Rome anno 2019

The strange habit of 21st century tourists posing in front of ancient monuments is augmented by hundreds of tiny stores all selling the exact same prullaria en masse, run by a slightly darker population than the one buying the products. They inhabit little openings in the walls of medieval houses in the city center, their stock overflows onto the wall surrounding the penetration. Stock consists of thousands of tiny souvenirs, no bigger than at most 10x10cm, displayed on every surface available to the store keeper. They are sorted by type: keychain, refridgerator magnet, sunglasses, caps, bracelets. There color schemes mostly blue, dark green, terracotta and gold, the slight variations between the objects, the tiny scale of the details repeated infinitely across the walls. All displayed under fluorescent lighting in a room so tiny that one is always close to everything, this produces an intense experience that approaches seeing all of Rome in about sixty seconds: five hundred trevi fountains a five hundredth its size, ten thousand pantheons one ten thousandth its size, one milion colosseums one millionth its size.

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COMPRESSION is currently exhibited at the former shipwharf De Oude Delft (Schiehaven 15) in Rotterdam. The design of this folly plays into the dual nature of the Dutch landscape, on one hand dense and utilitarian, on the other hand artificially kept primitive and scenic. It invites visitors to an experience of compression, similar to the […]
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