Matera 2019

There had to be light, and indeed there was. On 19 December hundreds of citizens wanted to celebrate the last mile, those thirty days that separated the city from the opening ceremony that will officially make Matera the 2019 European Capital of Culture. The last approach to 2019 was lived as a collective experience through light in Casino Padula, location of the Open Design School and the symbolic place of the Matera 2019 road.

This is why it was chosen to host one of the fifteen Map Pointers, light installations inspired by the tradition of tea lights and positioned in the most diverse areas of the city to create an archipelago of lights and stories.

The lights, those of the individual bag lights assembled by the citizens during the laboratories, and the collective ones of the drop installation, spoke with each other to create a community experience that saw, when the work was switched on, a ritual moment that was liberating and, at the same time, almost initiatory.

An end and a beginning celebrated collectively, as happens when the lights are switched on on the day when the Patron saint of the city, the Madonna della Bruna, is celebrated, and which leads, in a frenetic acceleration, to the destruction of the triumphant carriage. The current moment of passage was identified in the same manner, between the end of the preparations and the start of a crucial year for the city, before acceleration.

Lumen/Social Light was created to interpret, include and implicate. Light illuminates, shows, therefore exists only through what is already. Yet when there is nothing beyond the light, only then does it not illuminate, but is, it exists, and it takes the scene, being enough for itself. Lumen/Social Light has managed to blend these two aspects with community and individual dimension. In its collective declination, light has become a social value. It has aggregated around itself, building in a peripheral neighbourhood the real participation of the community, in a moment of transition and celebration for the whole community. The involvement of the citizens in making the light bags made it possible to fuse together the subjectivity of a material road such as production with the sense of community generated by its end: the sharing of light, its interpretation in a collective key, which sees, at the opening ceremony on 19 January, its moment of maximum realisation.

Giving light and illuminating in a different manner: this is the deep meaning of the Lumen/Social Light route, which will continue through 2019, lighting up the Matera archipelago, in perfect harmony with the principles of the INTERREG Night Light project, of which the Fondazione Matera-Basilicata 2019 and the Basilicata Region are partners.

Moments and sensations of this evening remain. The silence of the wait. The positive tension in the looks towards the installation, which hasn’t been turned on yet. The amazement of light. The applause of the moments after switching on. A collective experience that can be community, like Matera 2019.

The Lumen and Social Light projects are supported by Enel and Calia Italia.