The realization of the project for the Museo della Merda (Shit Museum) at Castelbosco raises the contemporary question of the synergetic relationship between curatorial choice and the theme of light. In fact, the chief area of concern motivating the museological initiative - the revalorization of waste - is quite effectively linked to this theme, one that frames the main lines of the transmission of ideas both so as to enhance the visitor’s experience both in terms of actual viewing and digital viewing. This linkage has specific advantages, both aesthetic and economic, in that it underscores the profound interdependence linking the world of energy to that of natural resources.
It is a striking aspect of this project that the same process of energy transformation which powers the complex as a whole grounds the theme that is the intellectual focus of the museum itself: the relation between natural processes, primordial resources, and the modern entrepreneur’s capacity to interpret their inherent potentialities so as to expand the range of human knowledge. That this expansion articulates the benefits of such an approach for the elaboration of a sustainable “green” economy is therefore one of the principal characteristics that sets the museum apart. Although at first glance it may seem to be the case that light is a phenomenon that is exclusively restricted to the immediate surroundings in which it it is perceived, in reality it is a complex force which touches on a plethora of vital functions while acting as a symbol of their activity.
A few examples will suffice to substantiate this thesis. In the case of the growth of plants, solar radiation determines the necessary conversion of chlorophyll into life-giving energy. In other cases the transformation
of energy can be considered to be a visible indicator characterized by a powerful suggestiveness, as for instance in the context of the process of methane production of the organic liquids connected with milk production
in cows. The phenomenon of biolumnescence of genetically modified batteries powered by the methane so obtained offers just one convincing example of this process. In the viscera of the museum itself, spaces have been reorganized by the architect Luca Cipelletti so that concepts and principles of the reuse of energy from waste are explored that are often discussed but rarely put into practice. Light, in fact, acts as a red thread of this radical ecological project, a role that becomes particularly evident when luminous projections become visible on the tubular structures of the radiant heating system that runs through the castle rooms. This strategic use of light throws into high relief the morphology of the preexisting heating apparatus, unleashing a luminous flow that, in perceptual terms, cuts through the irregularities of the old bearing walls.
In contrast with the principle of display utilizing hidden light sources,
what is at stake here is a recuperation of the old suspended lighting units through a redeployment of the technical mechanisms and the electric lighting in particular, which in this case are refitted with LED lighting, which replace the old filament bulbs. With respect to the ensemble of visible points of intersection between the historical lighting system and the new apparatus, the latter does not only exemplify the latest technologies in offering an enhanced vision of a cycle of energy consumption and production.
It also exposes how this vision becomes able to miminize the scale of the intervention, reduce energy use, augment the technical processes of living and, last but not least, exponentially expand energy efficiency.
Yet in so doing the strategy of integrating old and new technologies also manages to engage a specific symbolic dimension that is elaborated on the castle exterior. In this regard one should note that the light effects conceived for the facades and the itineraries linked to them are closely associated with the museological concept of the re-use of waste in which energy, nature and the actions of man discover a new terrain of encounter. This strategy, when understood on its own terms, opens up unprecedented forms of interaction between enterpreneurial practice and a harmonic relationship with the surrounding territory. At night the castle, not without a certain taste for provocation, transforms itself into a gigantic cauldron visibly boiling over, unleashing luminous effects that evoke a primordial reality as they stream through the windows crowning the top floor. The Shit Museum thus comes to symbolize the principle of self-sufficiency and abundance of energy flows that unfold under the sign of a fantastic and seemingly imaginary power that nonetheless generates in reality a form of energy that is both sustainable and renewable.
Alberto Pasetti (April 2015)