Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Visit to ReMida

In typing up this reflection on my visit to ReMida, I realized that 4 pages was probably too long for the blog. I want to share with you that the experiences Kelley and I have had the opportunity to participate in are packed with rich philosophy and content. I think that the best thing that I can do is offer a slice of my experience but I will have to hold some material for future sharing. In this particular entry, I also want to share that there is a lot of philosophy/theory involved but I will be telling you about the events.

I had the opportunity to go to a facility called ReMida. The center collects, exhibits, and offers alternative and reclaimed materials, obtained from unsold stock and rejects or discard materials from industrial and handicraft production, with the aim to reinvent their use and meaning. This facility is a project run through the Municipality of Reggio Emilia. It is a resource for teachers, parents and artists.

The name of the workshop I attended was "Material books: Intrinsic Possibilities in Materials Fashioned into Books" by Alba Ferrari and Luisa Cigni. We had a tour of the facility. You can see the pictures. They also had many aesthetically beautiful ways to display their recaptured materials. The instructors provided examples of their work, and one parent workshop involved storytelling. The provocation involved working in small groups to tell a story from a fabric color swatch book with no words. The story the parents told was so interesting and creative that I simply enjoyed hearing the story.

Alba and Luisa provided my study group with the challenge of creating an “unreadable book” like the one used in this parent group. We were encouraged to use any materials we found in ReMida. There were two rules. First, the book should be unusual, without words, curious, attractive and no more than 8 pages. Second, it should fall into one of the following categories: mono-chrome (one color), olfactory (smell), square, bi-chrome (two colors), sound, rectangular, black/white or round. In walking around to look at the various materials, I listened to another participant named Elizabeth who was viewing the materials. She was talking to herself as she looked. And, if you know me, you know that I was also doing the same thing. In listening, I realized that we were saying the same things. I suggested that we might want to work together and Elizabeth agreed. We fashioned a square book that is meant to be read with the sense of touch and without the sense of vision. We proved a blind fold that read, “Touch. No Look.”

The possibilities are endless when you give new life to discarded materials.

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