#1 I MAESTRI
Accademia dei bambini is a universe apart and, at the same time, a world in which magical relationships and connections are created with what happens outside. If the impression of children and adults accessing this place for the first time is a combination of harmony, surprise and beauty, Accademia comes to life only through close dialogue between children and "masters". Their mutual exchange gives rise to workshops and experiences that convey intense emotions, joy of discovery and pleasure of sharing. This first video is an overview of the contributions created by all the "masters", who have animated the activities of Academia from 2015 to today. We hope it will inspire its viewers different and free approaches to play, learning and creativity.
#2 DIALOGO SUL SEGNO
Within the cycle of workshops “SEGNI - TRACCE – SCRITTURE” four “masters” (Chen Li, Claude Marzotto, Maia Sambonet and Massimo Sirelli) confront each other in a dialogue on sign, starting from their creative fields: calligraphy, writing, art, design, graphics, craftsmanship and the world of robots. Even if in their practices they use different tools, what they have in common, as stated by the calligrapher and artist Chen Li, is the attention to experimentation, the study of the sign intended "as the principle of everything and as a trace", to use the words of Claude Marzotto and Maia Sambonet. Everyone is attracted by the gesture, by "a movement that cannot lie, but that reveals". For Massimo Sirelli "the sign also expresses the need to recognize oneself, but at the same time not to be there". The video explores the dexterity, thoughts and creativity of these four "masters of sign", who never stop learning.
#3 THE SPACE
The space of Accademia dei bambini was designed by a group of students from the Architecture School in Versailles, led by their professors Cédric Libert and Elias Guenon. It is a flexible and multifunctional environment characterised by neutral colours and natural light. It can be perfectly adapted to the different activities of Accademia dei bambini, becoming from time to time a theatre, an atelier, an intimate place, a playground. Geometrical and mobile elements, such as a grandstand, a modular table, a screen and several seats, form variable compositions and always different perspectives that recall a metaphysical square, strangely populated by children.
#4 MARIO AIRÒ
The artist Mario Airò with his optical fibers of different sizes and colors creates unstable luminous landscapes, in which star constellations, northern lights, rainbows, solar bodies suddenly appear... In his workshop the phenomenon of light becomes something tactile, material and tamable. Children are seduced and amazed by the bright colors of these "braids of light" with which they play and surround themselves. They draw fluorescent paths, cross sparkling tunnels, invent new luminous adventures
#5 PARENTS AND KIDS
One of the fundamental goal of Accademia dei bambini is to stimulate a dialogue between different generations. An animated object with human features was at the heart of the project “Burattini, marionette… robot e bambini very”, which ran from September 2016 to January 2017. The children, accompanied by adults, were confronted with a possible double of their own, a representation in the form of puppet, marionette and robot. The historical Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla e Figli and the art director Massimo Sirelli with their shows and workshops accompanied the visitors of Accademia dei bambini in this fascinating journey of knowledge and discovery of themselves and others.
#6 ROBERTO PITTARELLO
Mail art was the focus of the workshop conceived in 2015 by university professor and expert in creative activities for children Roberto Pittarello. Children discovered the infinite possibilities of communicating with recipients far away in space, using cards, markers and a good dose of imagination. The “master” invited them to realize their messages by personalizing postcards and stamps with drawings, decorations and portraits. In this way they created a “postal circuit” that, according to Pittarello, is able to express “the history of relationships that unite people, the desire for friendship, the desire to donate”.
#7 SET UP
Accademia dei bambini changes skin, appearance, color every time it presents a new activity. As in a theatrical space, the different settings host the actions of many actors in play, creating unexpected atmospheres and imaginative scenarios. The commitment and dedication of the “masters”, educators, children and adults, who experience Accademia dei bambini, allow small metamorphoses or extraordinary transformations. The floor becomes a lawn or a luminous path, kaleidoscopes or colored planets descend from the ceiling beams, geometric shapes compose a mosaic ready to freely decompose and recompose.
