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Viral Human


Viral Human

Viral human consists of a sound journey through the historic buildings of the Serenissima, protagonists of the Venetian chronicle during the plague epidemic of 1575-77 and the chronicle of the COVID-19 pandemic; the journey takes place through an app designed to guarantee an immersive and interactive listening experience.

The plague epidemic that affects Venice in those years is described in precious documents made known by Paolo Preto in “Peste e societa a Venezia nel 1576” among which appear “I Novi Avisi di Venetia” dedicated by the notary Rocco Benedetti to the Venetian nobleman Giacomo Foscarini.
Benedetti describes the evolution of the plague by reporting the requests that the Great Council of the Republic of Venice had addressed to the doctors of the Studio of Padua, whose response was reassuring at the beginning, but contradictory later. As the disease progresses, the notary has before his eyes a disastrous situation: the streets and deserted fields, the immense effort made by the Lazzaretti, the explosion of social diversity. Benedetti’s words give us a valuable testimony on the measures taken by the magistrates of the Republic to keep the infected people away from each other; to isolate the affected areas, to bury the infected bodies.
Through a series of political, religious and social events, the Republic of Venice reveals far-sighted interventions in the management of the plague of 1575-77, but also a solid religiosity; which begins with the Doge’s invitation to penance and faith and ends with thanksgiving for the Grace received, through the construction of the “Basilica del Redentore.”

The visit itinerary unfolds as a treasure hunt: a navigation guided not only by the coordinates of a geolocated map, which outlines on the islands the path to follow, but also by mysterious characters including the “Speziali”, the “Medici” (the vultures), the “pizzigamorti”. These characters will accompany the visitor in a late Renaissance Venice struggling with deep issues such as faith, health, death.

Thanks to the help of 3D audio technologies, the visitor enters into the narrative technique of the monologue, focusing on sound, listening and, at the same time, triggering multidimensional artistic experiences and new interpretations of reality. In addition, the voices of two ages compared are enriched by the intimate testimonies of 40 people from Asia, America, Africa and Europe through 90 seconds of audio recording.


Viral Human is an artistic installation that exploits the immersive reality in order to develop a visit path and a hybrid exhibition space, halfway between the physical and the virtual.
We often talk about the relationship between individual and urban space, without taking into account that this space has given up that physicality of the analogical era in line with industry 2.0.
We live in the continuous interaction between virtual and material reality, where communications technology has made the online experience indistinguishable from the offline one; where human and machine are perfectly integrated with the surrounding environment.
Since the boundaries of the physical universe with the digital one are becoming more and more liquid, space has also changed, structured in that infosphere contaminated by the fusion of the metaverse with real space.
If art has the power to shape reality, it is necessary that it poses itself as the “generator” of new models, production paradigms and art experiences. The urban context, that is the backdrop to the digital artistic intervention Viral Human, is the city of Venice.
It can be accessed both physically and virtually, through an app that works like a “time capsule” traveling between two historical eras: the plague epidemic in Venice of 1575-77 and Covid-19 in Italy.
It has been interesting to observe how this pandemic generated a significant response of global magnitude, accompanying the world within flows of consciousness, epistolary love stories, solidarity, music and works of art.
It was during the night of June 25, 1575 that Venice experienced the first plague infection. The night, standing between the finished day and the tomorrow that will come, turns into a moment of transition, a metaphor for long inner journeys. Viral Human is precisely this: the invitation to walk on an area of 7.6 square kilometers full of artists involved in existential, political, social questions, but also dreams, hopes, utopias.


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