The Menotti House, Where Technology is at the Service of Art
It doesn’t happen often, especially in Italian provincial towns, that innovative projects are discovered that can restore as well as value the cultural history of a specific place. Of course one can object by saying that in recent years many have aimed to create festivals and huge events to liven up the country and foster cultural exploration. We have moved on, beyond the cliché of the riches of natural history, and are now into economies of discovery, of emotion. Without an exhibition or event able to attract people or create an adequate emotional response, it is very hard to get people to go see a place, especially in a country, such as Italy, where the cultural offer is very rich and competition is strong. If there’s no flow, this economy will never recover. This is the real danger.
It’s also the reason why the work of the Monini Foundation in Spoleto, with their reopening of the Menotti House to the public and the creation of the Center for Research for the Festival of Two Worlds, is all the more notable. This is not important only because of the vocation of the Foundation to the safeguarding and conservation of the memory of Gian Carlo Menotti, the creator in 1958 of the first grand festival, but also for having rendered Spoleto a cultural laboratory under the open sky, an international reference point that has witnessed some of the greatest artists of the century. A multimedia itinerary enriched with documents, photos, and interactive video projections reconstructs– with an effect that is innovative, yet still theatrical– the atmosphere and the history of this man of culture, who, inside the house would often invite the artists after the Festival for appetizers or drinks and spend hours discussing art and music with them. Credit for this innovative museum idea goes to Maria Flora Monini, of the well-known olive oil production company, in conjunction with a competitive staff composed of Stefano Bonilli and the Emaki studio, who carried out the beautiful job of digitizing the documents, the Bicuadro Architecture studio, responsible for the architectural and equipment aspects, Benedetta Nervi, curator of the content, Mario Brunetti, in charge of graphic production, and Stefano Bicchi, who signed the engineering interventions. Finding a competent team to make an idea happen is not easy to achieve, especially not one dedicated to finding a way to display how the public figure of Menotti and the Festival came together with Menotti as a private lover of music and art.
This trip down memory lane was constructed sophisticatedly, with attention to detail, playful lighting and fading, and a pleasant mixture of games and interaction with virtual mechanisms that truly stand out in their design and construction. On the second floor, the visit begins: the focus is on the bed and the piano of the maestro, illuminated by theatre lights. Thanks to new multimedia music stands, there is also access to scores, pieces of music, and pictures that retrace the life of the maestro. On the first floor, thanks to interactive installations, one enters into the story behind the history of the Festival: a touchscreen table in the center of the room lets visitors access the Center for Research and select (with proper research criteria) videos, pictures, and texts. On one wall, a slideshow of Lionello Fabbri, the famous reporter of the Festival, plays constantly, organized chronologically as well as by theme and panorama. This is an immersive experience that is truly emotional and that, in an extremely refined way, has managed to maintain the legacy of an enormously significant philanthropist, as well as almost 60 years of the Festival, alive. This is an example for all of Italian culture.