Location: Rome, Italy
Completion date: 2022
Luna Somnium is a dreamlike site-specific installation and audiovisual experience conceived for the Gazometro in Rome. The work featured an 18-meter, 360° projected sphere suspended inside the metal structure of the Gazometro and designed to be visible from different locations around the city. The title of the work draws inspiration from what is considered the first work of science fiction ever written: the “Somnium” (the dream), a short story written by John Kepler in 1600 where the reader follows the protagonist’s journey when he slips into a dream and travels to the moon. Just like in Kepler’s tale, where the protagonist observes the earth from the unprecedented viewpoint of the moon, the installation urges visitors to think about how a slight shift in perception can affect their sense of reality. Given the scale of the work, Luna Somnium encourages people to view the installation from multiple perspectives – both inside and outside the gasometer, or from different areas of the city – while also initiating an individual, emotional exchange with the environment where the experience takes place. Luna Somnium is a call to freely experience reality and underlines the interdependence between different but equally legitimate interpretations of the world.
One of the goals of the installation was to attract new audience inside the Gazometro and enhance an area of Rome that had never been open to the public before.
It is with this intention that Luna Somnium could be experienced in two very different ways: one from inside the structure of the Gazometro, for the full audiovisual performance, and the other far away, from different points around the city. This allowed for the work and the area to be put under the spotlight, which in turn contributed to attracting new visitors to the space.
The installation of Luna Somnium has been composed of a projection system with 12 projectors (1920x1200px) synchronized with strobes, beam lights and blinders casting the animations onto the simulated moon, together with a composite spatial sound system. The sphere hung in the gasometer has a diameter of 18m and has been made with 38 nylon segments measuring 1,5m x 25m, for a total surface of 925m and a weight of 200kg. As for the musical composition and animations, we have been inspired by the lunar phases. Visually, we also wanted to find different aesthetic metaphors both reminiscent and divergent of lunar features, so as to pursue various emotional journeys. Concerning audio, the creative process saw its beginning with the collection of keywords and the creation of a Formal Drawing. Through this drawing - a visual representation of the musical thought - the entire macro form of the paper and all its micro sections were designed, thus defining a narrative, dynamic emotional development; a reference point for the visual part as well. The formal design permits to observe from above one's thoughts and their development: it works as a guide, a confined space, in which to move freely and experiment.