Problems and Purpose
From the idea of a young architecture student (Mariano Marmo) a project was born to involve young people in the creation of artistic works with an original technique (anamorphosis) for the symbolic reappropriation of degraded places and the communication of public messages of social redemption.
“The project stems from the observation of the decennial state of decay of the Piscinola metro station, due to the abandonment of the construction site that should have completed the project of this important extra-urban interchange node for rail roads. Mariano Marmo's project proposes an artistic set-up, in an anamorphic key of the three main accesses to the tracks: the possibility of disassembly, the reduced cost of construction and the possible temporary nature of the works aim to redevelop the station using degradation as the very material of artistic design , waiting to finally be able (or possibly) to use the entire area according to the architectural project, which is currently unfinished ”(Pagliano, 2016).
"During the setting up of the places, the local community was actively involved in order to strengthen their sense of identity and belonging, thus transforming the Piscinola station from an anonymous and degraded transit place into a site that the community can recognize as its own and in which to identify "(Ib.).
“The project aims to start from the widespread phenomenon of masonry soiling to transform that act of vandalism into a testimony of hope and redemption through the attribution of a positive meaning through art. Even the architectures, abandoned and debased by neglect, from being an object of intervention and fruition, are transformed into a simple substrate, losing value as a space in itself but acquiring a new one which, in addition to being the result of the artistic operation, is also the sum of already existing elements with their own history and characteristics and the new signs that overlap them, partly canceling them, partly strengthening them. Anamorphic installations require the interaction of the observer who, from a hasty passenger, becomes an indispensable subject for the formation of meaningful images: anamorphosis generates in the viewer an active involvement in a playful dimension that includes the subject within the work itself. . The anamorphic installations proposed for the Piscinola station are all reversible and easily disassembled to restore in the future, if this were to finally happen, the original functionality of those passageways in the forms and design logic with which the unfinished was started. realization of the architectural project "(Ib.).
Background History and Context
The Piscinola station is at the terminus of the underground line 1 that connects the center of Naples to the north-west outskirts. The station is located on the border between the district of the same name and that of Scampia. The latter was made famous by the work of the writer Roberto Saviano, "Gomorra", and by the various cinematographic representations, which with the same title, portray a highly degraded Neapolitan peripheral landscape, symbolized by the dominant presence of the Vele and populated by a crime widespread and oppressive. Inspired by Le Corbusier's unités d'habitation , they are perhaps unique examples of their kind of economic residential construction due to the originality of their megastructural design: originally they had to house 6,500 inhabitants and various services . Commonly to other industrialist housing utopian projects, launched in the same years in various large cities of the world, apart from a few rare exceptions, they have been interpreted as emblematic causes of total social failure . Completed in 1975, demolition began in 1997. Four of them are still partially inhabited and are expected to be completely demolished in the next few years. To the famous Vele therefore other structures are added, generally of public building, set up in the same urban project. Like the Vele in the “Scampia district, the physical degradation of some places is closely connected to the social one” (Pagliano, 2016). This happens in the unfinished station of Piscinola. However, it should be noted that not all the neighborhood and not all the residential megastructures - those bought by the middle class for example - or the buildings and public spaces are degraded and the presence of various associations and community relations coexists but competes with oppressive crime [ 2] and the causes should be sought in other factors, such as the services never provided, the incompleteness of public connections, the physical and social isolation produced between the different strata of urban populations.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
"The whole process had from the beginning the desire to create a 'bottom-up' action: the project was born with the thesis of a student, Mariano Marmo, of which the Diarc (Departments of Architecture, University of Naples "Federico II" (in the figure of professors Alessandra Pagliano and Angelo Triggianese) became the promoter, involving the EAV (Ente Autonomo Volturno - the manager of the stations and underground lines of the city) as the implementing body and the Municipality of Naples for the choice of the social realities to which to entrust the participatory realization of the artistic installations "(Pagliano, 2016). From the documentation viewed (Ib.) and from the online one (link 1) no information is given on the amount of costs .
Participant Recruitment and Selection
The project involved the teachers and students of the Istituto Comprensivo 43 “Tasso - San Gaetano” in the realization of the installations, as well as technical staff of the EAV. They were selected by the Municipality - Department of Welfare and Social Policies (Pagliano, 2016) and directly involved by Mariano Marmo as can be seen from the photos on the Facebook page dedicated to the project (link 1). No other information available online is provided on this aspect .
