CASA is Gaetano Foti’s blog, made to share with intellectuals from different areas, an original and plural idea of the modernity in Mediterranean Europe.

2010_ NEMO (β).

The documentary movie of NEMO’s first experimental missions in the deep sea south-east of Portopalo (Sicily). The NEutrino Mediterranean Observatory is an on-going research and development program, implemented by the INFN-LNS (the National Institute of Nuclear Physics Southern Labs) and part of the European project KM3Net, whose final objective is the realization of a gigantic state-of-the-art underwater telescope designed to detect cosmic neutrinos.

Federico Baronello, publicity still from ‘NEMO_β’, 2009/10. HD movie 1080p30, 32′.

Apart from the merit of focusing on a central issue of modern astronomy, it is highly interesting to see Federico Baronello’s movie as a kind of artwork in the context of a region, namely Sicily, where art and culture are largely understood as products whose main function would be to distract the audience from the exertions of work.


2004/09_ La Città della Scienza (Science Museum).

Appointed by the University of Catania to direct the construction of the city’s science museum, Gaetano Foti set out to highlight artistic research within a more traditional exhibition space with an educational purpose, seen as a crucial factor for a change in culture, often in close connection with the technological progress that increasingly affects modern society.

Consequently, La Città della Scienza prompted an intense production activity with visual and sound artists, producing original works often designed for, and inspired by, the museum site location, a 19th century former sulphur refinery situated right in the centre of Catania, the city at the foot of the highest active volcano in Europe, Mount Etna.

Here is a list of the most indicative productions. Please double-click the related link for more information on a specific work or artist.

Paolo ParisiObservatorium (Valle del Bove)

Paolo Parisi, ‘Observatorium (Valle del Bove)’, 2004/2006. Emptyed stack of corrugated cardboard, cm 260x260x265; hydraulic PVC pipes, sound system and audio files, dimensions variable. Sound composition in collaboration with: Domenico Vicinanza, Cern, Genf. Installation view, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München, 2006. Photo Courtesy, the author, Florence; Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München; Galleria collicaligreggi, Catania.

Observatorium […] was made up of layers of cardboard sheets forming a perfect cube on the outer surface, while inside they were frayed in an irregular way until creating cracks that become telescopes and devices through which one may observe the outside…” [from Lorenzo Bruni, interview to “Paolo Parisi. Punto di vista fisico”, Flash Art Italia n.279]

Federico BaronelloBdA779377988867834007647926086187638606…

Federico Baronello, ‘BdA7793…’, 2008. Eight Lambda prints on Kodak metal paper, on Dibond panels with aluminium frames and TrueVue AR glass. Each cm.120×80. Installation total dimension cm.240×320. Installation view, galleria gianluca collica, Catania 2009. Photo courtesy: the author, Catania; galleria collicaligreggi, Catania.

«BdA7793… is an installation made up of eight Lambda prints panels, each one is the combination of two photographs. This combination of two creates a reciprocal relationship[…]»

[From the interview with Helmut Friedel after the work’s acquisition by the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, München, Oct. 2009]

Stefano Zorzanello, Kronophone.

Sound map of La Città della Scienza, courtesy Stefano Zorzanello.

The Kronophone, an invented word from the Greek “Kronos” (Time) and “Phone” (sound, voice) or “Sound of Time”, is a sound installation, interactive and permanent, conceived by the composer and sound designer Stefano Zorzanello, with the cooperation of Nicola Zonca (Arki Studio, Bologna) and the composer Albert Mayr, whose purpose is to create a sound environment and “time sound-phores”, designed to guide the visitor throughout the duration of his visit to La Città della Scienza.

Here below is a sample of the main sound of the ‘Dies Harmonica’, electronic counterpart of the Albert Mayr masterpiece and part of the four levels that form the sound installation.

2005_ Etna Volcano Sonification.

Have you ever heard a volcano playing on a piano?

Etna seismograms sonified with MIDI mapping. Courtesy Domenico Vicinanza.

The Etna Volcano Sonification is the first project produced as a result of the support Gaetano Foti has given to realising an original mix between art and science. This in order to disseminate and promote those research activities within the scientific labs of the University, also connected to a medium size, though competitive, industrial sector that has developed in Catania, just south of the highest active volcano in Europe.

Domenico Vicinanza may most likely define himself more a scientist than an artist. However, the experiment carried out by the network engineer and researcher, in collaboration with the INFN-Grid in Catania, presented rather surprising musical outcomes. Fascinated by the wealth of information coming from nature, Vicinanza worked on the introduction of the sonification of seismic signals, coming from the Etna volcano, as a scientific as well as expressive tool.

2004_ Crossing Sound Performance.

In May 2004, the organisation Zerynthia organised the artistic event Crossing Sound, a sound transmission between artists and intellectuals and between geographical and metaphorical boundaries. In key locations such as Gorizia, Berlin, Catania / Malta and Tel Aviv, points of transmission and reception of radio waves were activated.

Gaetano Foti, Sergio Taccone and Gianluca Collica presented Sea Wall, in connection with Deborah Xuareb of the Malta Independent newspaper. Technically, Sea Wall is a piece of music carried out by computer processing the sound made by the sea waves between two border points of the Sicilian Channel, Capopassero (Italy) and S. Elmo (Malta).

2003_ Visible and Invisible.

Contact with artists may suggest new points of view.

Along with the art dealer Gianluca Collica, Gaetano Foti has organized a panel with the British physicist John March Russell. The lecture held at the Diocesan Museum of Catania presented the CERN project Signature of the Invisible. There Russell was among the most involved scientists working closely with a broad selection of world-renowned artists to produce works of art inspired by research in physics on Particles and Antimatter and to render visible that frontier in which even scientific hypotheses, prior to their demonstration, belong to the field of creative intuition.

John M. Russel illustrates Paola Pivi project elaborated at CERN.

2002_ Portopalo, Kassel.

«Not one individual, nor the crew of a boat, but an entire community has made a tacit agreement to ignore those corpses washed ashore […] must they not have done the same, those farmers who, seeing the trains going to Treblinka or Auschwitz, continued doing their work quietly, when they weren’t stopping to make derisive gestures alluding to the next elimination of the convoy’s load? Do not eat fish from Portopalo because it feeds on human flesh!» (From CNN Italy: The evidence of the sinking)

Documenta XI seminar, 13th September 2002. Panelists: Stefano Boeri, Carmelo Causale, Anna Detheridge, Sarat Maharaj, Yehuda Safran.

It was the urgent need prompted by a real controversy which led the Sicilian physicist Gaetano Foti to participate in a roundtable organized by Documenta XI, focusing on the dramatic events that occurred in Portopalo, a Sicilian fishing village further south in latitude than Tunis. From that point on, a genuine curiosity for contemporary art has led Gaetano Foti to build a unique relationship between science and R&D with the world of education and visual culture.

Prof. Foti with art critic Yehuda Safran and architect Stefano Boeri at Documenta XI, Kassel.