the monumental site-specific installation devised by german artist carsten höller and plant neurobiologist stefano mancuso has opened its doors, and we take a first look inside the venue before final photos are revealed next week (stay tuned!). ‘the florence experiment’, sited at florence’s famed palazzo strozzi, comprises an intertwined pair of monumental slides that spiral visitors twenty meters downward from the second floor terrace to the courtyard. participants are handed a plant to accompany them on their ride, which — upon exiting — is passed through a laboratory. a ‘live’ analysis surveys how plants ‘feel’, as a result of the experience of the descending visitor.

carsten holler florence
the site-specific installation studies ‘how plants feel’ after taking a ride down a slide 
all photos by martino margheri

 

 

curated by palazzo strozzi director general arturo galansino, höller and mancuso’s ‘florence experiment’ seeks to further our understanding of ecology. the laboratory hosts a cinema — one screening excerpts from famous comedies, the other from renowned horror films. the audiences’ diverging reactions will produce different volatile chemical compounds, which will make their way through a system of pipes and tubes to the façade of the palazzo. 

carsten holler florence
‘the florence experiment’ is sited at the famed palazzo strozzi

 

 

the impact of these compounds will affect the growth of wisteria plant vines arranged to climb up a series of wires on the façade. the impact of the public’s horror or happiness is expected to visibly influence the direction in which the plants grow. by turning palazzo strozzi’s façade and courtyard into areas of both scientific and artistic experimentation, ‘the florence experiment’ seeks to generate new understandings of human interactions with the natural world.

carsten holler florence
an intertwined pair of monumental slides spiral visitors twenty meters downward 

carsten holler florence
participants are handed a plant to accompany them on their ride

carsten holler florence
a ‘live’ analysis surveys how plants ‘feel’, as a result of the experience of the descending visitor

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