Indiana University Overseas Study

Erik Trautman

It was a Saturday evening in late September. The passing of my first month in Bologna still boggled my mind. The first two weeks in the hotel drifted by in slow motion. Maybe it was just the jet lag or culture shock but it felt like a daze, like I was sleep walking through a time warp. Then I moved into my apartment and the next two weeks were put in fast forward and passed in a flash like a single photo. Still, I wasn’t prepared when my roommate, Arianna, asked if I wanted to go to an event at “the ex-psychiatric ward”. I stood facing her in the kitchen for a long second without responding. It was then that I remembered the advice that a friend, Anna, had told me, which was given to her by her sister who had studied abroad in the past: “Learn to say yes”, so the four of us left for the conveniently located “ex-psychiatric ward”.

I have to admit, I half-expected a dark creepy club in a medieval castle, but what I found is better described in pictures. It’s called Bologna Water Design.

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The brochure described Bologna Water Design as “occupying the territory” of cultural encounters, dj set, musica live, cocktail, and a photographic show. I would describe it as a kind of gallery showing of installation pieces relating to the sustainability or appreciation of water, in an old psych ward.

At the end of the evening, we stood in the central courtyard, submerged in the ambient music emanating from the dj stand. Cigarette smoke drifted through the black mass of artsy-looking Italians (many of them wore black leather jackets). I breathed it in, all of it. I could have stayed in that night, watched some Netflix or whatnot but I took a leap of faith and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised, so the Italian word for the day is “fede” or faith.

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