Formal Interference – May 2014
Public Art Project in Florence City Centre & Exhibition at Le Murate
Commissioned by CAAPO
There is tension within Florence between the conservation of cultural heritage and the necessity for urban planners to consider utilitarian demands for a dynamic, modern city. This situation is antagonised by the tourist dollar pressuring the council to preserve the iconography of Florence as a museum city.
As artist and de facto cultural-tourist, I assumed the role of urban design agency, proposing interventions with the aim of alleviating such tensions. Coinciding with council elections, I presented ideas that promised to keep the population of Florence youthful. In comparison with historic cities such as Venice, the migration of young adults to cities more able to fulfil contemporary functions leaves an aging population behind. In Florence the aim was to offer ways to reverse this process by transforming the use of cultural icons to cater for young adults.
The project was titled - Florence urban regeneration: dynamism, individuality and youth (Rigenerazione urbana di Firenze: dinamismo, individualità e gioventù). Designs were narrowed down to two projects which were presented to an unsuspecting Florentine public in the form of an impromptu souvenir stall. The audience were asked to vote for one of the projects in return for receiving souvenirs of their choosing, this occurred during the local elections and the stall doubled as a voting booth.
Click images to enlarge
The short-listed designs were:
Boboli Gardens al fresco dining for office workers and primates (Giardino di Boboli Sala da pranzo all'aperto per impiegati d'ufficio e primate)
The Boboli Gardens will be transformed into an open air safari park with free entry for all residents, inviting office workers to enjoy their lunch face to face with our furry ancestors, the primates. This is a project that promises to spice up those boring office lunch breaks forever!
Florence Disco Dome (Firenze Disco-Cupola)
Here the proposal is to make use of all the empty space at the top of Florence Cathedral in order to create the highest discothèque in the world. Brunelleschi’s dome will be amended to house a discothèque, which promises to be a new icon for the younger generation.
Boboli Gardens & Florence Disco Dome 1 of 3 designs for each project available as fridge magnet, keyring, postcard, poster, tee shirt
Ultimately when the votes were counted the Disco Dome project won.
Formal Interference was a CAAPO Project built in association with Spazi Docili (www.spazidocili.org) & the Curators of Wolstenholme Projects (John O’Hare & Gordon Culshaw - Liverpool Gallery 2006-2010). The public art programme featured 8 interventions over 8 days staged in a variety of public spaces around Florence – exploring themes of appropriation, contamination and corruption. An exhibition of works took place at Le Murate (http://www.lemuratepac.it/formal-interference/) which was also the host venue for a series of talks and discussions. Further info: http://www.creativeassault.org/
With thanks to Christian Costa for help with translation of the above, CAAPO and Wales Arts International. Documentation of the project was recorded by Christian Costa, Jamie Davies & Brychan Tudor.