“Many people try to change the nature of humans, but it's really a waste of time. You cannot change the nature of humans; what you can do is change the tools they use, change the techniques”
From 30 September 2022 to 28 February 2023 on Museum of Electrical Technology of the University of Pavia presents The Game. Electricity and digital revolution , exhibition inspired by the book The Game by Alessandro Baricco (Einaudi), which unfolds in a highly perceptive path conceived with Scuola Holden to tell the story of the last 40 years of technological evolution.
That of everyday objects that with their dynamic, fast and sprawling system have penetrated the tissues of the world, in all its stratifications and hierarchies, radically modifying the life of each of us </ strong >.
Housed in the fascinating spaces of the MTE, the exhibition itinerary emphasizes the history of electricity - from the Volta pile to the generator Eta Beta II nuclear fusion - to narrate the inventions that led to the current era, that of Game.
What the book The Game by Alessandro Baricco is about
Released in 2018 and enriched in 2019 by the choral publication The Game Unplugged (Einaudi), a edited by Valentina Rivetti and Sebastiano Iannizzotto , The Game is an essay on the digital revolution, and therefore, on the world we live in.
This is a book structured as an object (or a device?) of this new world, the world of Game : there are space maps and time and the entries of the ' index and the paragraphs are accompanied by icons as if it were a site (or rather, a video game). It is a historical novel, moreover, archaeological - a meticulous investigation that digs into the tunnels of google & amp; co. - but it is also a philosophical treatise that examines evolutions and consequences.
The date of the turning point, the transition from the twentieth century, is certain: the Game began on the day of 2007 in which Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone, more than an object a way to be in the world.
From table football to pinball to video games: the exhibition allows you to experience change
The exhibition, curated by Carlo Berizzi and Francesco Pietra, guides you through the "epochs" of the digital revolution, just as the book recomposes, in a rigorous temporal order, the different phases that led to the creation of the Game.
Already at the entrance to the museum you can experience firsthand the change told by Baricco : playing table football, pinball machines and Space Invaders you can (physically) realize that, slowly, slowly, when passing from a game to the other everything becomes more abstract, fluid and artificial to be captured by a new reality made of screens, keyboards and codes.
From analog to digital , the change is in fact consistency.
“Table football, pinball machine, video game. Take half an hour and go from one to the other, in that order. You thought you were playing, instead you crossed the space that separates one civilization, the analogue one, from another, the digital one. You have migrated to a new world: light, fast, immaterial”
A journey through the “epochs” of the digital revolution
“Get used to seeing the digital world as an effect, not a cause. Move your gaze to where it all started”
The itinerary proposed by the exhibition starts from the era Classical (1981-1997) in which the digitization of texts, images and sounds takes place, is realized the first pc and the network created. The IBM PC, the legendary Commodore 64, the digital camera and the first e-mails are part of this period in which a new system of information circulation is being developed. Search engines are also born to navigate and the first online sales begin.
Digital approaches everyone
In the subsequent era of colonization (1999-2007) digital approaches everyone. social networks are created and smartphones enter the market: all new features that allow you to always stay connected. Wikipedia, YouTube but also Linkedin, MySpace and Facebook open, places take shape to share not only information and data but also everyday life and objects such as the Kindle, the BlackBerry Quark and the first iPhone are launched.
If in the 70's computers existed but they were few and for a few, with the advent of smartphones, which have created a new gesture as well as addiction, the Game has distributed if not the power, the possibilities.
“The best way to get rid of a priest is to enable everyone to perform miracles”
The age of the Game and augmented humanity
Finally, we arrive at the era of the Game, the years we are living in, where everything runs fast and the distance between man and machine is getting smaller and smaller, where technology can solve small everyday problems and reality proposes an "augmented humanity".
A completely connected life, in which there is no longer any distinction between the real world and the digital world, where apps such as Netflix, WhatsApp, Uber, iCloud or TikTok manage a good part of the day, while augmented reality and virtual, applications and voice assistants interact, perform tasks and converse with humans. A world still to be discovered on the horizon: artificial intelligence.
Key passages and immersive experiences
An extensive corpus of technological tools, graphics, newspaper articles, illustrations and a detailed timeline lead to the protagonists of the change that generated the Game, the key steps that caused it and help to reflect on the revolution that has taken place in the last forty years, both with regard to everyday objects and in the society that created and made them indispensable.
“Look for the intelligence that generated the digital revolution: it is much more important than studying the one that has been generated: it is its original matrix. Because the new man is not the one produced by the smartphone: he is the one who invented it, who needed it, that if the is designed for its use and consumption”
A video installation by the creative studio TwoShot animates three tables on which the most iconic pieces of the different eras are placed. A touch screen allows you to browse a significant selection of articles and front pages from the Corriere della Sera archive that relate technological evolution with the main events of recent history.
Paths, connections and laboratories
You live the experience of the Game through two paths that intertwine the history of the Museum of Electrical Engineering: Master extends throughout the museum, while Explorer introduces directly to the Game room and to the story of the digital revolution.
It is also possible to be guided by the Connections represented by objects from the museum collection reread with the eyes of those who "live" in the digital world : the telegraph represents the first dematerialization of communication, the turbines tell the availability of electricity for everyone, the different phones evolve towards a fast and mass connection.
Some laboratories enrich the event: Smonting proposes the disassembly of old computers to understand how they work by playing, Enigma machine explores the mysterious world of encrypted codes, others deal with the issues of electricity and cyber bullying.
Discover the MTE that investigates electricity in all its forms
The exhibition is an opportunity to discover and get to know the interesting Museum of Electrical Technology of the University of Pavia which investigates electricity in all its forms thanks to a experiential path: from the origins of electricity to the latest discoveries in the fields of nuclear energy and robotics.
It is possible to see an electrostatic generator in action, learn about the principles of electrical technology through interactive exhibits, retrace the entire history of the telegraph but also be amazed by the imposing three-phase generator from the power plant hydroelectric plant of Paderno d'Adda.
Particularly curious and intriguing is the history of the Enigma Machine used by the Germans to encrypt messages during World War II. The rooms also house a proton accelerator and the iconic nuclear fusion generator Eta Beta I .