The Florence Experiment


The much anticipated Florence Experiment has finally opened to the public!
The project by Belgian artist Carsten Höller and Stefano Mancuso, taking place at Palazzo Strozzi, merges art and science in a unique and much fun experience.
It is not surprising that the two have decided to collaborate considering the common interests binding them: Carsten Höller was an entomology researcher with a doctorate in phytopathology before he became an artist, while Stefano Mancuso is one of the founders of the discipline of plant neurobiology, a science that studies plant intelligence and their ability to communicate with the external environment through the compounds chemicals that they emit and capture.
The experience will be carried out by visitors this way: first they will arrive on the second floor where they will be given a little plant to secure to a belt around their middle, then they will descent into the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi, from 20 meters high, through one of the two enormous slides designed by Carsten Höller.
The descent is much steeper than you might expect, and you can be sure you will arrive on the ground with shaky legs. The second part of the experiment continues in the Strozzina, where visitors will hand over to a scientist the plant they just took along for a ride on the slide.
Here the plant will be analyzed to discover the impact of human emotion on plant growth.
In fact, the study focuses on the empathy of the plants, and how the photosynthetic parameters and volatile molecules are triggered by the emotions experienced by the visitors who held them during the descent.
As a last step in the process, visitors will head to the two cinema rooms set up near the laboratory, where clips from horror and comedy films will cause the viewers to produce different volatile chemical compounds, which will travel through a system of pipes to the façade of the building. Here, these chemicals will affect the growth of wisteria plants and hopefully, by summer’s end the façade will be a wonderful vertical garden.
A one of a kind experience, that will give you engage the visitors in a most exciting way, and at the same time will make them active part of a scientific study the will help us learn something more about the misterious world of plants. Don’t miss the chance to partecipate!

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