Ballade of Women, an interactive installation exploring perspectives on women’s rights, was hosted by Palazzo Sansedoni in Siena, as result of an international collaboration between the University of Siena, Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
The title, which in full says “Ballade of Women – as woman is not sky, she is earth, flesh of earth that wants no war”, quotes a verse by Edoardo Sanguineti of one of the poems that constitute the soundscape of the installation.
Through the lens of the personal experience of three women, the exhibition offered an interactive narration on three fundamental themes: emancipation, self-determination and violence.
Starting points of the exhibition were three paintings of the private collection of the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena. They illustrate three historical characters: Cleopatra (by Marco Pino, XVI century) who supports the theme of emancipation, Maria Maddalena (by Rutilio Manetti, XVII century) who embodies the theme of self-determination and Lucia from Siracusa (by Maestro dell’Osservanza, XV century) who recalls the theme of violence.
The installation is a dynamic space constituted by floating and mobile fragments, whose behaviour is influenced by the physical presence of the observer as well as by the virtual presence of online discussion groups debating the themes of the exhibition. The dynamics of the fragments redefines the contours of the three paintings from specific viewpoints in the space.
The experience suggests that each of us can contribute to compose a harmonious picture of the complex and controversial world of women’s rights, by approaching it and by being confronted with points of view of other people, facing the same topics from different perspectives all over the world. Our presence and our ideas can change the world.