Museo Novecento
Florence, 2015
Alfredo Pirri and Alvin Curran
performance and installation
within the festival “Firenze suona Contemporanea”
curated by Andrea Cavallari and Maria Gloria Conti Bicocchi
produced by Eduardo Secci Contemporary and Il Ponte, Florence


The common name of these works – Passi (Steps)– originates from an opera of 2003 at the Certosa di Padula. Since then, they have been realized in numerous places, always important from the historical or artistic point of view or, even better, where the two characteristics were fused in one.   The Museo Novecento in Florence is one of these sites, where historic characteristics are combined with the typical traits Florence has always had and still has in the world collective imagination. Someway Florence is the city of all the 900s that have crossed the history of mankind, even before the coming of this century. So, this time Passi is set in a place as well as in this magical number, creating a summary of all the 900s of the past together with those that will come. The mirrors breaking into pieces beneath the visitors’ steps, generating the musician and composer Alvin Curran’s sound, this time played live unlike the others, don’t occupy the whole space available, but only its “built” parts, a square divided in the centre by a cross, this way creating more squares, the flower beds of a harmonious green framed in the dense blue of the sky and the grey of the stone in which the building looking onto the cloister is built. The straight, regular routes break under the weight of the bodies going through them, recreating a painful image of a place and a time that tried to combine logical reasoning with religious and simbolic side. The space of Passi consists of a square inside a cross and a round well at the junction of the two lines/routes, almost a head uniting the two figures, a crucifixion inside a square, a perfect synthesis between humanism and faith, a unity that the work tries to highlight so as to be able to criticize it and take it to pieces. That is to say: art is no longer (or not yet) a mirror of the world, rather it’s its representation and (acoustic) transformation.


For the first time, thanks to Alvin Curran’s live contribution, the acoustic character that this work has always had in everybody’s imagination is more emphasized. This aspect has always had an important role, undoubtedly neglected till today as mainly considered a comment on the image rather than inherent to the work itself. On the contrary, this time Passi becomes sort of a musical instrument set inside the architectural space. Everyone is invited to “play” this instrument, with his mere presence and his movements in space.