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This is an art installation OPEN designed for the “Soul of City” Exhibition at Marmomac 2017, which invited designers from seven different countries to collaborate with some of Italy’s finest stone manufacturers and interpret their own understanding of the given theme, using a single building material – natural stone. The exhibition would only last four days, and stone is a rather heavy building material. Balancing the transience and the heaviness, OPEN designed the installation such that it would gradually “disappear” over the course of the exhibition.

To OPEN, the Soul of City lies in eternity, time, sharing, memory, and collectivity. A giant block of limestone measuring 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m was sliced into 8000 small cubes of 7.5cm x 7.5cm x 7.5cm each; every micro cube was thereupon engraved with the words “Soul of City”, as well as a serial number from 1/8000 to 8000/8000. Each micro cube was totally unique, with its own memory and texture from the ancient time of its formation, as well as its newly assigned serial number; yet joining together, they form a larger collective whole. Every visitor to the exhibition was invited to take away a small fragment of the giant, originally perfect stone cube. The micro cubes are thus individualized and yet forever linked by the memory of this exhibition, wherever in the world they might have gone. As the micro cubes were taken away, the geometric form of the installation continued to change, from the initial large cube to the ever changing silhouettes much like morphing city skylines; meanwhile, visitors became performers, their actions contributing to the art work, all recorded by time-lapse cameras set up around the cube.

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