3 months
Workshop at the museum and at the school
Secondary school

The project was created to give students the chance to come to terms with the very topical themes dealt with in the works on display, among which the prison as a visible physical space and as an invisible virtual space, as well as the satellite and digital control of communications. ‘Oltre il muro’ (‘Beyond the Wall’) is therefore a creative and original reflection on the part of the students as concerns physical and virtual prisons, and the control exerted on our lives by the Internet and social media. The project gave rise to en eponymous short movie and was part of the research work that the students presented at their Graduation Exam.

Workshop at MAXXI
Several artworks were analysed, among which the video Temps Mort (2009) by the Algerian artist Mohamed Bourouissa, chosen both for the medium itself and for the issues dealt with. The work is a dialogue that gradually becomes more intimate consisting of a video and text messages that the artist and a prisoner exchanged secretly. Temps Mort thus becomes an ‘other’ space for relationships and exchanges between the inside and the outside, an area of freedom. Bourouissa took part in the project by describing to the students – who showed great interest – in a Skype call, each phase of the creation of the work and the relationship with the prisoner. The direct involvement of the artist allowed the students to deepen some of the exhibition themes and to learn about all of the phases that lead to the creation of an artwork, using the medium of video, providing some pre-knowledge relevant to the realization of a short movie.
Workshop at School
Under the guidance of a professional film-maker who trained the students by revealing some of the tricks of the trade, a short movie was created that was named after the learning project itself, filmed in the familiar environment of the school. Starting from a given subject, the students curated every step: the scene and the storyboard in the participated writing workshops, as well as the directing, interpretation, and the photographic and video documentation about what was going on backstage.
Study Day and Short Movie
The short movie Oltre il muro was presented at MAXXI on the occasion of the Study Day focused on juvenile delinquency realized in collaboration with the Centro per la Centre for Juvenile Justice for Lazio, Abruzzo and Molise, and devoted to secondary school students and teachers together with professionals in that area. In front of an audience that was moved to tears, in the short film the students described the daydreams of a young patience in a specialized centre undergoing rehabilitation for his Internet addiction. In his dreams he imagined himself as someone who could bring about change for other youngsters who were potential addicts themselves. As the days went by, the time spent with their smartphones made way for human interaction between the students, and bullying for gesture of compassion and friendship. A sort of group nightmare exorcised through art.
The class involved in the project belongs to a secondary school situated on the northern outskirt of Rome, in an area where there is a high risk of school dropouts. During the making of the project itself the students developed a growing  sense of belonging and responsibility that led them to diligently attend the meetings at the museum and at school and consequently the lessons. The constant tutoring of the staff of MAXXI Education Office and of the film-maker, both physically present and at a distance, was crucial for the project’s success. Indeed, the assessment and questionnaires administrated to the students at the end of the experience expressed the fact that thanks to the excellent personal and professional relationships created with the tutors, the students let themselves be guided and supported with a sense of trust. This meant that they learnt to work in groups, developing good peer-learning and problem-solving practices, which fostered cohesion and reciprocal respect. As was also the case for previous projects with teenagers, e.g. the workshop conducted along with the transdisciplinary team called raumlaborberlin, as part of the learning project ‘RE-CYCLE. Laboratorio sperimentale sul riciclo’ (‘RE-CYCLE. Experimenting Laboratory on Recycling’, December 2011), what emerges from the questionnaires are the students’ pride in having taken part in and completed a complex project, together with the surprise concerning the quality achieved and the intention – almost the hope – to take part in similar projects in the future.
Quotations from Anonymous Questionnaires 
Each one of us dealt with something completely new, but the result was great anyway.
I wasn’t expecting any of this and it was wonderful… It made us understand that we’re capable of sustaining this kind of project.
It was exciting because each one of us worked for his/her partner.
Everyone contributed equally, giving the project all they had to give. I like working in groups: you never feel you’re at the centre of attention.
  The project ‘Oltre il muro’ was supported by the commission AMACI – MIUR – MiBACT within the programme ‘Sperimento l’arte! Musei e artisti nelle scuole’.