The Market, with Other Senses

Padiglione Italia Expo Milano 2015

Padiglione Italia Expo Milano 2015

A Dialogue in the Dark among the Stalls
of the Vucciria. For those visitors who had the opportunity to try it, this was a really
unique experience based on the sense of smell, taste, hearing
and touch – a visit to the marketplace following the trail of tastes,
scents and sounds. The spacious area of the exhibition devoted to a
“Dialogue in the Dark” invited visitors to envisage the world from a
different perspective: that of a visually impaired person.
Accompanied by outstanding guides from the Milan Institute for the
Blind, visitors would lose their bearings while activating sensory
capacities enabling them to perceive the typical stimuli associated
with the main market of Palermo “in an alternative way”. At the
end of the itinerary, visitors would regain their sight to discover
Renato Guttuso’s striking masterpiece La Vucciria, on loan to the
Italian Pavilion from Palermo University. Painted in 1974, the work
reproduces the colours, scents, and lighting so skilfully created by
the vendors through canopies, umbrellas, and glaring lights. “The
arrangement is perfect: each piece contributes to forming the final
patchwork of the painting where all elements – goods, vendors, lights,
crates and especially people – find a suitable place, lending shape to
the very idea of a market, almost as a paradigm of it”, explains Fabio
Carapezza Guttuso, President of the Guttuso Archives.
Rodolfo Masto, President of the Italian National Federation of
Institutions for the Blind, explains: “When a sighted person enters
a dark place, he or she must first of all face the ancestral fear of
darkness. Having overcome this fear through the empathy created by
the proximity and voice of the visually impaired guide, the visitors
will start putting themselves to the test. This itinerary enables them
to interact with the world through those senses that are usually less
used. In the absence of the kind of information of which in most
cases the sense of sight supplies 86%, the other senses reawaken.
This allows visitors to rediscover the conscious use of touch and
attentiveness to sound, and to grasp all the nuances of smells. This
experience also has a positive impact on the relations between
sighted and visually impaired people. The most important goal
we have achieved with the Italian Pavilion through the ‘Market in
the Dark’ installation is to have helped many people overcome the
stereotype that limits sighted people’s judgement.”

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  • Title: The Market, with Other Senses
  • Location: Palazzo Italia, third floor
  • Rights: ©Marco Rolando