A project by Carsten Höller and Stefano Mancuso
Palazzo Strozzi presents The Florence Experiment, a new site-specific project by famous German artist Carsten Höller and the vegetable neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso – a great experiment that combines art and science by studying the interaction between plants and human beings.
The Florence Experiment involves the direct participation of the public through two monumental slides that allow visitors to descend 20 meters in height from the second-floor loggia to the courtyard and a special workshop space in the Strozzina – connected to the façade of the Palace. The Florence Experiment proposes a modern reflection on the concept of ecology and on the relationship between Man and Nature. The project aims to create a new awareness of the way in which man sees, knows and interacts with a plant organism, transforming the facade and the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi into fields of scientific and artistic experimentation.
The first part of the project for Palazzo Strozzi consists in the large slides in the courtyard, which visitors can use while experiencing an exciting and entirely new experience of the building. Every week 500 people, randomly chosen for reasons related to scientific research, will undertake the descent bringing with them a bean plant, and will deliver it in Strozzina to a team of scientists who will analyse the photosynthetic parameters and the molecules emitted as a reaction to the descent and the proximity to a person subjected to the same experience.
The second part of the experiment still takes place in the spaces of the Strozzina where two special cinemas are set up: one screens scenes from horror films; the other frames from comedies. Visitors’ fear or enjoyment will produce different volatile chemical compounds that, through two suction ducts, will be transported to the Palazzo Strozzi façade, influencing the growth of climbing wisteria plants arranged on large Y-shaped tubular structures and creating a sort of plant chart illustrating the interaction between human emotions and plant behaviour.