Archive for the ‘ workshop1 – SMdP – Gruppo Parola ’ Category

Final Day at SMdP

…and what a last day it was.  The day was long, hard, sweating, cutting, bruising, blistering, exhausting, and in the end extremely satisfying to finally be done and produce something really beautiful.  Joann, RJ, Dave, Shawntel, and myself had our hands full when thinking about what to do with the site.  3 things were clear, we had to accentuate the procession into our sites, give importance to this little building/pavilion, and ultimately lead to an expression at the garden.  Clear and consise we got to work clearing away years of dirt built up on top of the concrete, broke up and added nicer soil to the planting areas, got plants, made banners with orange and green cloth, and creating path after path.  It took from morning to the last minute to finish the project.  It was beautiful and everyone was very excited to see how much progress we made in only 1 day.  Additionally, one older gentleman was astonished that It look so good because he remembers the days when the area was lush, green, colorful, and well maintained.  To see a progress leading in a direction that was in the past a very desirable space to be in was a true vision in his eyes.  Many enjoyed our site for the interactions and thoughtfulness but behind every move we made.  Although each move individually were only small steps, the whole composition of each of these moves was what made the project so intriguing and, at least in my eyes, very pleasant and satisfying.

Arrivaderci and Siena is next.  Although SMdP had its ups and downs, in the end it was well worth it.  I would like to thank Lorenzo and Julia for putting up with us and helping us with every step.  Additionally, both Lorenzo and Julia pushed for us to immerse ourselves in the project and to just not give up.

Thank you for the experience.

**also check out our group post on our project from SMdP, the link is below**


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 5

Time for presentations on the stage outside our ex Lavateria. We also had a guest critic who is an artist and also a psychiatrist.  He explained also historical events that lead to the closing of the psychiatric ward and he also explained the conditions patients where in through their mental illnesses.  The critics went over our “word map” that we made of materials we found in the ex Lavateria and other handy materials.  The critique went well, but the next part was that we needed to find materials for the big mappa mundi on the dance floor and expand our knowledge onto the floor.

After a quick lunch, our group set off into the dumpster next to our site for tomorrows exhibit.  We found some really good materials, mainly we found these different color rubber hoses that worked great for our idea of mapping out paths on the dance floor for the mappa mundi.  Need less to say the mappa mundi went well and we covered the entire dance floor, unlike some groups that just “hogged” a portion of it to explain there idea.  I felt our group did a better job explaining our experiences throughout the week as apposed to just abstractly defining one or very few ideas.

It was a long day and we sure did well.  Tomorrow is going to be tough because we only have a day to organize ourselves and clean up/set up our sites for a walking exhibit/conceptual presentation.  Its going to be a long and interesting day.


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 4

After an exciting day in the Vatican and struggling last night with the damn internet, (that still barely works…) today we had to start compiling work and also do little presentations at different sites around Santa Maria della Pieta.  Today Lorenzo and Julia took us around Santa Maria della Pieta and showed us sites that have high potential to be very experiential.  In addition to showing us the sites, each group had to express their experiences with the trip they made yesterday outside the complex.  I feel that just talking about our experiences was kind of a waist of time because each group just stood up there and talked about what they did.  Half the people were not paying attention, and the other half are getting bit my mosquitoes.  The fun part about that day was the actually getting to see some different areas I have never seen.  At the end we chose our site that I had already stumbled upon and liked from my day when I did the individual derive.

We learned that our site was an old agricultural building and the picture above shows where the patients and nurses built little planter areas where there were herbs, vegetables, and flowers once planted.  Additionally the site had a great procession to it with an alley of trees, a nice little building that used to be a bathroom and wood-burning oven, and a space where the trees look like hands to sit in and fingers extending to the heavens. All in the entire site was great.  Unfortunately we had to refocus back onto our bike ride and experiences we had learned from earlier in the week.  That evening and into the next morning, our group created a presentation that needed to be ready for 9 am tomorrow morning.


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 3

First thing in the morning, our task was to assemble into a group and venture outward into town to experience what is around Santa Maria della Pieta.  I then found myself in a group with RJ, Joann, Flores, and Shawntel.  Our trip required us to venture out into a newly developed area, social housing, farmland, uphill and downhill battles, and already developed commercial streets.  In addition to all of that, we had quite a lot to travel.  Bright idea kicked in, let all rent bikes and ride there and be able to experience lots of portion of the area and still save time for a longer free afternoon and evening.  So we all rode bikes around the entire area and we had a lot of fun filled with rat racing, pictures, laughs, and just a good ol’ time.  In addition to that, we saw many different sides to the area based on proximity and predominantly topography.  Many developments are perched on top of hills while farmland is occupied on the lowest points in elevation.  Unfortunately this concept was broken up through the introduction of a supermarket.  Supermarket = connection to food. I think NOT!

Arrivaderci, its time to go to the Vatican.

Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 2

First thing in the morning, Adriano who was a nurse for the psychiatric hospital joined us and he toured us around the grounds to tell us the history and importance of certain buildings.  One of the cruelest rules was that patients were confined to their buildings at all hour of the day.  Furthermore, nurses also did not have the privileges that doctors had to roam free on the grounds.  It was almost as cruel of a situation for the nurses.  Eventually the nurses had enough and created a revolution.  Adriano was one of the nurses involved in this revolution where the nurses threw keys out of the window of pavilion 16 and let the patients roam free outside.  This event eventually leads to a law that abolished the practice of such mental institutions in the 70’s.  Although the ward was closed in the 70’s as an institution, many patients needed help to reintegrate into normal society which took all the way until the mid 90’s to get the last patients integrated into society.  Even to this day, there are doctors on sight that can help patients get better and have a successful reintegration.

After this information session, Lorenzo and Julia would take us outside the walls of the complex through a hole in the fence.  The idea behind this came from the story of the throwing of keys outside the window.  One nurse took all the keys and buried them outside the walls of the complex along a small creek.  Intrigued by this myth, Lorenzo was the first to say lets try and find it followed by his iconic laugh.  So as a group we set off to eventually find a hole on the east side of the complex and we all jumped through.

As we all made our way to the creek, I spotted some shacks and houses.  Once we got closer they were actually little shacks with gardens of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and different herbs.  We then proceeded to walk along this narrow path between these little agricultural wonders. These gardens where amazing to see and they stretched for what looked and seemed like miles.  Unfortunately, I did not have bug spray and the little bit I used was not enough because the mosquitoes ate me alive…  Eventually we got to an open field and found a “farmer” on one of his parcels of land.  Lorenzo greeted him and the farmer asked for a cigarette which Lorenzo gladly offered.  We learned some facts about the creek and the farming area, but nothing extremely important.  More importantly, the farmer showed us a way back up to Santa Maria della Pieta.   The one fact he forgot to mention was the fact that there was an uphill climb that seemed like a 75-degree slope.  Half way up I took my flip-flops off so I can get a grip.  I eventually stopped towards the top to pull some people up and help them get to the top.  Although I was cut from all the wild thorn bushes and covered in dirt and sweat, everyone made it up and I felt accomplished that I made it up and was able to help people up.  Also I would like the throw in that Lorenzo is one light little guy, I almost threw him up the hill. All we both could do is laugh.


Live+Work+SMdP=One Intense Experience Day 1

Old aerial Perspective of the SMdP

During these past few days we have been working more and more on fixing the place up and also learning about the history behind the Psychiatric ward.  Monday morning we woke up promptly and were up and at-em ready to learn more about where we are living and working.  Our first experience was a visit to the recently established museum that is an interactive exhibit with direct linkage to the psychiatric ward.  Not only does the museum have exhibits explain what had happened in the psychiatric ward, along with stories of patients, it also explained and gave you a first hand experience on what it feels to have a specific mental condition.  Although the museum was provocative and interactive, the curator who was giving us the tour would not shut up… He was definitely a person that likes to hear himself talk.  I bet the tour would have been better if we all got to roam free for at least a half hour and then have him explain every little thing.  The exhibit would def be successful as a public venue where people pay a fee and are allowed to experience it all.

Psychiatric Interactive Museum in SMdP

After the museum adventure, we broke up into pairs for a derive exercise.  I decided to go solo on this adventure so I could experience a true derive that is purely based on my experience.  I walked towards the back of the complex and encountered a series of almost identical abandoned buildings and what were weird slightly immaturely built fountains.  In addition I saw many places around the site that were more pleasant and curious.  After our derives, we all were told to draw on top of an old stage with some concrete as chalk.  It was fun and came out better than I originally thought.  To be honest, I thought it was going to be a waist of time, but the merging of experiences really helped get a sense of the whole site.


Moving to Santa Maria della Pieta

Today was the day we have to say goodbye to the Derby and I was certainly excited to get out.  Waking up in a puddle of my own sweat was unpleasant and disgusting.  So living somewhere were we could actually design and live in I think is going to be fun.

But first we had to load up all of our things into a truck and take a train to our new home. On the train ride over I snapped a quick picture of Cara that def makes the Person Pic of the Day.

Person Pic of the Day - Cara on the train ride over to SMdP

After getting a good idea of how to get here, we made it and the first walk through made this place look pretty good, just not very well maintained.

Shot of Walking to the ex Lavanderia

When we first got here, the place did not look too pleasant although the pictures make this place look like an oasis away from home.  Although there are many Palm trees and very open spaces, the living quarters are well really crappy.  Outdoor showers with no concealment, outdoor terrace buried under mountains of dirt and pine needles, a space completely taken over by a theater that does not use the space the entire day and does not sleep here, and a very very bad internet connection.  It was not a pleasant place to be what so ever.  The picture outside the front windows says otherwise…

View outside our living space that looks serene...

We eventually broke off into separate groups to help fix things.  I was in the group to clean up the terrace that was filled with pine needles, pinecones, and just dirt.  The potential of the area was good; there was a bar and enough area behind it to cook dinners, an old BBQ that we carried upstairs, some sheets of metal, and some stands.  Soon we had a dinner table made to fit us all with benches made of large 2×12 pieces of lumber and small empty keg cans.  After that we made some food on the BBQ and had a great time with plenty of wine and beer to get our minds off the poor conditions we are dealing with.  Hopefully this weekend off will bring some well-needed relaxation.

ex Lavanderia - Our home for the Week