auroraMeccanica, an Italian artists’ collective, create interactive video installations that focus on the user and their participation. One stand-out work is 'La Gabbia', on show at MUST in Milan thanks to a partnership with the IBSA Foundation.
auroraMeccanica is an artists’ collective founded in Pisa in 2007 by Carlo Riccobono and Roberto Bella as an audio-visual production studio. It moved to Turin in 2009, where it was joined by Fabio Alvino, and in 2015 by Giovanni Giordano, Selenia Grossi and Giulia Zucca. It is an art group focussed on creating interactive video installations for arts and non-arts venues. They take a synaesthetic, multisensory, interactive approach that combines traditional techniques and advanced technologies to create 'magical' interactive works, in which the spectator also activates the piece, which thus constantly changes its form and meaning.
This innovative poetry has won collective awards and participation in important exhibitions, including the Gemine Muse Prize (2010), the Pav Prize (2012), participation in Manifesta 9’s Parallel Events and a range of personal and collective exhibitions both nationally and internationally. These include Turin Polytechnic and Rivoli Castle for the work 'Il mondo di Lorenzo' (Lorenzo’s World), a multisensory journey through autism that recreates the perceptions of the world through the senses of an autistic child.
This work led the way to partnerships with the Royal Museums, the Risorgimento Museum, the Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Antiquity and the Urban Centre in Turin, the Triennale, Niguarda Hospital, Design Week and Rotonda della Besana in Milan, and most recently with the Polo del 900 in Turin with the exhibition 'Che Razza di Storia', an interactive journey for the 80th anniversary of the enactment of fascism’s racial laws, visited by the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.
Also worthy of note is 'Senza limiti oltre i confini' (Without Limits Beyond Borders) dedicated to mountain cinema at the Mountain Museum in Turin, and the permanent interactive technology exhibition at the Museum of People and Cultures in Milan in 2019.
Participatory art and storytelling
You may have noticed that the auroraMeccanica collective’s temporary and permanent works are displayed in the most diverse settings, from art museums to design, anthropology, cinema and science spaces. This leads to both general and specific reflections, as theirs is all-round art, focussing on active public participation, where poetry, aesthetics and technology facilitate the emotional involvement of the spectator.
Work and works in which art, science and technology combine in a synesthetic dynamic, offering themselves to 'suggest the invisible' and bring it to life. This means that storytelling is an ever-present motif, both in works of a 'purely artistic nature' and in commissioned works for other events, such as for the Polo del 900 in Turin with 'Che Razza di Storia.' This is why their website homepage says: auroraMeccanica Narrative Space Studio.
Still in the artistic sphere, the work Figura, exhibited at the Modena Visual Arts Foundation, reflects - and helps us reflect – on using and creating digital images on Instagram in which we are all simultaneously producers and users, creators and consumers. This work has a 9-metre video projection that at first glance looks like a projection of points of light or a galaxy of stars but turns out to be a large electronic collage of images that auroraMeccanica calls 'contemporary stickers', like the paper stickers industry whose world headquarters (the Panini company) is in Modena. The difference is that these are images of all kinds and not only of celebrities (mostly sports stars), and they are not tactile like paper stickers, but available to the modern multiverse.
Digital Aesthetics: La Gabbia
Although they work mainly with non-material technologies, auroraMeccanica often maintain a physical relationship within their work. Currently - in December 2022 - auroraMeccanica Narrative Space Studio is presenting an interactive work/installation at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan (MUST) as part of the Future Inventors educational project supported by and in partnership with the IBSA Foundation.
This work is called La Gabbia (The Cage): a small, empty bird cage suspended in the middle of a room that visitors can touch. When touched, 'invisible technology' generates shadows of birds that magically emerge from the cage and hover in the air to the amazement and excitement of the spectator/activator.
This site-specific installation enables the participatory experience of visitors, who are no longer passive users, but social beings and co-creators of the work. It relegates the ‘creator as solitary genius’ to the background, promoting the educational sociality that this kind of work inspires. La Gabbia is also a metaphor for our current pandemic age, in which the world has been caged in lockdown over the last couple of years, leading to a greater awareness and desire for freedom, which the work generates as a reaction.
'La Gabbia' by auroraMeccanica, is part of the Digital Aesthetics project and the permanent programme of digital art installations, which now also includes 'Chromata' by Michael Bromley and "Robotic voice activated word kicking machine" by Neil Mendoza, on show at MUST thanks to the IBSA Foundation.
By Giacinto Di Pietrantonio