A huge mountain of sand illuminated by green LED light welcomes the viewers of Pamela Rosenkranz’s installation in the Cisterna’s spaces at Fondazione Prada. “Infection”, the second chapter of the project Slight Agitation curated by the Fondazione Prada Thought Council, emanates a peculiar smell, a fragrance of synthetic cat pheromones, hard to describe in an objective way. In fact, it activates a biologically determined attraction or repulsion, depending on wether the spectator is affected by the toxoplasmosis neuroactive parasite, subconsciously influencing the reaction to the installation.
Matteo Mottin asked some questions to Pamela Rosenkranz —
ATP: Can you tell me about the use of the color green for this piece?
Pamela Rosenkranz: The green color used in the installation at Fondazione Prada is green LED light. LEDs exist in different colors but the ones integrated in projectors and high end lighting equipment just use three differently colored diodes: red, green, and blue (RGB). In a way these three colors are the most basic, purest, and at the same time essential colors for our perception. They can be combined to produce millions of other colors, including white. The emitted light of the diodes cannot be printed nor painted, any transformation into another medium will be an approximation but not a match.
Green color also represents night vision. Amongst other animals cats, besides humans the main actors in this installation, have night vision. The ability to see in daylight and during night time was one reason for some early human cultures to believe that cats are gods that move between the worlds. Exposure to green light can have clinical effects for humans inducing physiological responses and can regulate human chronobiology. It also changes the reception of other colors once the green light is turned off. In the Cisterna with its big windows and the skylight the green color allows to alter the perception of the outside thus making the outside part of the installation.
ATP: The installation is impregnated with a fragrance containing cat pheromones, which activate the response of the spectators infected by the toxoplasmosis parasite. Since 32-70% of the world population is affected by this parasite, with this installation did you mean to address only 3-7 spectators out of 10? Or are also the non-affected spectator going to experience the piece?
PR: If 3 to 7 people out of ten are attracted to the scent this means that the ones not attracted are rather repulsed by it. All reactions of both infected and not infected visitors in this installation are intended. Every single visitor will undergo a different experience, some intuitively, others more rationally after reading the information.
ATP: Why did you decide to focus on the toxoplasmosis parasite?
PR: It is a neuroactive parasite that alters the behavior of its hosts. To what extend the behavioral changes happen is not empirically examined but scientists suggest that besides the intended alterations in behavior (the host approaching the cat) there are many more alterations (involvement in car crashes, attraction to designer clothes, etc.).
Until May 14.