The Florence Experiment: man, nature and science

Jul 02, 2018 admin

Man and the plant world protagonists of the extraordinary event conceived by artist Carsten Holler and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso at Palazzo Strozzi

Höller’s symmetrical slides connect the open gallery to the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi

The relationship between human beings and plants is the focus of the great collective experiment The Florence Experimentinvolving, until August 26th, 2018, the façade and courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi ( and the center for contemporary culture Strozzina (, and asking its visitors to actively participate.

Two monumental, around 20 m high, symmetrical slides connect the open gallery on the second floor to the courtyard; the space / laboratory set up in the Strozzina is directly linked to the façade of the Palazzo to show the effects of human emotions on the growth of plants. The experiment consists of two different parts: visitors are invited to slide down with a bean plant; the photosynthetic parameters and molecules emitted as a reaction to the descent and the proximity to a person that has had the same experience are analyzed by the team of scientists in the laboratory of the Strozzina.

The laboratory of the Strozzina

The laboratory also houses two cinema theatres, one screening scenes from horror films, the other excerpts from comedies. The audience’s reactions of fear or amusement produce different volatile chemical compounds that, through two suction pipes, are directly carried onto the façade of Palazzo Strozzi, influencing the growth of Wisteria vines arranged on big Y-shaped wires, creating a sort of plant graph that illustrates the interaction between human emotions and plant behavior

Cinema screening horror films

The outcomes of the project – resulting from the collaboration between artist Carsten Höller and plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, the author of Plant revolution – are not known yet but the experiment aims to create a new awareness of the interaction between human beings and plants, leading to the definition of concepts such as the consciousness, sensitivity, communicative and emotional abilities of all living beings through the redefinition of the relationship between man and nature.

Wisteria vines on the façade of Palazzo Strozzi

The exhibition, curated by Arturo Galansino, is promoted and organized by Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi with the support of Comune di Firenze, Camera di Commercio di Firenze, Associazione Partners Palazzo Strozzi, Regione Toscana, with the contribution of Fondazione CR Firenze. [Text Chiara Sgreccia – Photo Martino Margheri – Render Michele Giuseppe Onali]