“I’ve always wondered why we often say no, while we could say yes”.
“I’ve always wondered why we often say no, while we could say yes”.
by Eleonora Odorizzi
"I’ve always wondered why we often say no, while we could say yes".
Eleonora Odorizzi is an architect, since 2013 co-founder of Italian Stories, the first web platform which offers travelers visitor experiences and knowledge in italian craftsman laboratories. She is part of the faculty team of master Relational Design and she has worked with the Milan Polytechnic, Mart and Trento Rise. She has worked on the creation of concept for culture and design experience, both for tourism and receptivity and in communication and exhibition projects. As teacher, she has worked for various institutions by developing training activities in the field of design, storytelling and cultural communication and business , especially in the field of crafts and tourism.
So first, tell me what Italian Stories is?
Italian Stories is a travel experience platform that connects travelers with skilled Italian artisans who offer hands-on workshops, demonstrations and tours. This is a new kind of travel opportunity that enables tourists to connect with Italian artisans face-to-face, on a personal level, and also it gives to artisans the chance to share their skills and passions directly with visitors.
What first inspired your interest in makers?
Today, in the “era of experience”, many artisans do not yet realize that it can sometimes be even more exciting for visitors to follow them in the process of creation than merely buying the resulting object. Moreover, they may underestimate the appeal of their knowledge, even if they themselves are pleased to share it.
Why have makers become so important today?
I believe that this project is not just about giving new life to the artisans and makers movement, it is more an attempt to create a new standpoint on the handicraft production in its whole, it is about highlighting the relational dimension which is embedded in the product, even in a very discreet way. It is a try to go beyond the physical product, identifying a social and an economic value also in the learning and experiential phase of the production process.
So, speaking of makers, is Italian Stories the new makers movement?
I think Italian Stories can act a minor but active role within the makers’ movement which is so wide and complex, but what we really would like is to give a contribution on what it means to communicate values and skills of the Italian way of doing, not only referred to the handicraft world. We would love to convey Italian Stories not only as a display of the important skills and expertise that have been developed and refined over the centuries - and that unfortunately are likely to be lost - but also as a tool able to preserve and transmit them, and maybe make them become a new revenue stream for the craftsmen themselves. Beside that, we strongly believe that this project could increase the awareness of our country, in terms of tourism and cultural industries. Going on with this point but falling outside Italian Stories, we believe that it is necessary to design some kind of actions and activities in order to reach these results, to co-operate and work together, adopting a methodical approach, with all the entities that want to boost and develop this important industry.
What’s the most exciting thing about working at Italian Stories?
Throughout this project we have been able to discover a thousand stories that we never imagined... There are several spots inside a city that everyone knows, because we use to go there or just because we simply walk by, but nobody really sees what’s in there; spaces dedicated to traditional production for centuries, for instance; or networks of relationships between artisans who keep alive ancient systems of collaboration, making nobody aware of that!
What is something that currently fascinates you?
What really fascinates me, in general, is to find connections between things and discover interfaces between things and worlds that you don’t really expect, that escape at first glance, but which help you to make it more logical and interdependent. I am convinced that knowing how to read or see or even imagine these interconnections makes everything easier. Anyway, it is for me, I can not help it.
How important do you think it is for designers to decode?
Today, the big challenge for designers is to know how to reinterpret the codes of communication. The way we work and communicate has been turned upside-down in a couple of years, and we are now so familiar with a system that has brought down the social and cultural barriers, besides the physicals one, that we had until a few years ago. The statement “we live in a hyper - connected world” is an absolute truth, but often this is not generally accepted, understood and reinterpreted. Designers must play with the potentialities offered by this incredible tool, both switching on and off these resources. However, what is really lacking from my perspective, is the ability to understand clearly what we are dealing with, we don’t have a limpid awareness of the phenomenon.
Are we becoming too connected?
Internet, social medias and media in general are just a tool to connect and be connected. There’s no doubt that these tools have given us a huge potential that is hard to recognize sometimes, especially in Italy. The ability of building an audience has enormously increased and those who understood that have been able to communicate so efficiently, there are loads of valuable examples. Just think about the radio, a non-visual media, that has been able to mix properly the online tools with the physical dimension, reaching new audiences and a new lease of life, unlike the TV has done, until yet. The most interesting part of this world though, is the ability to create an hybrid level in which online communities meet up with the offline communities generating an added value through these dynamics, such as Instagrammers community has done, connecting the passion for photography with territorial clusters. So, at the end of the day, I don’t think we are over connected, it is a matter of choice.
What question are you asking yourself?
I’ve always wondered why we often say no, while we could say yes. It is a sort of brake, a limit that we impose to ourselves, trying to follow, even unconsciously, models that don’t mean so much if compared with other worlds or other times. We should focus on any situation and have a clear thinking in every circumstance, looking for new paths to follow and see where they end. This is the reason why even when I travel I like to plan my route on the map, identifying destinations where the road actually ends, just to see and understand what’s there, at the end of the road.
You couldn’t live without?
Curiosity is what really drives me on, it fills up my days and shapes my imagination.
What single thing would improve your quality of life?
Travel more, because it would feed my curiosity and my imagination.
What is your personal motto?
Do, without thinking. I say this statement in a paroxysmal way, and of course not because I’m not interested in building a strategy, but because I think that the most interesting part is to see how the idea you have in mind will grow, and how the story will end. As they say, done is better than perfect, and the road to make it perfect is never finished.
Informativa ai sensi dell’art. 13 D.LGS. 30 giugno 2003 n.196
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