Bring your school in 2019
“Mercurio frees Giuliana” is a team-game organised in 2014 by ArtePollino, together with the 4th grades of the primary school of Rotonda (Potenza), for the “Bring your school in 2019” contest, to support Matera 2019 European Capital of Culture candidacy. It is the result of a collective work, which involved more than one pair of hands, to emphasise that all of us could support the cultural project of Matera, because not only the city of the Sassi, but the entire Basilicata region, with its history, natural resources, artistic heritage, cuisine, traditions and every single citizen, were involved in it. For this reason we wanted to work with many people, not only from schools but from different fields. The result of this work is a tapestry made of many different tiles of recycled fabrics, woven together. The initials of the municipalities located on the road from Rotonda to Matera are embroidered on the orange tiles. Other tiles are made of white, embroidered fabric, representing some of the most important resources of each village. We chose to mention the villages that main character of the game, Mercurio, the Elephas antiquus italicus fossil of the upper-middle Pleistocene (400,000 – 700,000 years ago), found in 1982 in the Valley of Mercure and displayed in the Palaeontological and Natural Museum of Rotonda, must cross to reach Matera and free Giuliana, the big cetacean dating back to the lower Pleistocene (1 million years ago), found in 2006 at the dam of San Giuliano and still kept in Matera, in large wooden crates. Mercurio wants to free Giuliana, release her from the crates and give everybody a chance to know her. To do so, he has to leave from Rotonda, cross thirteen towns of Basilicata and overcome many obstacles up to Matera. The aim of the game is to make a journey with the Elephas Mercurio, along the road that connects Rotonda and Matera, to try to release Giuliana. Each team will try to reach the destination before the rivals, conquering as many places as possible and bringing with them a “resources’ kit” (at least twenty). The embroidery and assembly works were made by the women in Rotonda, while all the other game tools were made by the children during workshops, with the help of ArtePollino operators and other people who were asked for support. The tapestry and all the other tools (pebbles used to write the score on, playing cards, dice, flags, hourglass) are contained in an old box/cardboard suitcase, decorated using newspaper decoupage. The work was displayed in the exhibition curated by Antonio Catalano, held from 19 September 2014 until the end of November, at the former San Rocco Hospital in Matera.