This project, founded by Bernard Anson Silj (aka DADO), evolved from an idea of the Grand Tour to Italy, cultural tourism, the search for memory, identity and cultural roots, since Renaissance times. (Belvedere-italia, 1999).
But, in recent years, the values of the old Grand Tour (Man, the measure of all things) were hacvhh - - becoming increasingly unsustainable. In 2005 DADO published the storytelling novel Carmen Via, Journey in the songlines of Italy (Semar Press) in which he also explored the relationship between story and place, storytelling and habitat.
But the tourist-leisure business has been mutating - beyond its original quest for pleasure, well-being, culture - towards an unconscious search for a new mental space, a luminous sphere (quality time). Noise, bedlam, frenzy, hyper-communication are seen as the greatest pollutants of habitat and even of the human psyche. The proliferating media and its sponsors, instead of increasing the variety of supply, tends to reduce it to a series of stereotypes, a relatively small number of global icons, which suck the life out of diversity. But all the while, tourism just keeps growing and growing and now it is the world's largest industry. Tourism is seen as both an expression of the problem and a possible panacea.
The first Storygardenz locations were established in Italy with RVS-Rome and Bel Poggiolo-Umbria. Both belong to DADO and his wife Eleonora and have been developed as cultural, ecological and economic models of a kind of tourism (1) as harmless as possible to outer habitat (carbon footprint) (2) to slow down rhythms and change perspectives (3) become living depositories of living tales and the oral tradition. Undoubtedly storytelling plays a major role in changing worldview. It has been demonstrated, scientifically, that it alters, substantially, the functioning of the human brain, in favour of holistic vision. One can genuinely affirm that conservation of habitat and species is extremely arduous without the support of storytelling. It only seemed natural to bring together such a vital function and the largest industry in the world (tourism) which is such a spontaneous expression of story and place.
In 2013 DADO will be publishing "The Storygardenz Book" a manifesto of our philosophy, a story's story and a practical user's guide to our pilot Storygardenz project at RVS-Monte Oliviero.
But won’t we sing the song?
But where has the ECO gone?
But where have all the elders gone?
Our lake of memory
Is dried out sands
Stones like bones
Bleaching in the sun."