sorgente urbana BY GABRIELE MUNDULA
artist and designer gabriele mundula has created an interactive artwork to address the depopulation of small italian towns and villages. the installation is composed of red ropes that crisscross a small street in noci in italy’s southern puglia region. inspired by medicine and biology, the work stages the symbiotic relationship between city and people, demonstrating how the absence of one causes the collapse of the other.
called ‘sorgente urbana’—which literally translates to ‘urban source’—the installation draws attention to the depopulation of southern italy in particular. the artist says, ‘the most worrying thing is that, without inhabitants, the small villages that characterize this unique part of the country die slowly, with no possibilities to pass on the next generations all the customs and traditions. this is the first step toward the decay of a nation, the loss of identity.’
images courtesy of gabriele mundula
sorgente urbana is like a vein, carrying vital blood and oxygen to wherever they’re needed. the red ropes represent blood vessels and people, both of which are the lifeblood of our bodies and our cities, respectively. the ropes have different diameters, which get smaller when they get closer to the buildings. they occupy the urban space by clinging to the walls and projections like balconies, pipes, and railings.
along the vein path, some of the ropes are left free for visitors to interact with. pulling on the ropes makes the whole installation move, simulating the pumping of blood inside the body and showing the vitality of the village. the more people pull the strings, the more the work acquires value. and without anyone, the installation cannot work.
by pulling one of the free ropes, people can shake the entire installation, simulating the pumping of blood inside the ‘organism-city’
‘a space can only survive if people walk and live inside it. otherwise all that remains is the skeleton. the absence of life,’ continues mundula.
sorgente urbana was presented during the urban art festival ‘esseri urbani’. it’s the first of a series of artistic installations that compose the macro-project ‘il codice dell’anima’, which aims to highlight the hidden mechanisms that govern our world, investigating both its problems and its most fascinating and enigmatic aspects, using all kinds of expressive language.
the more people move the ropes, the more blood is pumped
closeup view of the ropes
not only man, but also nature appropriates the installation, revealing the deep and ancestral connection between man, nature and city
for the concept mundula researched fluidity and pumping—how can a vein stage the life of a small village?
name: sorgente urbana
artist: gabriele mundula
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edited by: lynne myers | designboom