Ballade of Women is an interactive installation that explores perspectives on women’s rights. Through the lens of the personal experience of three women, the exhibition offers an interactive narration on three fundamental themes: emancipation, self-determination and violence. The starting points of the exhibition are three paintings of the private collection of the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena.
They illustrate three historical characters: Cleopatra (by Marco Pino, XVI century) who supports the theme of emancipation, Maria Maddalena (by Rutilio Manetti, XVII century) who embodies the theme of self-determination, and Lucia from Siracusa (by Maestro dell’Osservanza, XV century) who recalls the them of violence. The installation is a dynamic space constituted by floating and mobile fragments, whose behaviour is influenced by the physical presence of the observer as well as by the virtual presence of online discussion groups debating the themes of the exhibition. When the screens are positioned in a fragmented way, they display media coming from online groups, discussing issues addressed in the exhibition. Software continuously monitors news related to the treated themes and how these are addressed through posts and online discussions. The number of threads created from the internet is an input for the installation and influences the speed of movements and informative content. The soundscape allows the viewer to pick up fragments of the play of a selection of poems, related to the three themes. Verses are whispered and vanish, immediately after being heard. The dynamics of the fragments redefines the contours of the three paintings from specific viewpoints in the space. The experience suggests that each of us can contribute to compose a harmonious picture of the complex and controversial world of women's rights, by approaching it, and by being confronted with points of view of other people, facing the same topics from different perspectives all over the world. Our presence and our ideas can change the world.