Cinquecento Soli (500 Soli) was first shown in May 2018 in Rome, as part of the exhibition Take me (I’m yours), curated by Christian Boltanski, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Chiara Parisi.
220 reflecting surfaces are collectively organized and individually adjusted to project 220 sunsets into the north-east oriented Loggia of the Villa Medici.
The 31st of May, 220 mirrors shifted the Cosmos toward the Villa, as people witnessed the first ever sunset this space had known for 430 years.
The installation was conceived alongside a study on our cultural relationship to energy, as an allusion to the infrastructural landscape emerging in the Mediterranean’s backcountry. It stood as a phenomenological experiment of the contemporary energetic city which territory extends far from its formal limits. As we were focusing on the production of architecture in this landscape, and on the perspectives we could bring to it, we followed two intuitional paths for 500 Soli’s conception: Analogue design and Collective energies.
The installation covers a 35 x 50 m area. It is made of 55 timber pillars distributed on a radial grid. Despite the topographic variations of the Piazzale, each one is standing straight in relation to Earth, and despite its large span, each one is turned the same way towards the sun. The 55 pillars are holding 220 mirrors, individually adjusted to project the reflection of the setting sun to the single space of the Loggia.
The installation is built as an individual spatial and temporal experiment, to which we, planners and craftsmen, found ourselves unrelated. Our aesthetic choices, the conceptual and building processes, the layout and the alignments... every of our design decisions were part and parcel of the phenomenon it sought to produce. That’s why it is large and that’s why we aimed for perfection : so it can turn experiential.
The 31st of May, as twilight came, the three-hours phenomenological experiment begun : 500 Soli turned to be a spectacular lecturer of our potential for relating to energy and its substances.
The 31st of May, just as plants, many were gathering enthusiasm directly from the sun, just as if they got energized through air and rays.
The 31st of may, we witnessed that we could all, instinctively and collectively, use our forgotten photo-receptive cells and synapses to produce a collective energy.