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Turning on the light in a suburban neighborhood without a lighting system

Code & LightUp, the Italian winner of the Community category, used the potential of coding to make children's creativity transformative and turn on lights in a neighbourhood.



In designing the Meet and Code experience, the social cooperative DENSA (Italy) wanted to show the main contents of their research: the dialogue between analog and digital, the compensation of distance through a new concept of closeness, the connection between artistic processes and technology; the collective civic engagement as well as having a positive impact on the surrounding environment through experimentation and beauty.

DENSA is physically located within a residential neighborhood of social housing in the province of central Italy. This neighborhood constitutes a home to many families of different nationalities. One of the most important difficulties touching this community is the ongoing problem with the absence of public lighting. Therefore, when the sun goes down, the neighborhood remains completely in the dark. 

"Take a white sheet, divide it into two halves, and in one draw the light, in the other the dark. Show it on webcam."

A varied sequence of interpretations: for some the light is a light bulb, for others the sun, or a formless aura. Darkness is stars, moon, lit street lamps... It is significant to see how, even in the dark, light is the protagonist, as if to define the dark itself.

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The reflection on the representation and perception of light and darkness continues through a selection of images by photographers and artists, a thematic analysis that leads to the experimental part of the experience: coding.

Participants are guided in the exploration of the Scratch platform, within which to draw graphic elements, geometric figures, abstract, letters or symbols to be animated, through programming in light vortices. The animations conceived and realized during Code&LightUp became powerful messages of light projected on the facades of the buildings of the neighborhood, consolidating the symbolic value of light.

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22 children between 8 and 12 years old participated in Code&LightUp. Many of them had never used the Scratch platform. Some of them live in fragile educational conditions or real poverty. DENSA has provided its digital tools on loan for free use to encourage maximum inclusion. The outskirts of the suburbs of Perugia were thus illuminated by the creative experiments of girls and boys connected at a distance from their homes.

 

"Technique (like art) is helpful for knowledge development and interconnection with people" - Salvatore Iaconesi

During the virtual Meet and Code Awards ceremony on March 16th, 2021, the Italian project was chosen as a winner of the Community category. Congratulations!