In the valorization and transmission of cultural heritage, the territory plays a fundamental role. The direct exploration of places makes it possible to understand their specificities, highlight their narratives to translate and make them accessible. However, when the live experience of the place is denied, as in the case of lockdowns during the Covid pandemic, it is much more difficult to access geographical information and detect spatial atmospheres. Therefore, different positioning of territorial communication becomes necessary. It is essential to rethink the access to places at a remote distance, expand their extra-physical aspects and accentuate their new hybrid dimension, made of digital perceptions and virtual data. Design of communication operates in this changed reality by identifying the different levels of territorial stratification to make them emerge in new ways of transmission. In a suspended pandemic temporal passage where the future seems uncertain and almost unavailable, the mnestic layer appears relevant to maintaining territories’ identity and revealing their past. In this significant stratum of history, experiences, and inhabitants, mnemotopes can be detected as plural realities connecting the vast memory theme to places. Mnemotopes are objects of territorial interpretation, not related only to commemoration but to a plurality of mnestic aspects that expand the traditional idea of the place of memory. Communication design is not only about visualizing mnemotopes through geolocated devices. It triggers mnemotopic recognition processes that can be effective in the educational context, making students understand mnemotopes as complex objects of study capable of stimulating new spatial reflections and generating original communicative artifacts. During 2020, DCxT (Design of Communication for the Territory) research group of the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano has worked in distance learning to operate mnemotopic individuation and translation. The didactic laboratories, organized by the academic group, accepted the challenge of inserting the memory of places in complex communication systems for a territory not directly accessible and only digitally explorable. The memory of places, so intrinsically linked to the physical nature, has been digitally augmented with the tools and languages offered by design and made remotely available to users. The paper will show some case studies, coordinated by DCxT, where the reflection on mnemotopes combined research processes with teaching activities, generating original communicative solutions for the territorial mnestic layer. In particular, the didactic project on the museum “Ettore Guatelli” in Parma, and the one on the abandoned architectural complex “Istituto Marchiondi” in Milan. The approach to mnemotopes, even if at a distance and purely digital, has not limited the experimentations. On the contrary, it has increased the level of hybridization of artifacts and expanded the creativity of the students who, even with unforeseen and imposing physical limitations, were able to manifest the contents articulation and generate user involvement. The didactical projects were also supported by the new digital opening of the leading museums and archives, encouraged, out of necessity, by the critical historical moment.

Mnemotopic distance learning: digitally exploring the memory of places through communication design

Clorinda Sissi Galasso
2022

Abstract

In the valorization and transmission of cultural heritage, the territory plays a fundamental role. The direct exploration of places makes it possible to understand their specificities, highlight their narratives to translate and make them accessible. However, when the live experience of the place is denied, as in the case of lockdowns during the Covid pandemic, it is much more difficult to access geographical information and detect spatial atmospheres. Therefore, different positioning of territorial communication becomes necessary. It is essential to rethink the access to places at a remote distance, expand their extra-physical aspects and accentuate their new hybrid dimension, made of digital perceptions and virtual data. Design of communication operates in this changed reality by identifying the different levels of territorial stratification to make them emerge in new ways of transmission. In a suspended pandemic temporal passage where the future seems uncertain and almost unavailable, the mnestic layer appears relevant to maintaining territories’ identity and revealing their past. In this significant stratum of history, experiences, and inhabitants, mnemotopes can be detected as plural realities connecting the vast memory theme to places. Mnemotopes are objects of territorial interpretation, not related only to commemoration but to a plurality of mnestic aspects that expand the traditional idea of the place of memory. Communication design is not only about visualizing mnemotopes through geolocated devices. It triggers mnemotopic recognition processes that can be effective in the educational context, making students understand mnemotopes as complex objects of study capable of stimulating new spatial reflections and generating original communicative artifacts. During 2020, DCxT (Design of Communication for the Territory) research group of the Design Department of the Politecnico di Milano has worked in distance learning to operate mnemotopic individuation and translation. The didactic laboratories, organized by the academic group, accepted the challenge of inserting the memory of places in complex communication systems for a territory not directly accessible and only digitally explorable. The memory of places, so intrinsically linked to the physical nature, has been digitally augmented with the tools and languages offered by design and made remotely available to users. The paper will show some case studies, coordinated by DCxT, where the reflection on mnemotopes combined research processes with teaching activities, generating original communicative solutions for the territorial mnestic layer. In particular, the didactic project on the museum “Ettore Guatelli” in Parma, and the one on the abandoned architectural complex “Istituto Marchiondi” in Milan. The approach to mnemotopes, even if at a distance and purely digital, has not limited the experimentations. On the contrary, it has increased the level of hybridization of artifacts and expanded the creativity of the students who, even with unforeseen and imposing physical limitations, were able to manifest the contents articulation and generate user involvement. The didactical projects were also supported by the new digital opening of the leading museums and archives, encouraged, out of necessity, by the critical historical moment.
INTED 2022 Proceedings. 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
978-84-09-37758-9
mnemotopes, communication design, distance learning, memory of places
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1204609
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