think that it

is really one of the few places where we can

really help either kids or people with

different natures, who have different views of

world. So not only young people but mature people too

can work together

with the architects and the curators, In other words,

with the people who work in these places,

exercising their imagination together

and enriching the complexity, right? To go back to the

initial theme, the complexity of a project,

whether a curatorship project or a project

to reorganize a space.

However, I really miss that.

I really like to step out of my box

to dialogue with others, to understand how to see

a space, right? Because, as you also said before,

there is not just a single public, there are many, many

different perceptions. Just think according to the height of

a person, he sees different things.

If he is one metre tall or one metre eighty the painting

or the sculpture he sees will not be the same. So, coming

to understand all this is wonderful

and the fact that there is a space that is capable of

explaining all this and accommodating needs seems to me to be

an amazing evolution. The fact that we each can emerging from

our boxes of each of us this I think

it is the most powerful exercise of

participating in co-design.





MAXXI Curator and Artistic Director



I fully agree and

I must say I feel very lucky and privileged

to have been giver this role at this point

in history. I feel that compared to five years ago, as somebody mentioned earlier,

there has been a climate change, with a totally open exchange on the

subject of the evolution or of the paradigm

shift that is occurring for these issues.

This might have been possible between

certain departments but would never have

been discussed as foundational aspects, say, between a

director and an architect.

Yes, they start from co-design. That is,

first, they start a design

but, in addition, this is co-designed. So that

means, as you were explaining, that

it isn’t meant to provide solutions but

is actually a way, an approach based

on creating an exchange intended to be an attempt

toward finding possible solutions. I find that

in the last few years we have made giant strides, collectively,

and I find this a great






Curator and Director of the MACTE Museum in Termoli



It bodes well for the future that

we should imagine this museum

of the future together, a museum that can perhaps

be place, therefore possessing space and time, to be

together and to interpret in an increasingly

more accessible way, the complexity of the

present and of the future that awaits us. I thank

Mario Cucinella and Francesco Stocchi as well as the

interpreters who alternated during this

session and I leave the floor to my colleague Marcella

Beccaria to conclude this Study Day.

Thank you again. Thank you. See you soon.





AMACI Vice President, Curator and Deputy Director of the Castello di Rivoli



Good day to you all. Thank you Caterina Riva.

Let me thank all the speakers and panelists

who have preceded me during our study day

on The Age of the Museum. The Contemporary Art Museum

as a Hub of Complexity. I think

the day definitely allowed us all to

gain many ideas and

insights. My colleagues have kindly

tasked me with drawing today’s conclusions and

I would say that what I have learned today, and I believe

that it is perhaps the message with which the

day has left us all, is actually that

perhaps a conclusion would, I fear, presuppose the idea

of reducing the complexity, through which we

traveled and danced and of which we dreamed,

to something simple, and I fear that would be

the wrong message. It would be a little absurd,

although one might obviously be tempted to try to

summarize what was said and draw

conclusions. That is because the notes I took about

the ideas and insights were so many: dancing between

parts, invisible archaeology,

the Museum of Opacity,

the Slow Museum, the ability to recombine

and above all imaginate, that was

perhaps one of the most fascinating insights in the last

interventions: ways in which co-design

can be understood as a moment

through which one can imagine and then build

memory. But I don’t actually think that is the

Point. The point of our day as AMACI is

the theme that we had set ourselves, and

maybe this is something I would like to convey and share with the

public. We also really wanted to provide and insight into

the daily challenges and the

topics that we deal with on a daily basis, we who work within

Museums. In other words, the questions we ask ourselves

whenever we think about programming exhibitions,

every time we think about ways

of narrating our collections, every time

we think about ways of writing a text, whether it be a

catalogue or wall captions. These questions that

were presented today are actually, let's say,

the day-to-day issues of museums and are how

we constantly develop

our work. So I really think

that today reflected our desire to

organise a day about these

themes, to really communicate and provide

further transparency to the positions,

the issues and the questions are always

raised actually behind

the scenes. That is why I asked

my colleagues to be here with

me so as to make the processes even more transparent.

Because all the questions we discussed

during the course of this articulated day and

all the issues we asked our

wonderful speakers to address here

with us, are the actual issues

we face practically daily and often, for some of us, even at night

They are actually issues that we

discuss every day with the

artists who animate the lives of our

museums. I would also like to add another thing: AMACI

is an association, as our president, Lorenzo Balbi said so well,

that includes over 24

contemporary art museums across Italy.

I think that today’s conference, organised thanks to the support of the

Directorate-Greneral for Contemporary

Creativity of the Ministry of Culture that

has constantly stood by us throughout our progress,

Clearly reveals the face that

that basically all museums are contemporary museums.

Some of them deal specifically

with contemporary art, and some of today’s speakers

reminded us that perhaps in museums of

future this specificity will no longer exist, but

we can be sure that really all museums will be contemporary,

which is why we intentionally invited

colleagues who manage museums whose main

specificity is different. They are all museums of the

contemporary. Museum are not suspended entities.

museums sadly have doors that are

locked, at times in the evening, maybe late after

events. However, and I think someone said this

very well today, the museum is not something that

floats in a vacuum, rather it is like a

planet that is constantly subjected to multiple

gravitational forces and, just like a planet,

it also has the ability, as physics teaches us,

to sometimes slow down time

around itself and, as physics actually teaches us,

in turn it also has the ability to change

what it looks at. This is a very important feature.

in our curatorial work.

We are always aware that, according

to how we narrate an object and

represent or place it within

collections, we will possibly change the

perception of that object. Hence the museum obviously has

multiple responsibilities but I think

that the grammar, today we talked about

linguistics, and an insight that we can certainly gain from

today also concerns

the ways in which we ourselves are perhaps still

organized and how we describe ourselves. We have

organization charts, we talk about arranging the

collections. Actually, perhaps even this terminology

belongs to a perspective that

is not as immersed in the contemporary as we

we might wish, and I noticed that some of our

moderators, and some of the speakers we

invited, whose contribution were totally

inspiring, some

said they thought of themselves as non- experts in the area of contemporary art.

Someone mentioned the fact

that he felt hesitant to talk about art

and didn't want address the issue. That helps us

realise, let's say, that we have plenty of work to

do because, for all of us instead, I believe our

mission is actually to prevent

contemporary art being perceived as a

specific field. Almost none of the artists with whom

we have the pleasure of working with today has a

specific field, and when we collect

artists' biographies there is often a

very broad introduction: he works with painting,

photography, sound, music, performing arts,

The list is often very long because, it’s true, contemporary art

teaches us precisely

through its very processuality, that it is the field

of non-specificity. So, I think that as

AMACI, together with this day

and the various messages that were launched, our

hope, and in this we certainly see a roadmap for

our future work, is to

present this non-specificity in a way

that always best welcomes a variety of

publics. There is a very long list of people to thank for

this study day and President Balbi

already mentioned several of them. I want to specially thank

especially the sign language interpreters. This is the first time

that one of our study days has used them

to ensure the day was accessible.

And, if you’ll allow me, I'll end by coming back for a moment

to the past, which is perhaps not that past by quoting

an ancient Greek philosopher, Anaximander. He

left us with a thought that, I believe, is perhaps very fitting,

and I quote:

“All things originate from one another and vanish into one another according to necessity;

they give to each other justice in conformity with the order of Time.”





Thank you.