Mater Matuta

Prof. Enrica Colabella

Generative Design Lab. Politecnico di Milano


Theory. Theme: Universal Code

Meridiana della notte/Night Meridian


Sono quell’ombra che nasce all'alba/I am the shadow that rises at dawn

E muore col sole/And dies out with the sun

Segnando una traccia indelebile/Tracing an indelible sign

Nel doppio ire della vita/In the double stream of life

Oscillando tra realtà e sogno/Swinging between reality and dream.


1.0.1        Fabula Code. An ancient code for telling tales


 At the dawn of human culture a Universal Language provided a tool to assist man in telling stories.

That tool consisted in an ancient complex scheme including 7 dreams of a young Hunter, that were synthetic traces of different Stories written perhaps 4 Thousand years ago

It was just like a Universal Code of Language, from which it was possible to take off elements to go on with the fabula when it was necessary.

The seven dreams:

1.       First dream: "it seemed to him to be himself in front of an enormous door, trying hopelessly to open; but, despite all of his efforts, the door was close."

2.   Second dream: "it seemed to him to be himself in the courtyard of a house, where women                  were attending to their domestic matters when, suddenly a giant bird swooped down from the sky and took away one of the women"

3.   Third dream: "it seemed to him that he was looking at a vast field; at distance, a small group of   men was crossing this field, when a dazzling lightning, followed by a red flaming meteor, came down from the sky and blew up the entire group of men.

4.      Fourth dream: "the scene changed once more, and a large  group of the Hunter's ancestors appeared. They are around a fire and bustling about feeding it and to keep the flame high." 

5.      Fifth dream: "In another dream, he saw himself with his hands tied up and his feet bound by chains similar to the necklaces women wear."

6.      Sixth dream: "he looked ready to leave for hunting."

7.      Seventh dream: "on going out, he found a dragon crouched on the right of the door and, on the left, some filthy and horrid Harpies."

Man/nature symbiosis takes shape through the dream.

These dreams are like a pentagram with single complex notes in defined orchestration.

This code was as an indelible stream in human mind. When the narrator found difficult to go on with the story, he recalled the code in order to get skilled indications and stimulus to proceed.

This symbolic language is the only universal language that human species have ever achieved.(1 Fromm lost language), in which Word and Dream cooperate to build the grammar and syntax of myth, tales and dreams.

Hunter’s dreams are the limits between the world of the living and the dead. He represents an ancient hypostasis of Orion, the celestial site that was like a starry river leading man over the world.


2.0.1 Fabula Code/Human Code


Hypothesis: the sequences structure of this code for Tale is the same of Human code' s one


If we extract from text categories, nouns and adjectives as quality indicators and verbs,

we have a sequential structure in which metaphor outlines the system producing ability change and making it dynamic.

We have these elements of interpretation:



Elements + Quality  indicators

2door + enormous

courtyard/2women/bird/sky + domestic/giant

2field/2men/ lightning/meteor/sky +

vast/small/dazzling/red flaming

ancestors/ fire/ 2flame + large/ high

dream/hands/ feet/chains/necklaces/women +

tied up/ bound


 dragon/door/Harpies + crouched/right/left/filth/ horrid

Performance activators

Verbs as acting metaphor

was close

took away


blew up

to keep



to leave




2.0.2 Human Code




Elements of analogy:

1.      The 4 elements



2.      DNA, defined system


3.      Genes. Matrix. Hereditary site


4.      23 chromosome. Mother and Father


5.      Reproductive unit


6.      Identity. Sum of millions recognized cells


7.      Time of life


1.      Perimeter of site. Door closed, that is not possible to open. Doom: the beginning and the end of single life. The impossible return

2.      A kidnapped woman. Insemination occurs

3.      Small group of origin. Meteor as new event in a just defined configuration

4.      Ancestors work to put up and keep the flame high

5.      Male and female together. Ability to generate

6.      Identity: the Hunter

7.      It represents the conflict with contrary powers that everyone faces in one's life, on the left and on the right.

      The Literature world


Now we compare the points of the Human Code’s structure with our clear cut-elements of Fabula Code. We find strong analogy in several points, particularly in 4th e 5th points.

