Shut down after the Italian Mental Health Act of 1978 (the Basaglia Law), for more than 5 decades the mental asylum of Santa Maria della Pietà had been home to hundreds of patients. After a period of abandonment, this huge complex extending over 20,000 sqm has been partially reconverted and nowadays one pavillon of the former mental asylum houses the Museo Laboratorio della Mente (the Museum of Psychiatry), where visitors can travel through the history of the hospital and of those who lived inside it, by following an extremely empathic itinerary.
The aspect I love most about this museum is that the installations are very interactive: they make me perceive time, memory, speech or reality in twisted ways, through suggestions that push me into different, out-of-sync dimensions, where everything is there to be reinterpreted and re-evaluated, but without relying on logic, perspective, speech and rationality.
The installation I like most is a room with an unusual perspectival structure that made me realize that my brain prefers to see different people as out-of-proportion rather than change the visual patterns it is used to following, and thus change my idea of the structure of the room. And even if I knew about this experiment from the movie about autism ‘Temple Grandin’ it was still a shock to learn about the unconscious mechanisms of my mind.