Genius loci. A festival in Rome between architecture and science

The annual events dedicated to scientific research and technology reopens in Rome with a redescovery of architectural places.

Inaugurated in 2018, the festival “Genius loci. Dove abita il genio”, realized by the cultural association Open City Roma, this year reaches its third edition, dedicated to the theme of scientific environmentalism.

Through guided tours, visits on online platforms, workshops, but also performances, exhibitions and a web-series, the festival – completely free of charge – aims to introduce the protagonists of a lesser-known Rome, projected towards the future and technological progress, with the various international centres of scientific research and experimentation.

Italian Space Agency. Courtesy of AF517 ©Caviola

“In this historical moment scientific knowledge is even more important; this does not mean that we all have to become scientists but that we all have to know where to find the correct information to avoid the spreading of fake news and speculation, as happened and is still happening for the covid-19” says Laura Calderoni, curator of the festival, with whom we talk about this year's programme.

Precisely for this reason a part of the program is dedicated to the visits of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, now in the center of media attention for its key role in research on covid-19, which has allowed to isolate the virus and prepare for the discovery of a vaccine.

Centro Fermi. Photo Francesco Cicconi

What drove you during the first edition of the festival to choose this kind of program and themes?
The choice of this year’s theme was the result of a path started in the two previous editions of the Festival. Talking about scientific environmentalism by drawing on several disciplines is important to bring people closer to a complex theme that is, however, part of our daily lives.

How is a festival dedicated to technology and science organized in a city so full of history?
The beauty of Rome is its extraordinary stratigraphy that allows us to take a journey of millennia just by visiting a single building. The program includes visits to important places, such as the CNR headquarters, an expression of Italian rationalism, or the headquarters of the Gimema Onlus Foundation inside the historic Ex Pastificio Pantanella, completely renovated by a contemporary project of the Mdaa studio.

We are at this moment in the particular phase of the post-lockdown. What has changed in the festival format?
This year we want to take the opportunity to experiment with new formats, such as the web series created together with La scienza forcibly on the theme of scientific environmentalism or the performance My grandfather didn't throw anything away on the theme of the circular economy. Finally, the online appointments that have not been conceived as a virtual translation of the lack of physical experience, but real journeys in time and space. For example, the visit to the headquarters of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology has become the online event “Terrae motus” a scientific and architectural journey through the history of the earthquakes in Rome.

Genius loci. Dove abita il genio
16 July to 2 August 2020
Realized by:
Open City Roma
Laura Calderoni
Rome, Italy

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