I was hot on the trail of the news that Matera, one of my favorite cities in Italy, especially during the time of the Festa della Madonna Bruna, is on the short list of candidates for City of Culture in 2019. They’ve already started bulking up with culturally intriguing ideas in the city of the Sassi.
One of those ideas made my brain work overtime (it usually lopes along, exciting its synapses at random intervals, like firecrackers set off in a dark cave). I listened to Ben Vickers describe the UnMonastery in a provocative video.
One of those firecrackers went off in my cave/head when Mr. Vickers said they should have called their project the ReMonastery. I liked that idea quite a bit. When the unfettered financial overlords of doom compete their rape of Democracy there will be yet another of those dark ages. People with passion, people with a sense of the social contract, people with faith will gather in spiritually charged spaces abandoned by people who’ve gone to grovel for work in cities. They will represent a collective knowledge of what has gone before. They will be charged with codifying and saving it, and will return value to the community with what Monasteries have always done, making beer, providing health care for all with natural medicine, and feeding the poor, among other things.
The great migration from the rural to the cities has already occurred, leaving a mass of empty houses and unused land. It is time for such monasteries to be born from this financial scorched earth, a beam of light in the rural emptiness of the new Dark Age.
In any case, a skeleton crew has gathered to become the brain-unit of the UnMonastery, the think tank that is not like the think tanks who try to make you hate swarthy people by convoluted logic, or who try to convince you that you have not yet given all you can to the rich.
Here’s what they’re working on (a list stolen from the website linked above):
- Cristiano Siri: perfecting the interface between the city and its unMonastery.
- Marco mstn Stenico: a web-based system to display information about Basilicata’s public transport in real time.
- Francesco immaginoteca Cingolani: “a social database of unused spaces”.
- elf Pavlik: crafting together a community managed and owned wireless mesh network.
- Marc Schneider: an open-source system to drive solar panels.
- Rita Orlando: designing the objects needed for unMonastic life.
- Kathleen: The Living Well – Bringing generations together to learn, share, play, take action and be present.
- Francesco Pellegrino: re-engineering Matera’s water cycle for urban farming.
I’m excited about this project. It’s like religion used to be before it was decided that a short, selective misreading of the book of Leviticus was essence of Christianity.
Anyway, I sign off in giddiness. Check them out. Heck, go live there if you’re committed to such a project.