We interview Eloisa di Rocco, atelierista in charge of the REMIDA (Creative recycling Center), a project of IREN and the Municipality of Reggio Emilia, managed by Reggio Children Foundation. Eloisa explains us how is the process of rethinking about the use of materials from the moment they receive them to the final piece of art, product or artefact they create. They share these ideas and love to discuss and give advice to anybody interested from teachers, to parents, people working with old people or just anybody. REMIDA supports not only schools working under Reggio Emilia approach, but any school, and works together with the Loris Malaguzzi International Center.
«This is not a supermarket. Most of the people come here for ideas»
They are not only teachers who come here, of course they are the main people that come, but they are also people who are working for example with old people.
If you come here and you are looking for some materials of course you have to pay a fee that is annual, it’s not much, it’s almost free.
You can come here at take all the materials that you can for your whole project. It’s nice if you tell us what kind of project you are working on, but most of the time people come here also looking for ideas so they ask us some help searching the materials and that is a very interesting thing because we are not a supermarket, we don’t know which materials come, they come once a week, but it’s always a surprise.
«The way we show materials is a way to suggest people how we think about them»
We don’t know what is arriving so we cannot tell people that we are sure that we have these kind of materials that you are looking for. So they come with an idea and then we try to find a way. And that’s a very nice exercise because you have to readapt your project depending on the materials you find here. We give this kind of help to people if they want to.
We think also that the whole space and the way we show materials is a way to suggest people how we think about materials. That’s why you have to walk through the whole way instead of having a special entrance.
«You have to adapt the ideas we give you into your context»
We don’t give pedagogical advice because we are not «pedagogistas», we are «atelieristas». We give ideas and the it’s up to you to transform it in your context, in your classroom, with your children, with your project, to transform what you see here, what you listen, the idea that we give you. So there is a nice exchange with the teachers because they see materials to get into their school with children and we look at the materials in a different context. So it’s nice to exchange points of view in this way.
Here you can see many different ways of using materials like constructing things, like a chair or also putting this table as you can see, itself, or can be also an ambient, a divider between two spaces, an instrument to make sounds, can be a toy, a landscape, can be many different things, can be a movie also…
«Materials come wet, dirty, all mess up»
The materials that come here for a legal reason they are already classified as trash so private people in Italy cannot manipulate something that is collected as trash. A company called IRE, that’s one of the partners of REMIDA, goes with the people to the companies that have materials for us and bring materials here.
Materials come here once in a week and come wet, dirty, all mess up. What we do here is the transformation of these materials that come in boxes. We call ourselves a recreative recycle center but it is not because we transform this materials is a constructing thing. It’s because we transform the idea, the concept of these materials.
So it comes as trash and then when we put on the shelves. We also research on how it gets more beautiful when we put it in this position or in another position or close to another materials with this ray of light. This is all research and study, it’s not something fixed. It’s something we think about it, it’s a long work and you need exercise and time to do it.
And that’s the work that transforms the materials. And that’s the philosophy that we offer to people that comes here to see materials as we see it.
Volunteering the key to support REMIDA
This region of Italy for historical reasons has a very strong value about volunteering. So people here make their time, their ability, their competences to different kind of projects. Some volunteers, about 20 people they have a precise day to come, this morning for example there were two girls helping us with projects, but sometimes for special events we have just more and help us.