This comparison demonstrates that Man had always known his own structure, being connected through his dreams to universal law.

Goethe speaks about remaining young : “Infancy is the site where the difference between dream and reality  has borders open and not close


2.0.3 Human Code/ Universal Code

“Man has in common what is given in particular to each individual

He is in the world’s centre because he could see more easily all what is in the world..”.( Pico della Mirandola, "De hominis dignitate")

In Nature all is built according to the same law. The very small being’s law is the same of the very big being’s one.

The Goethe’s dull light in " Colours' Theory":

“Nature is never in any part dead or silent, also in the stiff earthly body it gave a confidant, a metal, in whose slight parts we could sense what happens in the whole mass”

But with the Manhattan project all changed: remote consequence was the loss of peculiar forming stones for eternity. Ancient Egyptian, Maya, Aztec pyramids, the stone with 32 angles of Peru, the dolmen , the Pantheon, all belongs to our past. All that man have been building since last century up to now suffers from a fast process of materials corrosion and of obsolescence. Nothing more belongs to the world of Beauty and Harmony. We have lost the sense of eternity for ever. Our collective time is dead.

 But now we are building a new reality. Human Project Genoma defines all the possibilities of our complex world. It is a universal computation. Life’s secret has revealed through all its representations. Darwin’s evolutionary concept is now a concrete and rapid possibility for Human species. Man can produces real visions of hybrids, as mixture between different organic and inorganic worlds. But this is not only a game of data bases combinations.

Man has to shape an idea before starting, in order not to break the universal code of nature. In this new condition all of us are slave. Human dignity is reset. Only money’s law is alive. New Titans ( from Tot =  knowledge) of acting  will take back to ancient places of human doing.





Tu lavori nell'invidia/You work in envious space

Imitando il Supremo/Imitating God

Tessi tane nel tracciato/You weave hideouts in the traced route

Nel dare forme concrete agli incubi/Giving real shapes to nightmares.

Sbagli sull'immortalità/You err about immortality

Pietas, Bellezza a Amore/Pietas, Beauty and Love

Foggiano la felicità umana/Shape human Happiness.

Il dominio che aneli ti sfuggirà /Power that you long for will escape from you

Un velo pietoso fatto di lacrime, /A pitiful veil made of tears,

Fiati melodiosi, canti del cuore /Melodious breaths, heart songs

Spegnerà la brama/Will put out your longing

Tra il volo di uccelli liberati/Among the flight of birds in liberating freedom


Praxis: Elected Affinities


3.0.1 Universal Code as collective identity

The ultimate result of  Pythagoreans was friendship”

This is one of my teaching experiments I have carried out in this academic year.

I have connected two very different and remote identities.

One is the reality of underage boys and girls that are imprisoned at Beccaria’s remand centre in Milan.

The other reality is my 3rd year students’ one at the Faculty of Industrial Design.

I have worked for one week at Beccaria.

Young girls and boys have collected drawings of their reality and recordings of their spaces with a digital camera.

I have put all these materials in my web site

The 3rd tool that I defined is an ancient scheme of the universal system.


An Universal Code connects different souls

This Universal code, that is the Systema Magicum Universalis, taken from Opus Mago-cabbalisticum by Georg von Wellings, is a collective diagram for every student. It organizes a circular linear sequence, in which the centre is the individual subjectivity. A possible evolution starts from ego

A very important step in this generative project is the test.

I started in generating the idea from Elected Affinities.

This is a very complex text. Benjamin tells that it represents Goethe’s research of a code of eternal development. If we compare the System with the seven characters of the test we find a tightly connected structure in which the centre is Nature. It shapes “ the eternal return of the identical”

It offers each student a possible way for connecting in a sense different elements of material’s pluralities. Text is like a non stop source from which it is possible to feed an emerging aggregate field.

I chose categories and orders from text as an open system.


Beccaria's young boy's drawings

Are like voices



Text is as a connected material,

and represents an  axis parameter


First choices



Several cells


Natural  selection




( Also Random in its performing)

FENOMA (open system)




 Subsequently new objectives

This is a sequence acting from a dynamic center. This is performed by two different persons.

