The Digitalife exhibition at Macro – Museum of Contemporary Art – in Rome, which took place at the end of 2016, had a ‘less is more’ leitmotif. Of course, this is also the founding concept of rational, minimalist architecture; and also sums up the design philosophy of Leonardo Ceramica, one of the participants and a ceramic tile manufacturer known for its distinctively hi-tech, design-oriented tiles.
Digitalife: Immersive Exhibit was not merely an exhibition, but – as its name suggests – an immersive experience in which visitors were able to explore the digital universe and let the creative expressions of a series of artists embrace them.
Digitalife formed part of the 2016 Romaeuropa Festival programme; and was on show at Macro in the Testaccio district in Rome until 27th November 2016.
The works on display were all based on the ‘objectification’ and ‘de-virtualisation’ of a digital world in which the viewer is the main focus. This is a design approach shared by Leonardo Ceramica.
The Zee installation by Kurt Hentschläger, for example, was a ‘a journey into non-vision’, where the viewer was wrapped in a synaesthetic fog to ‘amplify’ a series of sound and light impulses.
ST/LL by ShiroTakatani, co-founder of the Japanese collective DumbType, also stimulated the viewer’s perception by using water to create miraculous geometric sculptures, shapes and light refractions.
Italy was represented at the exhibition by NONE’s DeepDream_Act II; a work that offers insights into the collective digital imagination without making any attempt to conceal the often trivial and voyeuristic nature of the web and its images.
Richard Castelli, the exhibition’s curator, describes these works in three words: immersion, fluidity and de-virtualisation.
The exhibition ended with the digital-social project ‘Understanding the Other’ created by the PerCro laboratory at Sant’Anna High School in Pisa, which for over 25 years has conducted research into the relationship between robotics and virtual environments.
Digitalife also included a number of live music and video performances that were designed to reinterpret industrial areas as the ideal location for experimenting with future languages.
The calendar of events also included a conference by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro to mark 150 years of relations between Italy and Japan. This featured an android copy of the Professor to allow virtual conversation.
A new blog by Joe Simpson, Diary of A Tile Addict, January 2016