Francesco Jodice. Babel

curated by Radmila Iva Jankovic, Adriana Rispoli, Eugenio Viola
Museum of Contemporary Art of Zagreb

23.11.11 | 03.12.11

From 23 November to 3 December, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) in Zagreb is presenting Babel, a project by the Italian artist Francesco Jodice.
The project is realised through a collaboration between the MSU and the MADRE Museum of Naples, with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Zagreb, City Office for Education, Culture and Sport of the City of Zagreb, and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia.
As part of the above mentioned collaborative project, the MADRE museum will host the exhibition of the Croatian artists Andreja Kulun?i?, from 19 December 2011 to 7 February 2012,

Babel will transform the large digital facade of the Zagreb Museum into an open-space blog, a social interface which will enable its citizens to publicly express their intentions, strategies, views and disagreements.

Babel is a project using 400 square meters of the LED facade as a means for training democracy. The project’s name, Babel (the Tower of Babel, confusion, Hebrew – babel), was taken from the Bible (Genesis, 11th Chapter), marking the place where the Lord scattered the builders of the Tower of Babel around the world and mixed their languages. However, in this new context, as a work of art located on the facade of the Museum of Contemporary Art, it is supposed to have the opposite meaning – to connect conflicting sides and inspire dialogue.

The blog is activated through a series of diverse access mechanisms (e-mail:, blog, Facebook profile Babel Zagreb, text messages at 099 8495532, snail mail at MSU address) that serve to gather the citizens’ opinions on a variety of issues that concern them. The digital facade thus becomes a temporary mirror, a barometer of public opinion and mood, because during these 10 days it will broadcast the flow of the discussion, as if it were a news agency.
By using social networks’ viral opportunities and instrumentalising the anarchist nature of blogs, Francesco Jodice adapts the spatial and temporal dimension of such communication channel into an art project with the intention of recording the standpoints and entropic forces of the city – in real time and on a large scale. Jodice has always questioned the metropolises in an almost entomological manner, focusing his work on the analysis of new relationships between social behaviour and urban landscape on different geographical locations.

Gorgona screening room, 6:30pm – 8pm
On 23 November 2011, in Gorgona screening room, at 6:30pm, curators Adriana Rispoli and Eugenio Viola will present Francesco Jodice’s work. Afterwards, his documentary film Dubai from the Citytellers series will be screened. This series explores new socio-political connotations of cities and urban communities, irreversibly struck by modernity and pushed towards a quest for new models that will enable their survival. The topic of Dubai_Citytellers (HD, 57’45’’, 2009) is the most famous case of contemporary neo-urban design. A metropolis envisaged and built as a desert cathedral, which experienced a brief unbearable economic development and then fell into a deep crisis. The images portray the ambivalence of such atmosphere: on one hand a camel race that exploits and tortures child jockeys, today replaced by humanoid robots, on the other a so-called new slavery, to which thousands of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers are forced. The film is a result of a systematic study and collaboration with architects, urban planners and anthropologists.

Special thanks:
Italian Institute of Culture in Zagreb
City Office for Education, Culture and Sport of the City of Zagreb
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
Project assistants: Simone Santilli (Studio Jodice) and Vladimir Tatomir (MSU)
Project visual identity: Silvia Sarvese

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