Together, in a union of minds they carry out an overview of evolution. This is a possible generative process of collective consciousness.

After doing their work, my students went  to shake hands of Beccaria’s young boys’ hands.


 Il vuoto è oltre/The void is beyond.

Il comune senso del luogo/The common sense of place

Appare nella mente/Appears in mind

Ineledibile come unzione rappresa/Undamaged as coagulated unction



 1Tischbein: Goethe in via del Corso                                                                      2 G.D.Friedrich Woman at window


“The first function of poetry, as of all the arts, is to make us more aware of ourselves and world around us “ W. H. Auden, The voice of the poet

Poetry is not only a sound, defined in a random way, in which every sense is dead.

Poetry is a strong guide for performing a complex system, always it remains" to the absurd pretension to fix what time leaves behind".


The title:

Mater Matuta is a Roman goddess of births.

"Hac ibi luce ferunt Matutae sacra parenti" (P. OVIDI NASONIS FASTORUM LIBER SEXTVS)
















J. Wolfgang Goethe, "Le affinità elettive",1978 SuperBur Classici


W. Benjamin, "Angelus Novus",1962 Einaudi


Pico della Mirandola, "De hominis dignitate"


W. H. Auden, "The voice of the poet", J. D. McClatchy


Colabella, E. "Verba, scripta et alea generatim in Generative Art '98 by Soddu, C., ed. Dedalo,


Proceedings of Generative Art 1998 International Conference (Milano, Italy: Politecnico 1998)


Colabella, E. "L'impronta di un uomo" in Imaging Humanity, An Annual Interdisciplinary

Conference of Loyola University Chicago( Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana 1999)


Colabella, E. "Il disegno della mente" in XXI Convegno Dell' UID, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Architettura ( Lerici 1999)

Colabella, E. " The night shadow" in  Soddu, C., Proceedings of Generative Art 1999 International


Conference (Milano, Italy: Politecnico 1999)

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Il progetto ambientale di morfogenesi", Progetto Leonardo Publisher 1992 (book)

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Spatial and image dynamical models for controlling and planning the development of differences in an increasingly international and interdipendent world", in the proceedings of the conference "Planning in a time of Change", Stockholm 1992

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "The project of morphogenesis to design the DNA or architecture", in the proceedings of "CIB'92, World Building Congress", Montreal 1992.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "The morphogenetic design as an artificial intelligence system to support the management of design procedures through the total quality of the built-environment", in the proceedings of "The management of Information Technology for Construction. First International Conference" Singapore, 17/20 August 1993.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Experimental CBL original software to teach project approach and designing procedures in architecture and industrial design", in the proceedings of the International Conference of Computer Based Learning in Science", Wien 18/21 September 1993.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "La progettazione morfogenetica dell'ambiente urbano", (Morphogenetic environmental design) in "Ridisegna la Citta'" catalogue of the exhibition Casaidea 1994, Roma 1994.
C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Tre tesi di disegno industriale", (3 student's work of Industrial Design), in the magazine Area, September 1994
C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "The project of morphogenesis.
A way to design the evolution code of the environment", AESOP congress, Istambul 23-26 August 1994.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Artificial Intelligence in the teching of architectural design", in the proceedings of the conference Hypermedia in Sheffield, Sheffield 1995

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Recreating the city's identity with a morphogenetical urban design", International Conference on Making the Cities Livable, Freiburg 1995.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Artificial Intelligence and Architectural design", CAAD Futures '95, Singapore 1995.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella,
"Argenic design", paper at the International Conference "Contextual Design - Design in Contexts", The European Academy of Design, Stockholm 13-15.4.1997
C.Soddu, E.Colabella,
"A Natural Approach to Industrial Design: Argenic Design", New Simplicity? international furniture design conference, Helsinki Aug 1997.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "Pantheon", CDRom Multimedia realized for Poligrafico dello Stato publisher 1996.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, "I percorsi della mente", CDRom Multimedia for Alea Design 1996.

C.Soddu, E.Colabella, Cdrom "Leopardi a Recanati", AleaDesign publisger and the Leopardi Family.