The Fusion Urban Games Festival in Matera from 31 October to 2 November
From 31 October to 2 November, through 15 different games, citizens of all ages had the chance to explore secret corners of the city, look for clues, solve mysteries, work together and compete, challenging other players and trying to come out on top.
The Fusion Urban Games Festival used virtual reality to inject new life into urban spaces and help participants rediscover traditional games through encounters with ghosts, porcelain dolls and strange personalities looking for gems and tails, the mystery of the death of CountTramontano, ecological tasks and urban poetry. The festival, which was produced with Plovdiv 2019, the other European Capital of Culture, was three days of pure enjoyment, and also part of a larger joint programme of activities called “Plotera weeks – Plovdiv and Matera together for an Open Future”. The games were designed by a team of game designers chosen from a public call published across Europe that rewarded projects from Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Germany, England, Slovenia, Romania and Italy. From its first day, the Fusion Urban Game Festival's playing field included the outskirts of Matera, including Serra Venerdì, for the game dedicated to ecology called the "Clean Game" and Agna Le Piane and Casino Padula, the location of the Open Design School, where one of the two Villages dedicated to the event was set up. Here, using a special VR set, participants were able to immerse themselves in virtual reality while they hunted for the ghosts of legendary personalities with their smartphones. There were also sessions of ancient games that were unknown to digital natives. During the same period, another part of the Village was established in Piazza San Francesco, the central point from which the routes followed by some of the games started and an info point for temporary and permanent citizens alike where they could register for some of the games and find information and promotional materials on Matera's twin European Capital of Culture, Plovdiv 2019. The games on offer included "Detective among the Sassi", a fascinating game for lovers of thrillers, who had to use a series of clues to discover who was responsible for the death of Count Tramontano in 1514. There was also the "Case of the Red Lady", the "Narrative Puzzle" and the "Urban Poem", which fully involved the participants in the festival of urban games. The urban game known as "Penombra", an "international" version of the project co-produced with the "Il Vagabondo" Association, also caused excitement with its journey into a dystopian future of Matera in 2119, which was transformed, divided and under a mysterious threat.
After Matera, the festival was also held in Plovdiv from 8 to 10 November, confirmation that it was an important tool for social activation and territorial inclusion for both cities.