The persistence of aspects pertaining to ancient Greek civilization in contemporary culture, especially in the media, is the focus of a research project, which has been under way for several years now at the Department of Histories and Methods for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (University of Bologna, Ravenna Campus). The idea that Greek and Hellenistic-Roman antiquity left us of its own structural elements - the myth in particular, is that of an ‘open work’ that constantly undergoes new readings, interpretations, and transformations – a sort of work in progress, which has continued throughout the centuries and has recently started using the new media of today’s technological society. It is precisely the heritage of Greek mythical tradition in the modern media and in contemporary society, that our research group has targeted in a series of initiatives supported by the University of Bologna’s Ravenna Campus.
The first experiment consisted in exploring the different approaches used by the language of cinema to represent the filmmakers’ perception of the antique world, from the earliest attempts of silent movies to the recent renewal of the Hollywood epic. This theme was discussed in the study meeting I Greci al cinema, Dal péplum ‘d’autore’ alla grafica computerizzata [The Greeks at the cinema. From auteur peplum to computer graphics] (Ravenna, November 29-30 2004). This project was followed by the symposium Omero mediatico. Aspetti della ricezione omerica nella civiltà contemporanea [Homer and the media. Aspects of Homeric reception in contemporary civilization] (Ravenna, January 18-19 2006). The aim of the seminar was to extend the research to a broader range of media (contemporary literature, the visual arts, experimental music, television, comics) than cinema, apparently the most captivating and multifarious form of expression in contemporary culture. Finally, the latest study seminar, Dalla cetra al sintetizzatore. Il mito greco nella musica contemporanea [From the Lyre to the Synthesizer. Greek Myth in Contemporary Music] (Ravenna, April 3-4 2007) dealt with the persistence of Greek myth in contemporary music, not just in its ‘higher’ genres - as for instance the opera Outis by Luciano Berio - but also in those forms that are more deeply rooted in mass consumption (and especially popular with the younger generations), from the Sixties counterculture and Jim Morrison’s Dionysism to British and American metal, as well as the innumerable results of contemporary musical experimentation.
In this perspective, the projects outlined so far have been complemented by other side-projects, more specifically oriented towards multimedia:
the video A proposito di Troy (About Troy) by Eleonora Cavallini, edited by Bibi Bozzato, was shown in several Italian and European cities (Bologna, Ferrara, Naples, Venice, Paris, Saint Petersburg), in both academic and non-academic contexts.
- the multimedia show Letture dai Dialoghi con Leucò di Cesare Pavese (a project by Eleonora Cavallini, staged by the theater group “Krisis” from Venice, directed by Bibi Bozzato, with original music by Davide Tiso), premiered as part of the above mentioned symposium Omero mediatico, and was followed by many performances (Ferrara, within the prestigious Salone del Restauro, Venice, Mestre, etc.)
- The MythiMedia website continues to explore the pervasive presence of Greek myth and its influence on today's culture, offering insights into the modes of its reception through different media, from art & design, cinema, theater, radio and TV, to comics and cartoons.