"Celebrations in absentia"

General Secretariat - Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, MIBACT

Due to the Covid-19 sanitary emergency, in compliance with the measures taken by the government as to contain and handle the epidemiological risk, the Cities of the Network of the Celebrations of the Big shoulder-borne structures have cancelled the celebrations and the solemn processions during the traditional festive moments taking usually place from June to September of every year and attracting hundreds and hundreds of people.

The decision to cancel the processions has been shared by the Institutions together with the Communities of the stakeholders, heard the technical-scientific responsible of the UNESCO project of the Network. Religious ceremonies have been held and realized in the respect of the anti-Covid legislation.

The Celebration became “suspended”, an unthinkable event for centuries-old celebrations with an important social and cultural impact. In order to safeguard the time and the space of the celebration, to maintain the thin line of connection between past and future and to replace “in presence” activities with other “in absence”, it has been decided to take action through a project financed by the law n  77/2006 for the protection for the Italian UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. Synergistically with the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism, we have created “Celebrations in absentia”.

Our endless and suspended time: it has the purpose to propose and return to the communities the very essence of the suspended celebration, through video art projections on the building of the historical-urban architecture of the cities in which the celebrations take place - Viterbo, Nola, Palmi and Sassari, coping with inviolable limits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The purpose is to record and represent the emptiness and the absence through a system of projection, recording and impromptu transmission of the events on mass media and social media, so as to ensure the widest possible diffusion.

The events will take place in the cities of the Celebrations from the 3rd to the 18th of September 2020. Shooting material will be used for the production of a short film-final document which will be sent, together with a report, to the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris to testify the manner in which an intangible cultural heritage should be managed in a crisis situation.

The designations employed and the presentation in the texts and documents referenced in this platform do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.