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Educazione

Superstudio

Or the public image of science and liberty.

In 1972 and 1973, the Italian architectural review "Casabella" publishes "Fundamental Acts", five stories by Superstudio. The group used storyboards, texts and images to mould the trail for five videos approaching as many salient human conditions: Life, Education, Ceremony, Love, Death. The "Life" and "Ceremony" stories were immediately developed in form of video, and the first was even featured in the exhibition "Italy: The New Domestic Landscape" (MoMA, New York, 1972) with the title "Supersurface. An Alternative Model for Life on Earth". The "Education", "Love" and "Death" stories remained on paper instead. Finally, in 2010 on the occasion of the São Paulo Biennial, those last were developed as videos too, using the texts published in the Seventies and a selection of images from the Superstudio Archive.

"Education" is a six parts story appeared on "Casabella" numbers 368/69 and 372 (1972). The first part is titled "Education (or the public image of science and liberty) and introduces a proposal for a universal System of information exchange, composed by five continental complexes, each one using a central computer collecting mass of information. The computers are then connected each other by means of a further one placed on the Moon. Every point in the Earth is thus part of a network. People can connect to the System by means of personal devices and ask for answers. Superstudio proceeds with an example taking the cue from the International Competition for the Reorganization of Florence University (1971). The group comments the impossibility of an overall reorganization of the Florentine University structures without a previously reconsideration of relationships governing lives of human beings. The second part of the "Education" story is titled "Education 2. Or: Can experience be communicated?". This text questions the possibility to follow a whole life with a camera and produce a film showing a human being in every moment of his or her life. Along this process, everything is planned, designed and accurately conceived. Even the spectator, as well as the protagonist, is accurately selected. The third part, titled "Education 3. Or Equivalent Information) collects consideration about the architect’s role: using the trick of staging a conference, an architect reflects about designers’ relationship with powers governing society.

The last three episodes published in “Casabella” n. 372, are all elaborated in the form of a storyboard that together would have composed a 35 mm video, color, sound, 12 minutes. The "History of School and Tree" investigates how education, born as an expression of the human need to pass on to others useful experiences to life, has then slipped through the tools of repression. "Machines and education" explores the possibilities offered by computers and electronic machines in the learning path of each human being and in its choices. Finally "Example of a ceremony" is an anthropological analysis about education when used as instrument of power and repression, for maintaining social order.

"Education" is a dense story composed by varied lexical and expressive forms, and questions many issues. Criticism about state of things is a constant theme, and questions the architectural culture and the whole society as well. The tale get references from science, technology and anthropology, reflecting how wide and varied are suggestions for Supertudio’s assumptions and sharp observations. The fragmentation in episodes shows how the group's work proceeds for stages and stratification concepts, to demonstrate or refute.

The video "Education" has been produced in 2010, using two parts of the six composing the whole story at first. Those are "Education (or Transmission of Experience)" and “Example of a ceremony”. In the end, an extra note, also dated in 2010, aims to observe which contents from the original message are still valid despite the passage of time.

(Story by Paola Ricco, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Superstudio
Mentioned project: Fundamental Acts (1972-73)
Musics: Philip Glass "Music With Changing Parts" and Erik Satie "Vexationes"
Texts selection, images and direction: Gian Piero Frassinelli (Archivio Superstudio)
Voiceover: Simona Arrighi, Riccardo Naldini
Sound: Benedict Frassinelli
Video production: Interaction Design Lab
Video editing: Alessandro Contini
Copyright: Archivio Superstudio, Fundação Bienal De São Paulo

Italy 2010
Duration: 16'11''