Methods and Tools Used
Participatory art installations are moments in which the artist (individual or group) involves a group of citizens in the creation of a work, an idea, an installation. The methods and spaces of power of the participants in this kind of collaboration cannot be standardized and obviously relate to the type of work and the personality of the artist. Generally positioned in public spaces, the works become the object through which the participants express their consent to a transformative / performative, collective act, not necessarily rationally argued. In addition to contributing to the realization of the object, sometimes the user himself can be involved by the object, as an actant (Latour, 2007), i.e. as a non-human actor, to reproduce the object, for example by changing his own actions, breaking the habits, generating retro-actions, assuming new attitudes and generating new social relations. These modalities expand the participatory potentialities beyond the forms of purely logical and rational argumentation (Mouffe, 2002), but the research is scarce and still weak on this line of participatory phenomena and that art, as an expression of identity, can be combined with public participation raises a fundamental question (see below - Analysis and lessons learned).
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The journey began in October 2013 and ended with the inauguration of the work on July 15, 2014.
After a phase of study and contact with the institutional subjects and the managing body of the station, in the spring of 2014 Mariano began to prepare the communication material, the Facebook page and to involve the schools.
At first he explained the concept of anamorphosis to the students, teachers and technicians of the EAV. It is a composition technique that exploits the three-dimensionality of urban volumes and the irregularity of the surfaces. It allows you to see a text - the one identified by Mariano is "Culture is the only weapon of redemption" (written in capital letters in Helvetica font) only from a perspective, that is, by positioning one's view only from a precise point, otherwise they can be seen multicolored letters, deformed or disconnected from each other, which almost merge with the common smudging graffiti.
The boys were then involved in the execution of the work, filling the empty spaces left by the paper masks with color.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The inauguration of the Piscinola station was followed by the publication of the book (Pagliano, Marmo, 2014), a public presentation at the University, in the presence of the mayor and an award ceremony as part of the RI.U.SO. 2015 at the SAIE (Building Exhibition) in Bologna. Furthermore, the project has been replicated in other contexts.
It is not possible to understand from the documents viewed to what extent the participants contributed to the definition of the artistic text or to the methods of execution, or whether they were simply employed as labor for a simple creative painting of the spaces not protected by the masks. Further investigation is needed . In any case, in the words of the promoters it seems that an involvement went beyond the practical aspect and adhered to the needs of the youngest.
"Now that the world built by adults to their size and pleasure, on technocratic delirium and consumerist frenzy, is showing all its contradictions, and seems to be turning inexorably towards self-destructive implosion, the only sensible alternative is to choose to change course decisively , taking the point of view of the little ones and listening to their words. Only in this way, perhaps, will it be possible to rediscover the path of true human progress, and abandon once and for all the cul-de-sac of unsustainable development invented by the 'great'. “When the city is more suitable for children, it will be more suitable for everyone” (cit., Pagliano, 2016). "For this reason, in a place considered insignificant, of transit, crossed by the fastest and often with their heads down, a simple and expressive art installation stumbles on distracted or too busy minds, to animate a peaceful rebellion against the hegemonic ideology of productivity and consumption, well represented by the metropolitan rail transport network, which minimizes travel times and speeds up stops on the way, to the advantage of "things to do" once the destination is reached; in the midst of the confused comings and goings of the many subway passengers, that graffiti made by the boys suggests slowing down, or even stopping, to rediscover the sense and pleasure of traveling distances rather than rushing to the goal "(Pagliano, 2016).
Analysis and Lessons Learned
It is not obvious that art and participation can be combined. Is it perhaps more the effect of communicative tendencies, not to say passing 'fads' rather than the result of a theoretical foundation? It would be like building an identity democratically, even more difficult than building an ideology in this way, if it were plausible and possible. It is perhaps an ambition that may turn out to be a falsification of terms. To give an answer, albeit partial, we need more in-depth analysis on the case and theorists.
 Sicignano, E. (2016), Le Vele di Scampia in Naples or the failure of utopia, in: Tecnologia, 65> http://www.archidiap.com/beta/assets/uploads/2016/05/ 65_368_373.pdf
 Fortis, L., (2017), Between degradation and the bourgeoisie thus Scampia tries to rise again, 5 May, Il Giornale> http://www.ilgiornale.it/news/cronache/scampia-periferia-napoli- 1393064.html (release 17/8/17).
 Any further details can be found in Pagliano, A., Marmo, M. (2014).
Latour, B., (2007), Reassembling the social, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Mouffe, C. (2002), Deliberative Democracy or Agonistic Pluralism, in Political Sciences Series, 72, p. 17.
Pagliano, A. (2016), Arma il tuo ransom (Naples), in: Venti, D., Angelini, R., Agostini, A., Participatory paths in design and planning, INU editions, p. 160.
Pagliano, A., Marmo, M. (2014), Arm your redemption. Participated art installation for the Station of Pescinola, Giannini, Naples.
Arm your ransom - Facebook page> https://www.facebook.com/Arma-il-tuo-riscatto-1438826656356963/