Modica (province of Ragusa), December 2011
Modica, like Turin and Lyon before it, has been able to give life to a unique territorial marketing event. It has succeeded in combining the everyday aesthetics of its narrow streets and monuments with technology; the town has been able to dare: it turned off the lights of the town centre for three hours. This gesture has many significant meanings. Firstly, energy savings (if the initiative is repeated during the year it will also add an economic benefit); secondly the light (or the voice) of the moon can be seen and appreciated; and lastly it makes us seek that inner silence rediscovering the true essence of Christmas, as feast of mutual love and approaching the mystery of the Nativity.
The project was divided into two parts: the first involved schools and the preparation of drawings by children; the second was the construction and hanging of the lights in the streets, involving volunteers and professionals. Ad-hoc luminous panels were also built to emphasize and highlight the Path of Light unfolding throughout the town.
A special project as well as particular attention were dedicated to the façade of the baroque cathedral, a thousand-strong children’s super-choir sang on the steps in front of the cathedral, the dramatic and emotional light which illuminated the façade and the statues had a triangular shape, with the summit towards the top, towards the moon: the perception was that of a dialogue between the Earth and its satellite; the power of song, the magic of the light and the blessing of the moon: a farewell to the old year, a propitiatory rite between the sacred and the profane for the new year.
The lights that were in front of everyone’s eyes, actually over the heads, created a long tale narrated in the simplest, most precious and sincere language, that of children.
An important lesson which can be drawn from this experience is the rediscovery of the meaning of Christmas, the sense of community and communion. It was a 100% Modican Christmas, one which rediscovered the local traditions, did not borrow foreign or over-rated consumerist symbols, a town that strived and wanted a spiritual and cultural renaissance of its own territory and identity. The new Modican Christmas lights are unique, created as a result of self-respect, the town did not settle for the usual repetitive illumination, identical in every Italian town.
Light can create emotions, suggestions and poetic stories, yet equally capable of creating positive economics, linked to the territory in which it grows and develops. For the first time in fifty years the city relived an atmosphere where the shadow and the twilight, prevailed with their innate magic, offering the possibility to see the town with new eyes and see the stars again. The event will be repeated each year, and will always be the rediscovery of a certainty: the creation of joy each time.
As Filippo Cannata – light designers who cared for the project – can confirm, I have always believed that the experience of socializing with light also teaches the art of dialogue with people. Confronting others is a synonym of entering the other’s dimension and vice versa: one must respect the other and know how to listen, before entering that sacred place of the other’s emotions. And my freedom stops where the other’s freedom begins. My intention is to provide a new perspective point of view compared to everyday life, seeing it more in depth. We see our future better from afar (and more widely). I believe to have reached a unique emotional apex in this Sicilian experience; with just a few instruments I managed to help a community rediscover its sense of community.