Throughout the spring and summer of 2018, the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy will host a new site-specific project seeking to further our understanding of ecology, and the relationship between humans and the natural world. “The Florence Experiment” will connect internal and external spaces of the famed Renaissance palace through two separate experiences: an intertwined set of 65-foot-high (20-meter-high) slides, and a “live analysis” of the impact of human emotion on plant growth.
The Florence Experiment has been devised by German artist Carsten Höller and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, with the vision of turning the Palazzo Strozzi’s façade and courtyard into engaging areas of scientific and artistic experiment. Inspired by the Renaissance alliance between art and science, the project aims to create a new awareness of the way we see, understand, and interact with plant life.
A journey through The Florence Experiment begins with visitors sliding down a 65-foot-high (20-meter-high) slide from the second-floor terrace to the Palazzo Strozzi’s courtyard. Visitors will be handed a plant to accompany them on the journey, which ultimately leads to a basement laboratory, where scientists will measure changes in the plant’s behavior triggered by the emotions experienced in the descending visitor.
The laboratory will also contain special theaters, with one screening scenes from famous comedies, and one showing excerpts from horror films. As audiences respond to the screenings with contrasting emotions, they will produce different volatile chemical compounds which, when channeled to the façade of the Palazzo through a series of pipes and tubes, will impact the growth of plant vines arranged to climb the façade in the summer months.
With this project, so courageous and so special, Palazzo Strozzi will become a site of real contemporary experimentation and reflection, turning an architectural Renaissance masterpiece into a workshop of dialogue between art and science. Cooperation with Carsten Höller, one of the most important artists on the international scene, and with Stefano Mancuso, a Florentine scientist known worldwide for his work on plant neurobiology, offers us a spectacular opportunity to further Palazzo Strozzi’s calling as a multidisciplinary space seeking to find ever new routes to involve and interacting with our visitors.
-Arturo Galansino, Director General, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi
News via: Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi