Through the “Search History” exhibition at MAXXI Museum in Rome, Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, directors of the architecture and art studio Space Popular, set out to explore the work of Also Rossi and to translate his notions of “urban fact” and “analogous city” to the virtual realm. The installation is a reflection on the proliferation of metaverse platforms and the concept of virtual urbanism. The exhibition is part of the fifth edition of Studio Visit, a partnership between Alcantara and the MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, which challenges designers to put forward a personal reinterpretation of the works of the masters in the MAXXI Architecture Collections.
Search History is at once an object, a threshold and an environment. In its in-between stages it is an abstract landscape of layers. It reflects on Rossi’s ideas of the building as an entity that absorbs, records and plays back the history of the city onto itself. – Space Popular
Virtual land is beginning to develop by recreating existing real-estate market models that sell virtual land. Studio Popular aims to propose a new approach, one based on a civic perspective. According to them, the “Immersive Internet,” their term for the metaverse, should be collectively built and managed. It should also position itself to take full advantage of concepts specific to online environments, such as browsing, bookmarking, teleportation, and the changing understanding of privacy.
To better understand these perspectives, they turn to Aldo Rossi’s work, specifically to “the Architecture of the City.” There, Rossi presents and embraces a subjective experience. He presents the city as a sequence of spatial experiences that, while unique to each individual, remain a “universal and necessary fact.” This theory lends itself easily to the notion of the metaverse and the way we navigate online platforms.
Space Popular has challenged themselves to present virtual environments through little or no digital means. The “Search History” exhibition presents an experience of moving across digital realms in the Immersive Internet through a tribute to Aldo Rossi. A multi-layered structure adapts to the rhythm of an original soundscape composed by the Spanish music duo San Jeronimo. In the continuous movement, textile sheets create a shifting architecture whose movement creates new landscapes and opens perspectives.
As in the previous editions of Studio Visit, the work by Space Popular will become part of the MAXXI Architecture permanent collection. Last year, the MAXXI Museum set out to celebrate women in architecture through an exhibition that documented the transformative role of female architects in the profession’s evolution over the last century.