Monumenta is the plural of the Latin word monumentum, and it means â€śmonumentâ€ť of course. The meaning of the word translates also into â€śwarningâ€ť and â€śmemoryâ€ť, because preserving memory of the past is what monuments of for.
Monumenta is also the title of a design show (or art show if you prefer) that I dedicated to my hometown Imola. Through this exhibit I try to explore the borders between what is local and what is universal as much as those between what is individual and what is collective.
The work has been thought out, designed and eventually producedÂ specifically for the San Domenico museum of Imola through a public call for entries.
This study model was presented together with my submission toÂ better illustrate my idea to the jury.
The Monumenta project is divided into four parts, each of which is developed as a series of works. The first part goes by the nameÂ Sala dell’Obelisco and is presented within the largest of the four rooms that the show takes up. It is a crowd-sourced project through which I continue theÂ research on the faultiness of human memory that began with Velocipedia. The story, very shortly, is this: in the early 2000s the local authorities decided that the towns most known monument, an obelisk in memory of the victims of WWI, was to be moved from the center of the townâ€™s main square to a nearby park. The decision got all the town arguing, dividing us between people who were totally in favor and people who were strongly against. Very few at the time seemed to have a moderate or controversial opinion. It took about 7 years to complete this operation so 2017 is the tenth anniversary since the monument has been re-inaugurated in its new location.
This is why I decided to seek the opinion and the memory of 100 randomly chosen fellow citizens. All were asked to tell me what their opinion regarding this obelisk was 17 years ago and what they think now. Also, they were all asked to give the best representation of the obelisk by memory with pen and paper.
Above are twenty of the 104 sketches I ended up collecting. This selection regards those that have been turned into tangible wood models for the show.
All 20 models are collected in this anigif, side by side with the sketch they have been based on. The last frame shows the monument as it actually looks like, but it’s only for presentation purposes.Â The show does not include any image of the real obelisk so visitors are challanged to remember it just like those who took part in theÂ survey.
Inside Sala dell’obelisco the balsa wood models are displayed on small wooden shelves that were lended by All’Origine.
The picture above shows a giant scaled replica of a Kazuki lamp by Kazuhide Takahama. In each of the four rooms there is a sculptural object and this one of course had to go in the room of the obelisks for evident reasons. Nonumenti is the name I call four objects which are strongly related to the town of Imola, which are not monuments, but that have in my opinion an artistic value. Bringing them in some form to the museum (as a scaled replica or as a reinterpretation) allows me to underline the artistic value of these objects.
The scaled up Kazuki lamp is a homage to the designerÂ (Kazuhide Takahama) as well as to the original manufacturer Sirrah, a no longer existing design brand with its factory and headquarters in Imola.
“Mimesi di un armadio elettrico” instead is a free reinterpretation of a much more humble object: this electric closet covered in adhesive camouflage vinyl, located in via Don Bughetti, Imola. I love the fact that the pattern has a very small tile which is mirrored and repeated. Also the fact that it appears to have fooled the vandals who wrote on it mistaking it for the actual wall. The work is a collaboration with textile and pattern designer Isotta Sabbioni.
AboveÂ is a replica of the Valvola antisismica by Pierluigi Ighina (1908-2004) who was a controversial and unorthodox scientist who lived in Imola. He claimed to be a disciple of Guglielmo Marconi and is the author of Â many inventions.Â Some of them have been empirically proved to work though he always refused to adopt a scientific method to demonstrate that. The replica of the anti-seismic valve Â is courtesy of Domenico Caputo, who has been studying the figure of Ighina for many years and casting a new light on his inventions. The original valve used to be installed in the garden of Ighina’s home in via Galli, Imola.
The last of the four â€śNonumentiâ€ť is a homage to another inventor from the town of Imola. Today he is in his 60â€™s I believe. The grille that protects his front door is a bed-base. Behind it he displays a copy of his bachelor degree. You can still see this today in via Saragozza, Imola
The third part of the show is also crowd sourced and still open. I do not ask for drawings in this case but for personal memories. My intention is to investigate the most private dimension of public monuments. Citizens of Imola have been asked through social media to participate by sharing with me their individual memories linked to specific monuments of the town. I take pictures of some of the monuments that are linked to particularly interesting stories and try to leave a graphic trace of them. Public becomes private and then public again through this series of post cards that are made available to visitors to take home. On the back each one presents its own story and the name of who told it.
This last work shares the same space with Censimento sentimentale: it is also aims at stressing the weakness of Â the border between what is public and what is private. For Souvenir Apocrifi the profiles of a series of local monuments (three by Giovanni Bellettini and one by Ferdinando Forlai) have been machine carved into four 100X70cm HDF panels. The resulting chips were collected, bagged, labeled and sold as souvenirs in a pretend bookshop.
A picture of the CNC mill preparing to carve one of the four panels.
The fine HDF chips have been collected and divided into small bags. Each has indications of which of the four carvings gave origin to its content: each bag is a (conceptual) souvenir of a specific monument.
A refurbished counter (courtesy of Allâ€™Origine) hosts the pretend bookshop, with postcards and HDF chip bags.
Below are someÂ photos of communication materials and of the opening night
all photos shot inside the museum are by Sergio Orselli