M.E.M.O.RI., Euro Mediterranean Museum of Re(f)used Objects, is an intercultural art project, the result of research in the euro-Mediterranean area into opening a Museum featuring ordinary objects. M.E.M.O.RI. displays its permanent exhibition, hosts temporary exhibitions of artists and collectives, offers educational tours, manages the archive and the warehouses of its collections, with the loans office and the purchasing section. All these areas are actually a game through which one can ask questions about places, involved on the themes of encounter and exchange.
WWhat is it
M.E.M.O.RI., Euro Mediterranean Museum of Rejected, Re(f)used Objects, is a travelling museum that exhibits fragments, traces, and small items collected during the journey made by those involved in the “il Salone dei Rifiutati” cooperative in 5 Mediterranean cities (Genoa, Marseille, Malaga, Tunis and Tétouan) and 5 cities in the Basilicata region (Bernalda, Venosa, Matera, Muro Lucano, and Potenza). The research has been carried out through a practice of creative crossings aimed at getting to know the places of the 10 communities involved, and discovering or reliving the urban space in search of artistic or domestic artifacts, souvenirs, local handicraft cast-offs, items retrieved from the sea or found in the street. The recovered objects have become the pretext for annotating gestures, meetings, influences, traditions and changes, chronicled in museums, homes, shops, artisanal workshops on the streets, and in the ports. Passing through, passing by, the research into artifacts and articles has opened up the various different collections, witnessing a shift of interest from the typical to the topical object. The ability to evoke the cultures to which they belong, their souvenirs, merges with the universality of incidental and everyday findings, travel memoirs, common objects, flight tickets, pocket items or objects found on the street with the goal of tracing, in respect of the original meaning of the word souvenir, the memory and its way of encountering reality by preserving and nurturing the past. The objects gathered during these journeys gave birth to the M.E.M.O.RI. collections, displayed in a permanent exhibition and several temporary exhibitions in a unique and interactive way. Retracing the stories contained within the objects, M.E.M.O.RI. is a path that attempts to offer elements for reflection on the relationship between man and man, opening up questions about the meaning of the cultures within which these things were born and were exchanged, handled, experienced. It is a veritable museum of circumstances, in which, behind every apparently simple object, a journey of the hand is hidden; the hand that touches something, brushing against it, taking it, leaving it, giving it away, in an attempt to give shape to portions of the world. In a time that often industrialises souvenirs, rendering them anonymous, the desire to find here a sense of uniqueness and authentic representation of a place, led us to decide to turn to the sense of souvenirs through the ancient concept of symbols. In ancient Greek the term symbol (σύμβολον) recalled the practice whereby two people, two families or even two cities, when greeting and parting, would break a tile, usually made from terracotta, or a ring, and each of them would keep one of the two parts, as a testimony of the encounter, of the agreement. The search for souvenirs, in this case, has become for us a tangible memory of exchanges, of debate, of dialogue between people. Far from providing answers on identity and culture, M.E.M.O.RI. proposed, in conclusion, a way of narrating and sharing the experience of travel; in this case a journey through Europe and the Mediterranean, where for thousands of years, also through the exchange of objects and goods, people have tried to find dialogical keys that may link and ensure mutual recognition.
M.E.M.O.RI. is set out like a museum in the classic sense, with exhibition and conservative paths made up of showcases and display cases. Playing with its vision of being a museum, it has its own growing collection which consists of permanent exhibitions and temporary displays. However, in the enjoyment of the exhibits that are shown and preserved, these have been re-purposed, or rather reprocessed through the creation of mechanical, electronic and digital devices (grafts, circuits, app, controls, auxiliary objects…) which, in addition to formally composing the meeting of objects, make for an interactive experience and allow you “handle” the exhibits: a direct intervention of the visitor’s hands on the display case, not to be understood as an alteration, but as a chance to relate to the finding, taking it away from the exclusive power of vision and offering it to other possible senses.
HHow it is structured
M.E.M.O.RI. consists of an Anarchive followed by 5 sections that are named Rooms, i.e. spaces where you are invited to stay, to take your time, slow down, and explore.
The Anarchive is the space that, through a collection of documents and testimonies, preserves the memory of the exhibits and the research methodology adopted in the process of investigation that has characterised the M.E.M.O.RI. project. It is an unusual archive, that opens up various narrative possibilities on the exhibits being displayed, and allows the construction of paths that are subjective and different from those proposed in the museum areas, foreseeing the enabling of parallel narrative levels and different didactic landing spaces.
