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  • Writer's pictureFrancesca Fini

My performance Sconfinamento at Palazzo Merulana

Tecnologie Urbane (Urban Technologies)

From 08/06/2023 to 03/09/2023

Opening of the exhibition at 6:00 PM

The historical Palazzo Merulana in Rome, in synergy with Coopculture and the Elena and Claudio Cerasi Foundation, under the patronage of the Municipality of Rome I Centro and the Enpam Foundation, and with the support of ATAC SpA - Azienda per la mobilità di Enpam, Ce.I.S Don Mario Picchi ETS, and Piazza Vittorio APS, in collaboration with Piazza della Salute, is pleased to present the exhibition "Urban Technologies" curated by Luca Ceresoli and Serenella Di Marco, which will inaugurate on Thursday, June 8th at 6:00 PM and will be open to the public until Sunday, September 3rd, 2023.

The project explores the relationships between metropolitan development and technologies over time through visual arts. This dialogue undergoes a historical and social analysis since all three areas are deeply interconnected.

In the year that marks the centenary of one of the greatest authors of the 20th century in Italy, Italo Calvino, Palazzo Merulana is precisely configured as the ideal space to graft and trigger Urban Technologies due to its history and nature. Since its opening, its vocation has been to interpret and disseminate contemporary artistic practices related to the community and the territory, enhancing their resources and relationships.

With his "Invisible Cities," the writer traced a geography of thought and imagination no less concrete than the real one. Similarly, Palazzo Merulana, as the flagship of the new DMO EsCo, will host the entire project both within its exhibition spaces and outside, in other squares and urban dimensions of the historic Esquilino district where it is located, creating a dense network of exchanges and connections with the surrounding territory. The network of Urban Technologies branches out into five distinct actions that, although appearing in different combinations, constitute the synthesis of the investigation: "memory," "street art," "social," "inspiration," "new technologies."

From historical and present artists within the permanent collection, such as Giorgio De Chirico and Franco Gentilini, to living artists who have already exhibited at Palazzo Merulana, such as Bruno Aller; from internationally renowned street artists like Insane51, Invader, and Krayon, influenced by digital manipulations, to Nuvola Project and performer Francesca Fini, who work with big data and the metaverse; from the work of Lorenzo Romito dedicated to second-generation migrants to artists participating in the "Strada maestra" project by Arci Solidarietà Onlus supported by the 8x1000 of the Waldensian Church in collaboration with Binario95; from Tommy Nicoletti, an artist from the Cervelli Ribelli Foundation, a reality committed to the social and occupational inclusion of neurodiverse people, to Antonia Ciampi, who manipulates elements of road signage to spread universal messages.

Francesca Fini / Sconfinamento (2020)

New Media Performance

During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Italian squares, always so full of life and rowdy, were suddenly silent and deserted, while life was hiding inside the houses, inside the silent buildings that harmoniously surround them. Daily life, once feverish, has become a fleeting and ephemeral circumstance: the squares were controlled by police vans, enlivened by the flight of a seagull, by a flag in the wind, by a runner's bicycle, by a couple wearing masks while walking the dog.

And so the loners adventuring in the confined city were narrative elements of a dystopian and cinematic story, which I started spying on avidly, through the dense system of tourist and surveillance webcams, accessible via the web, which I have discovered oversee almost every city in Italy.

While I was locked in my studio, it gave me relief to look 'outside', to spy those beautiful airy and sunny squares - the places where I would have had an aperitif and a nice dinner, under normal conditions, through this virtual window on my computer screen. I also came to project these images, on the wall of my room, as in a new panopticon urged by the discomfort of the quarantine.

At that point, being an artist working with live media and interaction design, I decided to take the next step.

Through motion tracking technology, I grabbed the webcam feed and passed it to a software, specially compiled for this project, which records and visually tracks the movement of people, vehicles, and animals, processing all the data flow and turning it into a concert for synth: movements generate sounds, modulations, graphic visualizations, digital effects. Finally, I returned everything back to the network, through a series of live streaming on Facebook, in a creative ring of real-time manipulations and interpretations.


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