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Multi: the history of Italian online, from Dante to Domenico Modugno

The multimedia museum dedicated to the Italian language was conceived by the universities of Pavia, Naples and Tuscia

Who said that as the digital revolution advances, all languages except English would disappear? To contradict this hypothesis comes the first interactive multimedia museum completely dedicated to the study and history of the Italian language. It’s called Multi, and was conceived and curated by a research group coordinated by the University of Pavia, together with the Università di Napoli l’Orientale and the Università degli Studi della Tuscia. The development and digital project are the work of the multidisciplinary design firm Dotdotdot in Milan.

Funded by the Ministry of the University and Research within the framework of Fisr 2019 (Special Integrated Fund for Research), Multi will be online starting June 1st.

Organized as a platform for knowledge and research, it seeks to protect, pass on and enhance the intangible cultural legacy constituted by the many aspects of the Italian language, presenting it as a living element, a vehicle for expression and for the growth of society as well.

It offers an intuitive interface with a structure that is easy to browse. Multi’s digital experiences mix narrative languages, images, videos and audios to add to the scientific rigour of reconstructing an involving experience. The Multi is inclusive, interactive and free: all the texts are available in the audio format, and include an English version as well, which will be completed in coming weeks.

Multi’s structure features an introductory lobby leading to thematic routes that respond to specific questions: how was the Italian language born? Who established the rules? How did written Italian spread? How did spoken Italian spread? How does Italian sound to people who don’t speak Italian? How many languages are spoken in Italy? How did the Italian language spread around the world?

The platform built by Studio Dotdotdot exploits a series of artefacts considered to be among the most representative in the history of the Italian language, even its more recent history, to make the evolution of the language visible.

From handwritten documents by Dante and Petrarca to the memorial written in her own hand in the sixteenth century by a woman accused of witchcraft.

From the high-resolution version of the first edition of the Dictionary of the Crusca to Nel blu, dipinto di blu by Domenico Modugno and Franco Migliacci, and including a drawing by Zerocalcare.

It is structured as scrollytelling: the user scrolls down to find the digital objects that bring the story to life through texts, images, animation, videos, audios and interactive games, based on the concept of mixed media content. The construction of Multi, from the design of the visual identity and user experience, to the development of the platform, was commissioned to Dotdotdot – a firm founded in Milan in 2004 and one of the first in Italy to work in the field of Interaction Design which chose to turn the visitor experience of a physical museum into a multimedia experience, and to systemise and order ideas according to the design objectives, maintaining the role that museums play in explaining and conserving the cultural heritage as the key element of observation. In this case a heritage that is over a thousand years old.

On the cover: the “Multi” logo


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