Vela Vicolo de´ Catinari

  • Location:
    Roma, Italia
  • Date:
  • Client:
    Istituto Italo-Latino Americano, American Academy in Rome
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The installation Vela, exhibited between the months of September and December 2006 and sponsored by the Istituto Italo-Latino Americano, lines the Vicolo de´Catinari and proposes a new way of reading the urban fabric by emphasizing the axis and space of the street itself. It does so through a network of translucent white sails that gently sways in the air creating a spectacle of movement and sound for the pleasure of passing tourists and Romans. The visual show is further complemented by the way in which the material subtly plays with light, illuminating itself into brilliant white objects when lit from behind, and casting dynamic shadows of overlapping patterns onto the pavement. In this way, Vela becomes the main protagonist of the space, but is also able to highlight latent aspects of the street and bring them to the foreground: geometry, dimensions, colors and light become registered against the datum line of the sails.
It is fascinating to watch how the project registers the earth's movement. After a couple of hours, long, distorted patters are projected onto the vertical wall. Quickly they fall to the ground and acquire the recognizable shape of the suspended triangles. Forty minutes later the pattern moves toward the opposite wall, again distorted and severe, spilling over windows, drapery, graffiti and paint. After a few more minutes the sun falls behind distant buildings and the shadows disappear.