Museitaliani: MiBACT's new (ugly) video. In which they talk about protection and enhancement.

Have you seen MiBACT's latest promotional campaign, 'Museitalianiì? An ugly video talking about protection and enhancement. Here's what we think about it.

If there is one thing that the Ministry of Culture has learned to do really really well in recent years, this thing is the production of promotional videos. Especially if they are ugly. Like the very famous If You Don’t Visit It We’ll Take It Away, with some helicopters carrying Michelangelo’s David through the air, or the lesser-known video to invite the public to follow MiBACT on social media, with the decapitated Botticelli Venus, migraine-inducing fades, and background music from 1980s private TV commercials. And it is useful (or maybe not?) to remember how often, in addition to the official campaigns, other initiatives such as the now very famous prece"plis visittttt itali“ by a then minister Francesco Rutelli in great splendor, or the pathetic ”Magic Italy" campaign in which Berlusconi fired off, as usual, random numbers, that time, however, referring to the number of cultural sites in the country. Now comes the"teaser video" entitled Museitaliani. And if this is the teaser, who knows what is to be expected from the continuation of the campaign. More importantly: who knows what it is anticipating, this teaser. Assuming the ministry knows what the meaning of the word “teaser” is.

It is another masterpiece to add to the list of ugly videos promoted by the ministry. The clip’s attack is entrusted to Minister Dario Franceschini who, in front of what appears to be a green screen on which is projected the image of the Hall of the Cross in the Library of the Roman College (the headquarters of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage), starts off by declaring, “It’s a real revolusssion.” What exactly the revolution consists of, well, it is not known, because it is not specified. After letting us know the number of “Italian museums,” taking care to point out that they are “linked to the territory” (when Franceschini launched his reform of MiBACT, we and others criticized precisely the fact that the reform would jeopardize the link between museums and territory: perhaps the minister remembers these criticisms well), Franceschini lets us know that the country “has known how to invest in protection, but not as much in valorissassion.” That Italy has been able to invest in protection is a somewhat debatable assumption, and we could cite dozens of cases that could prove otherwise. Let us limit ourselves just to stay at Franceschini’s home, in Ferrara: the Pinacoteca Nazionale has had to deal, since this winter, with malfunctions in the air conditioning and heating systems (indispensable to ensure not only the well-being of visitors, but also and above all the protection of the works) and since a few days also with problems about cleaning. And let’s not talk about the degradation to which various sites and assets a bit across the country are, in spite of themselves, subjected. But patience: all it takes is a video saying that we need to invest in valorissassion (or rather, that “we have begun to do so,” as Franceschini points out in the video: we, frankly, did not notice), and everything falls into place.

And in fact, after the minister’s image fades out, a series of frames appear depicting Rome in black and white, with the background of a crow cawing for at least a good twenty seconds (but why??). As soon as the crow stops delighting us with its cry, we see a view from above of the courtyard of the Palazzo del Collegio Romano, from which a kind of neon blue UFO takes off and wanders around half of Italy coloring the black and white images, to the notes of the prelude to the first act of Giuseppe Verdi ’s La Traviata remixed with a (very bad) electronic midi base, immediately commented on social media as a rape of Verdi’s opera. The video takes good care to pass off all the postcard stereotype images typical of our country: the gondoletta in Venice, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Naples with Vesuvius in the background, and so on. After the UFO has made its rounds, there follows a minute and a half of end credits (out of five minutes and forty-seven of video: not bad).

Un fotogramma del video "Museitaliani"
A frame from the “Museitaliani” video.

One might wonder how much this umpteenth gem of MiBACT’s communication campaigns cost, but that would be the minor problem. One would then have to wonder what the purpose of the video is: we have seen plenty of similar gimmicks by now, and they do not seem to have produced great results. It is completely useless to lavish in ridiculous self-promotion when the basics are lacking. And we are not just talking about the valorization advocated by Minister Franceschini: despite the fact that the rhetoric of culture as an asset to be exploited for economic purposes has been going on for years, so far we have not even succeeded well in initiating serious valorization (but we have been great at selling off heritage to celebrities and wealthy individuals). The only positive, is that it is clear from the video that the minister has noticed this lack of valorization, which has been talked about since time immemorial, but in fact has never started. If we had focused on serious valorization long ago, by now we would have museums with services on par with their European counterparts, we would have continuous generational turnover in the superintendencies and in the field of services, we would have vacancies all the time, and we would know where to put the young people who can’t find jobs or who go on underpaid internships (if that’s okay). And, by the way, given the minister’s latest announcement that 130 6-month internships for young graduates are on the way, it would be a good idea to remind the MiBACT leadership that our young people are fed up with temporary internships and continuous precarious conditions: they want to work and they want to seriously plan their future. The valorissassion that the minister hopes for also passes through these interventions: substantial investments, creation of stable and lasting jobs, adequate turnover in the superintendencies, and improvement of services. If Franceschini’s valorissassion passes from six-month projects, the uselessness of the “Museitaliani” video is matched only by the short-sightedness and chronic inability to plan of the politicians we have. In addition, of course, to the lack of intelligence of a country that guarantees its young people a top-notch education, and then does not offer them the opportunities to work for what they have studied, and spurs them to make use of their skills abroad.

And of course, all this assuming the fact that Italy really invests in protection. Which of course we don’t know how to do, somewhat for the same reason as before: we don’t have the ability to plan for the long term even in the area of protection, where we are perhaps even more lacking than in that of enhancement. But it doesn’t matter much: as long as the ministry videos have blue UFOs pirouetting through the sky bringing color over the country.

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