from the left: Massimo Gerardo Carrese (fantasiologist), Letizia Casuccio (General Manager of Coop Culture), Paolo Giulierini (Director of MANN, the National Archaeological Museum of Naples),
Paolo Chiarolanza (Co-founder of SlideWorld and Director of the European Human Development Council)
«I am a scholar of scientific, humanistic, ludic and artistic aspects of imagination, imagery and creativity. My research area is on fantasiology (or phantasiology). I have been working professionally for fifteen years on imagination, imagery and creativity. Being a fantasiologist is my full time job. I work with universities, schools, associations, training institutes, bookshops, libraries, prisons, museums....Among the tasks of the fantasiologist there is one that most stimulates me and at the same time torments me: that of making known that imagination and imagery are not activities related to the escape from reality (that is reverie, daydream) but faculties with historical and scientific characteristics that must be studied if we want to understand these faculties and their way of becoming concrete in the reality we live in.
Unfortunately, many people improvise on these topics but we cannot talk about imagination, imagery and creativity only from personal opinion or personal experience or just because you have read this or that book on the subject. There is an interdisciplinary study to deal with, technical information to untangle and that of imagination is a complex and contradictory study that begins in the fifth century BCE and involves authors from every place and discipline, not just philosophers and artists.
Imagination, like imagery and creativity, is not a word to be filled with content at will but is a faculty with specific technical information. Its history - wrongly - is never taken into consideration by those who train courses on imagination. Obviously, I am not referring here to the scrupulous scholar or to those who accurately do bibliographical research before writing or speaking publicly about imagination.
It is this superficial write or talk that continues to reduce imagination, once again, to the mere moment of break, to identify it with the escape from reality, with daydreaming, with construction of imaginary worlds, with mental appearance and abstractness, whereas it is a faculty linked to rationality, logic, concreteness, demonstration and has a complex history and scientific characteristics on which we cannot improvise except at the cost of communicating inaccuracies.
Here is the point: who notices when an information about imagination is incorrect? We can understand quite easily that the phrase "William Shakespeare wrote Pride and Prejudice" is wrong, and we can prove it, but on what documentation can we affirm the inconsistency of the phrase "imagination is a human faculty that creates imaginary worlds and it is the freest faculty of all"?
Imagination is competence and not improvisation. We can understand imagination not only from experience but also from its history. History and experience, both. Therefore we havo to analyze imagination with an interdisciplinary look too, first of all deepening the technical differences between imagery, creativity and daydream. Like imagination, these faculties have their own characteristics. The work of the fantasiologist and of fantasiology consists in this critical study of imagination and imagery, daydream and creativity.»
WHO IS THE PHANTASIOLOGIST?
M. G. C. [Massimo Gerardo Carrese, ed.] has a typical expert and scholar name (thanks to the suffix -logo, of Greek origin), which concerns him directly. He defines himself as a phantasiologist, "scholar of stories and characteristics of imagination and imagery". It must be said that's a nice name. [...] Since the activity of the phantasiologist is related to the idea of game and, in particular, of the linguistic game, we can argue that the name and the activity represent a fun and intelligent glimmer in times of talkative and of often fatal actions. [...]
From the online Treccani Encyclopedia, by the lexicographer Silverio Novelli
©2016 "Amare enigmi" - fantasiologic postcard by Massimo Gerardo Carrese
"Fantasiologist (or phantasiologist)": is that a word invented by Massimo Gerardo Carrese? No. However, Massimo Gerardo Carrese conceived the professional figure of the phantasiologist: the scholar who analyzes and explores the scientific, humanistic, playful and artistic aspects of imagination, imagery and creativity.
A bit of history
Already in 1987 the word "phantasiologist" had appeared in an interview on the Italian review "Panorama": «[...] edited by Gianni Guadalupi, a 'phantasiologist', as he defines himself since he invented his specialization, that of modern discoverer of exotic journeys [...] How did your passion as a 'phantasiologist' begin? [...]."
A magnificent activity that of Guadalupi as a "modern discoverer of exotic journeys" but as subsequently understood by Carrese, the figure of "the phantasiologist" is linked to that of the scholar who analyzes the characteristics of imagination, imagery and creativity.
Today the word "fantasiologist" (many of the results are referred to the Italian word "fantasiologo") appears on Internet and in newspapers to indicate, in 99% of searches, Massimo Gerardo Carrese's job.
does a phantasiologist do?
Massimo Gerardo Carrese deals with phantasiology, a study that deepens the differences and scientific, humanistic, ludic and artistic aspects of imagination (possibilities), imagery (mental images) and creativity (techniques and originality) [here to learn more].
As a phantasiologist, he carries out consultancy activities for companies and promotes meetings, lessons and training courses for adults and children, in the social, university and school fields. He publishes works on phantasiology and invents phantasiologic games (linguistic, mathematical, artistic and musical).
Who is a phantasiologist useful to?
The professional figure of the phantasiologist is useful to all. As practiced by Massimo Gerardo Carrese, it's a job oriented to the critical knowledge of imagination, imagery and creativity. Three faculties often debased to mental activities close to vagueness, abstractness, unreasonableness, childish circumstances or exclusive practices of artists and "geniuses". Instead, there is much more than you might think. However unusual it may seem, imagination, imagery and creativity have been studied for a long time, from Plato to Bruno Munari, from Aristotle to Anna Abraham and beyond.
can you become a phantasiologist?
Let's face it: there is no school to achieve the title of phantasiologist. We become phantasiologists with independent learning but, like any other serious and responsible activity that has people as targets, Massimo Gerardo Carrese's job is also subject to verification. Who controls his work and how? Teachers of all levels, school managers, university professors, booksellers, librarians, social workers, students, scholars, artists....They find that Massimo Gerardo Carrese's studies and researches base on provable, rational and concrete aspects. Carrese always argues and clarifies the topics he refers to with bibliographic references (nb there's a history of imagination, imagery, creativity), field research, consulting activities, demonstrations... in turn subjected to check. Precisely because Carrese's studies, games and research can be documented, his activity is questionable with intelligence and never with prejudice.
To learn more