SThe Room of Signs
The Room of Signs is the place that welcomes the findings of traces and presence, the encounter between man and matter, of rediscovery and reciprocity. It is the space where the hand touches, squeezes and sinks, an ambassador of our bodies; and that in touching, leaves a mark, deposits a meaning, and establishes its passage. A room where the hand, experiencing things, tries to feel the world and explore it through original and universal gestures.
FThe Room of Fragments
The Room of Fragments is the place of fragility and small things, where the objects speak through their remains and details, rather than through their completeness. This room narrates the hand which, in collecting pieces and relics of matter, has reassembled a new beauty that eschews totality and belonging to a whole.
CThe Room of Falls
The Room of Falls is the gathering of the humbler exhibits, collected from the ground while passing through artisanal workshops; it is the place where things that fall, and are lost, find their voice: sawdust, threads, machining scrap, buttons… In this room the hand collects and elevates, moves things, lets go, but it is also invited to flip over, because the fall may be reversed and, by changing the point of view, may offer other possible narratives.
RThe Room of Repetitions
The Room of Repetitions is where the artifacts that have been collected celebrate cyclicality, return, circularity, the forms of matter. But it’s also the story of the hand that learns, that builds a rhythm, repeats and reworks, advancing little by little into the mystery of gestures and shapes, allowing itself to connect with different kinds of knowledge and wonder, enchantment and hypnosis.
ChThe Room of Chimeras
The Room of Chimeras is a place where the exhibits become visions, imaginary scions. Originally inspired by the universe of myths, it is the space in which we advance towards the future riding on suggestions that have roots in the past: objects, artifacts, work tools and visitors come together to be part of the same creature, elements of the self-same structure. The hand, in a suspended game between real and unreal, possible and impossible, it is no longer only an agent that touches the exhibit, but becomes, together with the whole body, a part of the same world.
M.E.MO.RI. it is a museum that spreads, that expands.
It is an external section of the M.E.M.O.RI. which, complete with a museological protocol for exhibition and inauguration, it is set up in other places by anyone who wants to transform his private collection into an exhibition, a story, a welcome.
It is a game about the meaning of the things and the contained stories that they contain, which continues even outside this exhibition context and enters the spaces of people’s daily lives, in their homes. Anyone who wishes can transform the silence of private objects into stories and open doors for others to arrive.
Use the MemorAbilia app to view the work of M.E.M.O.RI. on loan and open the furniture to know who is hosting it.
it was a participatory action carried out simultaneously in five of the ten cities involved in the M.E.M.O.RI project: Genoa (at the Galata Museo del Mare e delle Migrazioni); Matera (at Palazzo Lanfranchi Museum); Venosa – PZ (near Pirro del Balzo Castle); Potenza (at MOON – Workshop Museum of Narrative Object); Malaga – Spain (at the Malaga Museum). In the five cities, five working groups received a kit, each numbered with a code that would allow geolocation.
The MemorAbilia kit is a package that is the same for everyone, but with customizable elements: through the intervention of the person, with his manual skills and sensitivity, sense is added to the object, loading it with a personal imprint. MemorAbilia kit is a format that has been designed to overcome distance and condense a common experience, shared by all participants in different cities. The game action has seen the succession of different stages in progression performed simultaneously, connecting the five places with a multiple Skype call connection and a direct Facebook connection.
At the end of the journey, a choral moment was reached with the sharing of the content of the special 3D video letter MemorAbilia, addressed to all travelers around the world.
Starting from the research topic on which the M.E.M.O.RI project moves, the MemorAbilia action has provided for the crossing of three different dimensions: distance, contemporaneity, expectation.
Distance is what unites us. Reflecting on the space that unfolds like a carpet between one place and another, between one meeting and another, it is precisely that space that allows the construction of an itinerary, of a possible path.
The context in which we move is contemporary. We have chosen to fulfill our “obligation of contemporaneity” through the integration of analog and technological tools that allow multimodal / multimedia interaction: just as human communication has, in fact, more communicative repertoires which it uses during the issuance of a message, in the same way this action involves the grafting of personal devices, familiar objects and new technologies.
In this process, at the same time, it also maintained the sense of simultaneous. The MemorAbilia action took place, in fact, in the five places designated at the same time.