Thinking the Unthinkable, the exhibition of Donato Piccolo, curated by Isabella Indolfi, that was recently presented at the Youth Education Center in St Petersburg’s State Hermitage Museum, is the latest chapter of a research project that is continuously evolving. The work in this exhibition is increasingly interwoven with an interdisciplinary curiosity that takes Piccolo beyond the boundaries of art and science aided not only by his technique, but also by his great talent for design – a combination that has often lead people to nominate him as the Leonardo of our times.
This time Piccolo has attempted, through his work, to ‘think the impossible, thinking the unthinkable, which is the title of the exhibition that inaugurated the new space at the State Hermitage Museum dedicated to contemporary experiments which are also in conversation with academia through the creation of experimental educational and cultural programmes.
“Thinking the unthinkable” – as curator Isabella Indolfi explains in the press release – is a metaphor, an experiment that tests the limits and possibilities of man, an enquiry into the cognitive features that modify reality and prevent us from distinguishing between what we see and what is real. “Thinking the unthinkable” is a moving installation project that plays with principles of physics, electronics, dynamics and electromagnetics and applies them to a system of thought where the machine has meaning only as the human spirit’s pure abstraction.
This places man, once again, at the centre of a reflection on artificial intelligence. Prostheses, celibate objects and other various forms are part of a single dynamic “body”, dismembered and lost between the lines dividing art and science, which could change our ideas about the relationship between subject and object. This work will look at us and speak to us, recounting a story of a world turned upside down:
“All that we cannot understand is in our minds / All that we cannot see is inside our eyes / All that we cannot imagine is our future”.
The project “Thinking the unthinkable”, curated by Isabella Indolfi, has been included in a wide-ranging international promotional programme in conjunction with important art events such as the Cyfest in St Petersburg (Russia) and New York (USA), the Media Art Festival in Rome (Italy) and the NEON Festival in Dundee (UK).
images (all): Donato Piccolo, «Thinking the Unthinkable», curated by Isabella Indolfi, Youth Education Center dello State Hermitage Museum, San Pietroburgo, 2017, exhibition view