#8 DEVENDRA BANHART
“Le straordinarie avventure di un archeologo celestiale” (The extraordinary adventures of a celestial archaeologist) was the title of the workshop created in 2017 by musician and visual artist Devendra Banhart. The children, guided by his voice and the notes of his guitar, climbed aboard an imaginary spaceship to cross the galaxies. During their personal space odyssey, they discovered a mysterious planet, very different from the earth, populated by strange animals and plants never seen before. Back on earth, every young "celestial archaeologist" transformed a simple transparent balloon into a fantastic planet to relive his adventurous space mission.
#9 CHEN LI
Chen Li is an artist and calligrapher , who is able to reproduce and decode ancient symbols that come from very distant universes: from the Egyptian alphabet to Chinese ideograms. With the use of natural pigments, simple tools and elements such as leaves, pine cones and branches, children approached the arcane poetry of graphics for trial and error. They learned the strength and meaning of a gesture that leaves a temporary but never random trace on the paper. The millenary rigour of calligraphy met the unpredictable imagination of children.
#10 THE SHOW: MARCELLO CHIARENZA
In Autumn 2015 the artist, author and theatre director Marcello Chiarenza involved the participants of his workshops in the creation of the scenography of a show. The idea was to describe the gradual passage of the seasons, the incontrovertible beauty of nature and its evolutions, the rebirth. This show realized in December 2015 had as protagonists a small group of children pushed to imagine, together with the "master", the surprising transformations of a winter landscape able to change with the heat of fire and sunlight.
#11 MAIA SAMBONET AND CLAUDE MARZOTTO
What does it mean to invent a house? How do you give a form to a domestic space starting from a plant that gradually becomes a living and real environment? How much imagination is necessary to give a home a soul? These and other questions were answered in the workshop "La casa prende corpo" created by Claude Marzotto and Maia Sambonet in 2015. The children worked in small groups as skilled craftsmen, artists and builders, using pencils, scissors, gluing rollers, prints, fabrics and drawings as their tools. The final result was the invention of a utopian child-friendly architecture, full of energy and creative freedom.
#12 COLLECTIVE ACTIVITIES
The collective events were an opportunity to test, in a wider dimension, the results and practices of the workshops conceived for children alone or accompanied by their parents. Claude Marzotto, Maia Sambonet and Chen Li extended their activities to adults, involving them in an atmosphere of play and collaboration with the children. These events invented a new form of being together having fun and learning and stimulated a growing dynamic of surprising interactions and pleasant discoveries.
#13 MICHELE EMMER
Michele Emmer is a mathematician, a writer and a film director, who perfectly knows the rigid geometric formulas that allow to draw and build solids, polygons and symmetrical structures. He knows how to give concreteness to those "visible harmonies" that make the formation of snowflakes or the creation of an Arabic mosaic possible. The universe created by Emmer for Accademia dei bambini was made of mirrors and three-dimensional structures inspired by Kepler's drawings. A world suspended between the authentic wonder of discovery and the tangible beauty of mathematical formulas.
#14 SET UP: THE SCREEN WALL
One of the main spatial features of Accademia dei bambini is a large white surface. It is a mobile wall that, depending on the needs, becomes a projection screen, a magnetic board, a support on which you can glue geometric shapes and drawings. It works as a palimpsest in which many different writings created from time to time in each workshop are ideally superimposed. Like a blank page of a sketchbook or a clear wall on which shadows and reflections are projected, the screen welcomes the inventions of children and "masters", a stream of images in constant movement.
