Contemporary Locus 10
former powerhouse of Daste and Spalenga, Bergamo
curated by Paola Tognon
May 28 – July 24 2016


On the occasion of its tenth edition, contemporary locus reopens the former powerhouse of Daste and Spalenga, silent site on the urbanised outskirts of Bergamo, with a site-specific project by artist Alfredo Pirri (1957, lives and works in Rome), known internationally for his large scale interventions and for the innovative relationship between painting, sculpture and space.
Innovation and tradition, intimate dimension and public condition, nourish Pirri’s work and his fertile collaborations with musicians, writers, architects, philosophers and film directors. His environmental interventions in museums, theatres, squares, historical buildings, archaeological sites and urban and natural landscapes tend to the construction of a new poetic and political vision of space, departing from a historical, social and cultural reading of the locations.
This practice is reflected in Passi, a series of environmental interventions playing with mirrors that renovate and amplify the perception of reality through the reflection and fragmentation of space.
This sensitivity and research is applied by the artist to the former powerhouse of Daste and Spalenga. Built in Bergamo in 1927 and active for more than 30 years, it is a highly interesting and suggestive space, an impressive example of industrial archaeology connected to the history and transformations of the territory, in a dialogue between invention, labour and energy.


The site-specific project by Alfredo Pirri, conceived for the former powerhouse of Daste and Spalenga, stimulates the memory of this ‘industrial cathedral’, abandoned in the 1960s. contemporary locus turns it back on – day and night – thanks to Passi, ongoing project that since 2000 has been installed on several occasions, both permanently and temporarily.
This time Pirri gives new life and energy to the large hall of the powerhouse (over 100 square meters overlooked by an immense bridge crane) thanks to the composition of three actions that integrate the experience of the piece with new technologies, making it a complex experimentation.
The vast floor of the powerhouse is transformed into a lake where the surface of mirrors, cracking under the steps of the visitors, multiplies the perception of reality, giving back a spatiality that is simultaneously dilated and complex, personal and collective.
The daylight that with variable intensity penetrates every day in the powerhouse and is diffused across the tall spaces of the structure, is recorded in real time and given back at nighttime. Every night, the building is transformed into a lantern: every hour, for 6 minutes, a lighting system synthesises and diffuses the light recorded during the day.
An app, available for download at the entrance of the powerhouse (Your Steps), through a system of recording of movements and a special algorithm, makes visible the trajectories of the visitors across the reflective surface: a personal participation to the work ‘in the making’ which, like in a constellation, becomes part of their memory.

A video will be projected on the occasion of the opening: curated by Lab 80 Bergamo and directed by Sergio Visinoni it interprets the condition of decline of the powerhouse of Daste and Spalenga before its renovation.