Tre Stazioni per Arte-Scienza
Tre Stazioni per Arte-Scienza are three exhibitions hosted at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, focusing on the relationships between science and art, society and contemporary culture. The exhibitions are entitled Ti con Zero, Incertezza and La Scienza di Roma. Formafantasma worked on the exhibition design for the totality of the Palazzo, from the exhibitions to the shared rotunda and staircases.
'Ti con Zero' is a reflection on how contemporary art intersects with the scientific world. The exhibition gathers the work of 31 Italian and international artists. 'T zero' is a mathematical notation used to indicate the first moment at which one begins to observe a phenomenon, a moment of stasis fixed in time and space that opens up to endless possibilities. This dimension turns out to be a privileged viewpoint in which knowledge and imagination are converging.
For 'La Scienza di Roma', Formafantasma embraces the idea of exhibition making as a tool for learning. The show focuses on an impressive array of materials to reconstruct the history of the scientific development in the city. The visitors enter the universe of anthropology, chemistry, mathematic, biology, physics, aerospace and astronomy with the works of Stanislao Cannizzaro, Emma Castelnuovo, Giovanni Battista Grassi, Enrico Fermi and Guglielmo Marconi, to name just a few.
Inspired by the way didactic books are constructed, the exhibition design divides the space into different areas: the highlights are placed in the middle of the rooms while the remaining objects are displayed almost as in taxonomy on one of the side walls. Opposite to this, blown-up images and extensive texts contextualise the materials on display. The visitors are empowered to make choices, deciding if being guided in the tour of the show by the evocative power of objects or the informative nature of the photos on display, all selected from archival materials of the city of Rome.
The Galileo-Kircher room is conceived as a cabinet of curiosity with a separate experience. The pieces here are displayed all across the walls as well as in the middle of the room. This continuous flow of artwork and text highlights the peculiar atmosphere of the space. The visitors get a close look at the original watercolours depicting the phases of the moon painted by Galileo Galilei, some of his measuring instruments, as well as Athanasius Kircher's Sciateric Tables, to name just a few.
'Incertezza' looks at the methodologies and formulation of ideas within the scientific field. The concepts explored range from probability to studies looking at the spread of diseases and climate changes. They are set as interactive installations and physical machinery in an all pink environment. In the western world, pink as a colour has grown far from any scientific affiliation due to the constructed gender bias that pink is frivolous and a cliché of femininity, not conforming to scientific seriousness. The design thus follows the attempt of the curatorial content to subvert the cliché of a science exhibition. The same way the scientific precision and certainty is questioned through the content, the set design subverts the monolith of science exhibition set in darkness by placing it within a pink environment. By doing so Formafantasma opens to as a sense of estrangement and fluidity of content and spatial circulation.
Working as a connection between these very diverse exhibitions is a rug with a 10 meter diameter, placed in the center of the rotunda. The rug together with the set of pre-existing seatings provide the necessary space for public programs. The rotunda activates the museum with extensive new layers of content and reflections on the material displayed. The rug enters in a subtle dialogue with the neo-classical architecture of the Palazzo. It has been designed and custom made with the guidance and care of the Milan based design company CC Tapis.
Notes, References and External Links1. Palazzo delle Esposizioni is the largest interdisciplinary exhibition area in the centre of Rome: more than 10,000 square metres of space on three floors, Level 0, 1 and 2, host cultural events and offer services to visitors.
2. Paola Bonani is the junior curator at the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo. Ph.D. in History of Contemporary Art. Between 2001 and 2003 she worked at the Centro Studi del Futurismo del MART in Rovereto. She has collaborated with studies and research in numerous exhibitions and publications on Italian twentieth-century art, including Pirandello. The still lifes, 2007; Mario Ceroli, 2007; 15 at the Quadriennale of Rome, 2008; Contemporary Italy.
3. Francesca Rachele Oppedisano has been working for the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo since 2003, for the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, she co-curated the Benedette Foto! Carmelo Bene seen by Claudio Abate and Il Corpo della Voce. Carmelo Bene, Cathy Berberian, Demetrio Stratos . After a degree in Contemporary Art History in Rome and a Ph.D. in Viterbo, she obtained a master's degree in practical philosophy and philosophical practices at the Roma Tre University.
4. Laura Perrone is currently assistant curator for the programming table of the Azienda Speciale Palaexpo and for Palazzo delle Esposizioni she has co-curated the exhibitions Sublimi Anatomie (Rome, 2019) and Ti con Zero (Rome, 2021).
5. Vincenzo Barone is a theoretical physicist. He teaches quantum mechanics at the Università del Piemonte Orientale and conducts research in the field of the theory of fundamental interactions. He is a member of the Accademia delle Scienze di Torino. He chairs the scholarly advisory board of “Asimmetrie”, the journal of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, and writes for "Il Sole 24 Ore – Domenica"
6. Fernando Ferroni is full professor and director of the Physics Area at the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI) and a former President of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN). He has also been a member of the CERN Board and of the Governing Board di Science Europe. His scientific studies have focused on experimental particle physics, his research starting at the CERN.
7. Vincenzo Napolano is a communications manager with the European Gravitational Observatory (EGO) in Pisa. He is interested in the use of new technologies and artistic languages to communicate science to the public at large. He has curated multi-medial installations at the crossroads between art and science for the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nuclere (INFN) and has curated numerous successful scientific exhibitions.
8. Antonella Varaschin is a science communicator. She has a degree in the philosophy of science from Padua University and a master's degree in science communication from the SISSA Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati in Trieste. In 2004 she began to devote her energy to institutional science communication with the INFN Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare where she still works today, cooperating on the design and production of initiatives for the dissemination of scientific culture, and she is in charge of institutional communication, the press office and relations with the media.
9. The National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) is the Italian research agency dedicated to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the laws that govern them, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). It conducts theoretical and experimental research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear and astroparticle physics.
10. Fabrizio Rufo is associate professor of moral philosophy at Rome's La Sapienza University – Department of Environmental Biology, where he teaches bioethics. His area of research is chiefly concerned with the relationship between science and society. In 2017 he co-curated the exhibition Dna - Il grande libro della vita da Mendel alla genomica.
11. Stefano Papi is a science communicator. A palaeontologist, he has been focusing for years on the communication and teaching of science in the context of museums and exhibitions. He curated the exhibition “In Principio.
12. CC-Tapis is an Italian company that produces contemporary hand-knotted rugs which are created in Nepal by expert Tibetan artisans.
ContributorsCONCEPT, DESIGN Andrea Trimarchi, Simone Farresin.
FORMAFANTASMA TEAM Ibrahim Kombarji
EXHIBITION 'TI CON ZERO' CURATED BY Paola Bonani, Francesca Rachele Oppedisano and Laura Perrone
EXHIBITION 'INCERTEZZA' CURATED BY Vincenzo Barone, Fernando Ferroni, Vincenzo Napolano,
Antonella Varaschin and INFN Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare
EXHIBITION 'LA SCIENZA DI ROMA' CURATED BY Fabrizio Rufo and Stefano Papi
ILLUSTRATION 'INCERTEZZA' Giada Fiorindi
RUG PRODUCTION CC-Tapis
CATALOGUE Studio Joost Grootens
PHOTO CREDITS Marco Cappelletti