Atoll - Totipotent Architecture
Materials: Canopy: Inox steel. Platform: concrete, aluminium moulds, natural stone, LED lighting
Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 19 metres
Exhibition history: Corso Tazzoli Park, Mirafiori Nord, Turin, Italy
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta, Fondazione Olivetti and a.titolo, Italy
"Atoll" is a large walk-in sculpture designed as a space for social interaction amongst the youn people who frequewnt the Mirafiori park in the city of Turin. This is the first public work in the series Totipotent Architecture and was conceived in response to the desires expressed by a group of commissioners made up of students from two neighboring highschools – a place to meet, relax, read and chat –. The commissioning of this work was initiated in 2003 through the New Patrons program of the Fondation de France, with a discussion among the high-school students, which was mediated by the curators a.titolo on themes for public spaces dedicated to the needs of young people.
The result is a organic habitable sculpture with a smooth cement base on three levels and open canape of hand rolled steel tubing. The sinuous and curvilinear shape of the base resembles the organic form of a cell, recalled in the work’s title with its direct reference to the totipotent cell, the stem cell, the unit of unlimited potential that presides over the construction of an entire organism. Following from this potentiality are the imprints of parts of the commissioners’ bodies, casts made of aluminum and impressed on the sculpture’s three cement platforms. Hands, shoes, backs and buttocks form a series of intertwining figures encrusted into the cement surface, inviting those who enter the sculpture to arrange themselves in positions that encourage interrelation and connectivity, so common in the work of Lucy + Jorge Orta.