Michela Eremita - April 2020

From a personal point of view, I feel lucky because I'm fine, at home I have a job that makes me feel good. I consider the time I'm living precious, because due to a lack of movement I can listen to my thoughts and move with and through them. Certainly with less external noise and distractions. From a general point of view (like the moment of man's existence) I find it a time of great teaching to which one must position oneself in listening and not in muscular contrast. Certainties, reset to zero, have repositioned everything and everyone with respect to the happenings in nature. The “no one knows” often resounds even in the mouths of “scientists”…man is in the position of “insipiènte”. Relations of “measure" between human beings have been recalibrated…the breaths…it’s all new. Maybe there really isn’t much need to think…one only needs to follow the events taking place and try to reposition oneself in relation to them. So, a great moment for all of us – apart from the grief of the many deaths.
I work in a Museum Complex that's important for Siena, Santa Maria della Scala, both in terms of estimated annual visitors and the cultural output it offers the city. The prospect of reorganizing activities is, given the circumstances, a necessity that involves us as part of this permeating change.
All museums will really have to reposition themselves in relation to their audience, even more so in cities where tourism plays a key role. The impossibility of practicing the familiar physicality drives us to find a winning alternative, but it’s certainly not easy. In fact we are working on processes of engagement and information in which more registers can coexist: those of showcasing and production. It will be important to communicate what is conserved in the museum, but so will building new participatory processes in which the virtual plays a significant role. I think that some tools will soon be active, Avatar is one of them. But I think that the process of mimesis, made possible by technology, will not (and will have to) replace physical experience. The work must be lived in the dimension of naturalness. The challenge is enormous.
Precisely because there may be new scenarios for action, we must take into account the importance of conservation, memory transmission and training, and therefore of competencies.
The Museum has an established section dedicated to children, with a didactic formula based on close interaction between the children and the artists, that features face-to-face work and an educational relationship built together within the rooms.
Recently, the Museum of art for children had heavily focused on participatory and relational schemes between the museum, artists, teachers, and boys and girls. "The Scent of Fairy Tales" placed a lot of attention on the stimulation of the sense of smell... Well, it will be necessary to re-calibrate and understand how the experience, considered to be at the basis of the educational and formative process, can remain so when one is in one's own home. For the time being, in this emergency and difficulty, the museum has managed to, in part, maintain its relationship with the public, continuing to work with some schools, thanks to the key role played by teachers. For the present/future, "Ti regalo un idea" (I gift you an idea) has been launched, a program featuring many projects by artists proposing children different ways of living everyday life. Survival strategies in which the domestic is domesticated, transforming it into a world full of suggestions. It is the secret of art. Virtuous? I don't know. We'll see what happens.
But clearly I can't wait for the museum to be filled again with children, teachers, artists, teaching staff and anyone who wants to be there... to experience it as though it were their home, their other home.

Michela Eremita - Officer and curator of programs of the Santa Maria della Scala Museum of Siena, curator of the Children's Museum of Siena