Exploded Views – Remapping Firenze

Another season, another exhibition worth taking the train to Florence for at Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina.

Marnix de Nijs‘ latest installation, Exploded Views – Remapping Firenze, spectacularly recreates a visual and dynamic body experience of the city. Minus the added visual layer of the hordes of tourists who walk through its cobbled streets every day.

See for yourself:

Two industrial treadmills in front of a huge screen display renderings of a deserted Florence. The 3D images are put into motion by the physical effort made by the viewer(s)/runner(s)/performer(s). The speed of his or her movements directly guides the intensity of the aesthetic experience. Sensors placed in the handle bar detect movements, and allow the viewer to determine which direction should be followed and what will be the intensity of the images traversed.

0aabolzanoooo.jpgExploded Views – Remapping Firenze

That might sound a bit like de Nijs’ famous installation Run, Motherfucker Run.

There are some similarities of course. There’s the irresistible element of risk. Don’t be fooled by the cushion which gently inflates behind you as you run…. Runners don’t have much more control on the probability of their fall as they have on its location (i did witness some “lateral falls” but they were totally benign.) I actually wonder what would happen with this installation in “risk-management” crazy Britain. But that’s another story.

Just like in RMR, the runners meets with the emptiness of the city, with an almost total absence of any human imprint on the spaces. In Remapping Firenze however, the human presence is crawling back into the city through a store of sounds registered in the city by audio designer Boris Debackere.

0aarummrummo.jpgRun Mother Fucker Run

The runner can only hear the field recordings when navigating slowly through the geometry of the streets and buildings. When they accelerate, contact with human voices and noises is lost. Which touches upon one of the most impressive characteristics of Remapping Firenze: running and slowing down/stopping on the treadmill provides the public with a totally different perspective.While you adopt a gentle walking pace, the city looks real and recognizable in all its touristic cliches and beauty but once you run, you enter a new dimension, the one of modernization and globalization which Florence, just like any other city, has to live up to, no matter how fascinating the history lurking behind its thick walls can be.

RMR shows a modern city. It was in fact Rotterdam but unless you intimately know Rotterdam there was no hint of the actual location. It could have been anywhere. As its name attests, Remapping Firenze is deeply grounded in its location.

0aabolazno22.jpgExploded Views – Remapping Firenze

The images on the screen are part film, part computer graphics re-creation. They were created using a brand new scanning software, developed both at the Technische Universität Darmstadt and at the University of Washington. The system generates a kind of extremely detailed 3D. Its functioning is very different from the usual procedure to generate 3D images. This one works with image recognition. When a peculiar spots in the picture is recognized in different pictures, it become the reference point of the 3d meshes.

0aaexplodegris.jpgMarnix de Nijs, Rendering Exploded Views Remapping Firenze, 2008

Exploded Views – Remapping Florence was made especially for the CCCS. It’s the first of a series of works by leading international artists who have been invited to Florence to create site-specific works that reflect the diverse realities of this city’. Catch it while you can. The exhibitionis open until June 30 at Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina in Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.