Resurrection Office Lost Words

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How many words do we often forget exist or that we don’t even know? So many. The Italian language is so rich, precise and full of history that it is complex to be fully aware of it, but not impossible.

Sabrina D’Alessandro, visual artist and language scholar has found an effective way to preserve our less used words, even the most archaic ones: it’s called Resurrection Office Lost Words and was born in 2009. A place that holds the hidden treasure of the Italian language and that Sabrina D’Alessandro has been taking to schools for several years, where she organizes workshops for children with the aim of giving new life to words and transforming them into works of art. art.

From this, it was born Thought lighter (out for Rizzoli), an artist’s book that collects the work done with children over 9 years, to convey the beauty and importance of words to the little ones too.

How did the idea of ​​the Lost Words Resurrection Office come about?
«I have had a passion for words since I was a child. Over time I got into the habit of recording the words I didn’t want to forget, creating a collection that I still keep up to date. Many are so archaic as to be practically dead, but they contain an extraordinary expressive force, which makes them alive. Driven by my other passion, the visual arts, I began to produce real portraits of these words, until, in 2008, I resigned from the job of art director in a communication agency to devote myself totally to my research ” .

What is the goal?
«The basic idea was to give words a weight and a physical dimension, to“ objectify ”them in order to make them more cumbersome and less volatile (less forgettable?). I then continued transforming them into installations, videos, performances, thematic exhibitions. Hence the Resurrection Office was born, a way to give life not only to words themselves, but also their ability to read reality in a different way ».

How are lost words identified?
“By lost words I mean words that are little used and known, therefore lost in use“ although very useful to life on earth ”, as the manifesto of the Resurrection Office states. The usefulness of certain words lies in the fact that they allow us to grasp nuances that we would not otherwise see. These are often ancient words, but still current, which know how to tell humanity in a lucid and disarming way, overturning our tendency to take ourselves too seriously. Another beauty and usefulness of words lies in their sound and in their way of making reality resonate and therefore, in some cases, of acting on its perception ».

And the imparavolate?
“The word learned are words that, literally, “speak a lot”. So, for me, all the ones I work on with the Resurrection Office. I titled the section of the Urps dedicated to children Words Learned Department for the cheerful and evocative sound of this word. In any case, all the words on which I have chosen to work with children are particularly visionary, therefore easier to represent (the bully can be called squassapennacchi, the distracted person is a nubian, the indolent one, one fat-peeling). Even the neologisms invented together with children have the same characteristic, lead to imagine. The spoiled is a gray cloud, the socks a giant sock in which to sleep comfortably, thethought lighter a lighter that turns on mental bulbs… ».

Why is it important to resurrect words?
«One of the founding principles of the Urps is that the richness of the language means the richness of the imaginary. As Wittgenstein, Orwell, De Amicis and many others teach, more words mean more ideas. To resurrect them you don’t necessarily have to translate them into visual art like the Urps does, I don’t even expect these words to be part of everyday use. The important thing is to be able to convey the idea that words are the sound we give to the things of the world and the colors with which we paint it and that an impoverished lexicon can lead to a flatter vision of reality ».

What are the children’s reactions to Urps?
«Especially for children I have noticed that the existence of the Urps is suggestive because it conveys the idea that words are important, to the point of deserving of monuments in the squares. Representing them with drawing is a way to remember them and to understand them by entering a synaesthetic dimension, which also brings into play the faculty of forming images. Without forgetting the literary part, which consists in learning to define them through other words, like in a dictionary ».

Which resurrected words are you most attached to?
“There are really a lot of them. So I would say redamazione, the reciprocal and reciprocal feeling, for which one loves and one is redamati».

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