#15 COLLECTIVE ACTIVITIES
"The Garden of Forking Paths" is the title of a 1941 short story by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. The visual artist Mario Airò borrowed it for the collective workshop created in 2017 for Accademia dei bambini. The "master" involved children and parents in the construction of a labyrinth made of dozens of coloured threads intersecting in space. It is an amusing and playful transposition of Borges’ brilliant intuition. In his literary work he imagined the multiplication of many possible time lines converging in a single future. “La catena dei bambini veri” (The chain of real children) was the final workshop of the project “Burattini, marionette… robot e bambini veri” which explored the theme of empathy between 2016 and 2017. A series of portraits and figures of children hand in hand unrolls before our eyes. It is the simplest and truest image of the need for participation and understanding of the other.
#16 THE SHOW: MATITA
Accademia dei bambini ended 2018 with an event open to the public conceived by MATITA. This group of “rhythmic drawers”, composed by Francesca Giomo, Fabio Bonelli and Antonello Raggi, conducted a concert-performance for 16 participants, between children and adults. During the live performance pencils were used as real musical instruments. Lines, circles and squares became the notes of an original coloured score projected on two big screens. A magical dialogue between sounds and images was created with the background of improvised melodies from a piano played live.
#17 ERBARI VAGABONDI
The workshops titled “Erbari vagabondi”, created by landscape architect and greenhouse specialist Marianna Merisi, was a journey through the mysterious dynamics of nature and the plant world in particular. Vagabond plants are commonly called weeds or wild plants and often their existence is questioned by man. The French botanist Gilles Clement chose for them the adjective “vagabond” as they are plants that conquer new territories with ease, transported by the wind, by animals, by the soles of our shoes. They grow up where they want, defying the spaces that the human beings would like to be devoted to something else. Children were invited to create terrestrial animals, butterflies, birds and large expanses of poppies through drawing and painting. In this way they could take advantage of the vitality and freedom with which nature appropriates the space that is granted or denied to it to give life to forms of unexpected beauty.
#18 THE SHOW: RISERVA CANINI
“We will tell you a story of noises today, a story that has ears for eyes, a story to listen, to hear..." With these words Marco Ferro and Valeria Sacco of the theatre company Riserva Canini introduced the show that concluded their workshop “The language of sound: the symphony of the forest”.
Children and adults were called to close their eyes and cross a landscape made of noises created by the two actors and the public manipulating or shaking everyday objects such as a sheet of paper or a layer of nylon or sounds produced by improvised musical instruments such as whistles, or small percussion instruments. The partecipants of Accademia dei bambini learned to listen to the silence and the different sounds of the forest, such as the wind in the leaves, the squeaking of the deer, the light footsteps of ants, the croaking of frogs, but above all to recognize the quiet but constant rhythm of their emotions.
#19 SET UP: MARCELLO CHIARENZA
Marcello Chiarenza rediscovers myths, symbols and dramaturgies of nature, working as theatre director, set designer and sculptor. For Accademia dei bambini he invented an evocative show starting from an installation that combined natural elements such as cotton, bamboo rods, leaves, tree trunks with jute bags, umbrellas, mirrors and clothing. In his installations the winter landscape undergoes a continuous metamorphosis, the environment is humanized and at the same time the human presence is confused with nature. This magical world is invaded by flowers of light, feeble torches and snowflakes, but above all by the unpredictable and always different gesture of children.
#20 FINAL VIDEO: COLLA
“The protagonists of the final video of Accademia Aperta are Giannetta Ottilia Latis, creator of Accademia dei bambini, and Eugenio Colla of the historical Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla e Figli. The video opens with Giannetta Ottilia Latis, caught by the lens as she crosses the space of Accademia dei bambini. It ends as she watches us sitting on the stairs. It is a discreet reminder of the determination with which she has developed new paths for the children, through a creative exchange between them and the ‘masters’, a productive dialogue in which philosophy, art, cinema and science have merged. Eugenio Colla allows us to enter the magical world of puppets. Perhaps the answer to the question ‘who moves who?’ can be found in his words. Two intelligences, two enthusiasms, a thousand questions left unanswered to which we will try to give answers by continuing with their teachings”.
Gabriele Ferraris, curator of Accademia dei bambini