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Research: Cultural Civic Computing

Quartieri della Memoria

Provincia di Rieti, Italy and Los Angeles, 2005-2006.

Quartieri della memoria was an artwork for public spaces created under the direction of Alessandro Marianantoni. It focused on oral memories and set up a theater of the memory as a cultural rite in the audience’s mind. As the relationship between the residents and the public place changed and renewed, driven mostly by an economic policy, Rieti, a town in the center of Italy, was chosen as case study.

The pre-design phase of this project was characterized by cultural research focused on anthropological meanings, therefore on the history that builds the identity of social places. The research investigated the social-economical aspect: on the documentation of the area and with many interviews among the citizens. The interviews allowed the building of a data collection of people’s old photos and audio stories. Particular attention was placed on the relationship of the river and the neighborhoods the river crossed.

Strongly characterized by traditional occupations, all three neighborhoods chosen were also impacted by floods ("pianare" in the local dialect), which gave a rhythm to daily life. "There were up to thirteen floods per year,” one citizen said, forcing the people in these areas to move in and out and to change jobs according to the season. From the local dialect, the term "pianara" comes from the meaning of "making flat", i.e., once the flooding happens, the water flattens the neighborhoods.