We’re at the Museo Tolomeo in Bologna for the final day of the creative marathon!
We’re playing at home today. After two brilliant but highly intense days at the Museo Carlo Zauli in Faenza and the Museo del Risorgimento e della Resistenza in Ferrara, we’re concluding our takeover of BAM!’s web and social media channels and our special mixer expedition at the Museo Tolomeo in Bologna. It’s Sunday, the final day of the first Italian edition of Museomix: the most eagerly awaited moment, when the museomixer team is called upon to complete and install the prototypes. Time seems to be flying by today. The museums will be opening to the public free of charge at 4 p.m., so that they can test the creations. There’s not a moment to lose!
The museomixers are all in their groups and hard at work around their tables when we arrive. We know what to expect now. The atmosphere is similar to what we saw on Friday and Saturday in the other museums. We’ve grown accustomed to what seems to be one of the main characteristics of Museomix: the noise of ideas taking shape. We’ve learned to recognise and really appreciate this unique noise over the course of these three days. Here at the Tolomeo too, voices are constantly mingling with the noise of the equipment and machinery being used. However, in this case, the dining area and the FabLab are in the same room: just a few metres away from the biscuits and coffee you are likely to come across drills and spanners. In all the museums, the mixture of objects, people and ideas is an essential element. It is clear to hear, see and experience
The Museo Tolomeo is an environment that sets out to tell the story of the Istituto dei Ciechi “Francesca Cavazza” in an exciting fashion. The Bolognese museomixers have decided to take the visitor experience to the next level. The objective shared by all the projects (it took us a while to realise this) is to target both those with normal vision and the visually impaired, without altering the sensory condition of either group. There are four teams, with some very interesting names: the Drunken Cats, the Amorous Hens, the Sexy Cows and the Mad Horses. The first team is developing “common grounds”: a participatory sensory map, thanks to which even those with normal vision can use sounds, smells and touch to experience the city in a different way. The Amorous Hens have created the “Tolocomando”: pushing a button produces a sound that will lead you along a certain route through the museum. “Braille Box” is the creation by the Sexy Cows: an object that uses the “Braille WTF” game to explain the meaning and function of Braille to everyone. Last, but not least, we have the project developed by the Crazy Horses: “the eleventh gateway of Bologna” is a suitcase containing three tactile and audible stories for visitors.
A quick lunch break, time to carry out a few fundamental last touches on the prototypes, and it’s already 4 p.m. The museum doors are opening to the public! As the minutes pass, the major promotional efforts made over recent days start to reap rewards and the number of visitors increases. The museomixers can finally present the result of more than two days of hard work. We initially feel a bit lost: we struggle to interpret people’s sensations and reactions as they approach the prototypes. There’s a lot of confusion in the room because the crowd is starting to grow (there’s even a dog looking around in the museum!). We soon realise that it’s not easy answering all the visitors’ many questions. Summing up Museomix without leaving out a number of fundamental aspects (which we’ve also probably grown very attached to) is actually very difficult.
In short, what has Museomix achieved? Creative “chaos”. The perception we had is that people really made the museum over these three days: “people do make museums”. It’s something that is complex to explain in theory, but we can assure you that it’s an incredible experience in practice. In order to understand it thoroughly, it may perhaps be necessary to experience it for yourself (we did our best to incorporate a set of highly varied impressions in three articles!). We met people of all kinds, ages, backgrounds and origins and we realised that mixing people brings them closer, unites them and leads to the creation of a community, even before resulting in a prototype to be tested. Human relations won the day. And we know that when this happens it’s a positive thing on balance. Fortunately, BAM! had the crazy idea of mixing Italian museums.
That’s all from the special correspondents. Thank you for following us during these three days of confusion, community and complicity: the three “c’s” that, in our opinion, best represent the first Italian edition of Museomix.