In collaboration with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by the Italian Institute of Culture in Copenhagen, and supported by Europæisk Kulturregion, NORDICOMÆDIA is a multi-year project, which aims at creating a connecting bridge between the Nordic and Mediterranean culture within storytelling forms.
The young participants will work creatively in the process by attending workshops held by Humanlab (DK) and cognitive scientist Mariano Pugliese (IT) in active collaboration with schools and cultural institutions in Denmark.
The main goal is to develop new and modern adaptations of ancient, popular traditions and story-telling styles trough the encounter of Nordic mythology and Italian Commedia dell'Arte.
Every country has many different forms of storytelling due to its cultural background and geographical distances. All the more so if you compare Scandinavian countries with Italy: the Nordic mythology, with its epic narration about gods and heroes, is totally different from the Italian Commedia dell'Arte, a popular theatre tradition played with ironic and grotesque masks (first among them the worldwide known Arlecchino).
Storytelling's primary source is the language: it shapes directly the narrator's body and sharpens specific details in the story, which wouldn't have been as relevant in another cultural context.
What, then, if Arlecchino told Thors story, for example?
By bringing a "contamination element", such as a Commedia dell'Arte's masks, within the Nordic storytelling and stories, the aim is to bring new shape and language impulses in order to create new adaptations and reworking of the Nordic mythology. This will create an artistic path, which will strengthen the students' understanding and knowledge of their own cultural heritage, and, moreover, the creative process will increase the expressive facets of both storytelling styles (Nordic mythology and Commedia dell'Arte) by creating a third one, which will be the narration bridge between Scandinavia and Italy: NORDICOMÆDIA.
As first year of the project, the focus will be the language. Students from different schools will take part in theatre workshops, which will be focused on the theme: 'The body shapes the language and the language shapes the body".
Through a creative process created from embodied mask technique and cognitive science, the young participants will be lead through an artistic path which will develop new language connections and re-elaborations of popular characters and stories within the Nordic mythology.
The entire workshop period will lead to the creation of a final documentary video, which will be shown in all the involved countries, and teaching documentation that will be used as working material for the future editions.
We'll work with the students on a special training, created from embodied mask technique and cognitive science, called "impulses of the mask".
Each mask touches the face of person wearing it on specific points, and these points send impulses for the movement to the person's body. In this way the mask holder is able to develop his/her own original character: by letting his/her body being transformed by the impulses of the mask.
The "new" body of the mask will also influence the communication layer of its holder in an unexpected way: on the one hand it will modify how the person tells stories he/she already knows, and on the other hand the work will activate impulses for an unknown kind of language.
The process works on two different layers: biological (by stimulating specific nerves on the face, the mask activates a specific biological response) and cultural (once activated, each impulse will be re-elaborated according to the person's cultural background).
The dialogue between these two layers will create a creative path, which will bring to life new and interesting adaptations within the Nordic mythology's storytelling.