Matera 2019

A blue box containing a map of the city, a bookmark with a list of emotions, a few crayons and some sheets of drawing paper for you to record important places in your life. This is the starting point for the long journey of emotions, collected and preserved in the Atlas of the City’s Emotions. Over 300 of Matera’s residents, aged between10 and 80, have been given this box and asked to draw their own ‘emotional map’, identifying places in the city where significant emotional events in their lives have taken place. 300 residents, 300 emotional maps, 3,000 secrets: a first kiss, the route to school, a quarrel, the streets where their grandparents lived, places which are still there, have changed, or have disappeared.

On 23 and 24 March La Secretissima Camera de Lo Core was opened – a site-specific multisensory installation divided into different areas, where residents’ memories bring to life the soul of places. The Chamber, which is the first chapter in the project ‘Atlas of the City’s Emotions’, co-produced by the Teatro dei Sassi, is an innovative way of visiting the city. Secret tales of the city become the spark that illuminates Matera’s streets. The installation will remain open for any visitor with a Matera 2019 Passport until 31 July in the Library, where the cultural heritage of the city is stored.

Some important international partners have contributed to the project. The stories of the ‘emotional map makers’ have been read and adapted by the author Alessandro Baricco with young writers from the Holden School in Turin who, acting as a link between the life of the city and the feelings of its residents, have produced a fascinating and diverse collection of stories ‘from the heart’ of Matera.

Closely connected with the maps drawn by residents are 37 works by the artist Stefano Faravelli – well known for his travel log – and by a group of over 40 artists under his direction, half of whom are from Lucania.

During the inauguration of ‘La Secretissima Camera de Lo Core’ visitors were entertained by choreography designed by the German dancer and choreographer Heike Hennig, who was inspired by the emotional maps, the works by the artists who took part in the ‘apiaries’ directed by Faravelli, and the first stories of young writers from the Holden School.

The design of the Chamber is also the work of Paolo Baroni, who makes theatrical devices and artisan lighting, while the artistic director is Massimo Lanzetta of the Teatro dei Sassi.

The literary and artistic adaptation and the community that collected memories, secrets and stories, have together created a great ‘Mother Map’: an emotional itinerary through the city produced by Stefano Faravelli on rice paper, which describes 15 stages of a novel route including unusual features of Matera and contains the wonderful scroll written by Alessandro Baricco. From 2020, the ‘Mother Map’ will be produced in a pocket-sized format and distributed to visitors who want to follow the ‘emotional places’ route through the city. On returning home, visitors will find a moment to reflect on their experiences of the journey and share them on the Atlas website with all the other ‘emotional travellers’.