Crosswords on play

Stefano Bartezzaghi withDavide Tortorella

Crosswords on play

may sun 29, 2016 - 16.30
Piazza della Sapienza
 admission euro 3.00

“Under the gaze of the playing child, things become imbued with secret significance”, said Walter Benjamin. This is where Stefano Bartezzaghi challenges Davide Tortorella: you have to write down the name of a game. It is a crossword puzzle to be filled in, a puzzle that talks about play. Games are referred to by names passed down from child to child, according to apparently mysterious reasoning. The crossword grid is a chessboard for language, though it is not the pieces (i.e. the letters) that move, but rather their meaning. The white boxes clamour to be filled in; the black squares remind us a good game doesn’t last long, and they tell us exactly how long. Bartezzaghi and Tortorella’s game combines the most disparate, casual and frivolous elements of our culture. While not being too serious, it wants to tell us at least two things: that nothing is worth it if it is not connected to something else, and that, in the end, the important thing is knowing what game we’re playing. 

Stefano Bartezzaghi, is an expert of linguistic games, puzzles and their history. Since 2000 he writes a column on puzzles (Lessico e Nuvole) and one on linguistics (Lapsus) in la Repubblica. His books include: L’elmo di don Chisciotte. Contro la mitologia della creatività (i Libri del Festival della Mente, Laterza, 2009); Non se ne può più. Il libro dei tormentoni (Mondadori, 2010); Come dire. Galateo della comunicazione (Mondadori, 2011); L’orizzonte verticale. Invenzione e storia del cruciverba (2007), Scrittori giocatori (2010) and Una telefonata con Primo Levi (Centro Studi Primo Levi, 2012), all for Einaudi; Il falò delle novità. La creatività al tempo dei cellulari intelligenti (Utet, 2013); La ludoteca di Babele. Dal dado ai social network: a che gioco stiamo giocando (Utet, Dialoghi sull’uomo, maggio 2016). 

Davide Tortorella was born in Milan in 1961. He learnt the art of play on television from his father Cino (creator and author of all the Saturday afternoon shows, from Chissà chi lo sa? To Il Dirodorlando, for the famous children’s strand TV dei ragazzi), with whom he started to collaborate from the age of ten. He has dedicated almost his entire forty-year career behind the scenes in television to games including M’ama non m’ama, Doppio Slalom, La grande sfida, Vinca il migliore, La ruota della fortuna, Genius, Parole Crociate (the only television show to be sponsored by the weekly puzzle magazine, La Settimana Enigmistica), The Money Drop and many others. He has created riddles, quizzes and practical jokes of every kind for presenters Mike Bongiorno, Paolo Bonolis, Gerry Scotti and others besides. Inevitably he has often taken on the role of competition referee (the “notary” figure), as well as selecting tens of thousands of aspiring contestants.