Un carato


Sculpture and Installation


Simone Cametti



The project

Gold is the iconic symbol for royalty, wellness and wealth, a “value of preciousness” ascribed by men as the foundation of our society. However, the true preciousness of this mineral is actually its natural essence. The “House of memories” was supposed to be the museum of San Lorenzo, treasure chest where to keep photographs, stories and cultural itineraries of the anti-fascist history of the district. On two occasions at least, in 2004 and 2009, construction sites were built around that concrete wreck to renovate it, but they never really started. This project aims at establishing the importance of a space as a landmark of the district to make it a true cultural centre of Rome. In San Lorenzo, every building speaks and has something to tell about that bombing happened 70 years ago. This is why I focus on the appreciation of that crumbling building, on its history, on the redefinition of that site to give new life force to the whole. The project I propose you is an idea coming from the need to deepen the connection with a forgotten past, by exploring all the different solutions and turn the potentiality into reality. The exterior structure won’t be altered: the same building abandoned in 2004 will still be visible with its exposed concrete and its support beam to keep from delete those characteristics that need to remain unshaken in the collective memory. Thus the project aims at giving new life to the museum without modifying its structure, whose potential can be perceived in its skeleton made of innocent pipes and in the absence of some proper covering, where the entrances on the ground floor – that have been blocked to prevent the building to become a receptacle for drug dealers and drug addicts – could make an excuse to imagine a new entrance on the second floor.

When I look at that place, I see a museum under the stars developing, unstable but existing, right there in San Lorenzo, a crude but real Roman district. This is why I want to call my project “un carato”. “Un carato” is a term that originates from the seed of a plant and then becomes unit of measure for gemstones and gold. My aim is to give a chance to that place too, to that abandoned box, to become “un carato”, a carat, a precious space, an actual cultural centre and contemporary art hub.

This redevelopment project examines the structures built with innocent pipes already there which now serve as tie rods for securing the walls. These structures put the basis to think the idea of an intelligent and low-cost redevelopment. This branching pipes will be transformed and designed in the inside like a walkway. Thus it will be a window on the second floor, on the back facade of the building and accessible by stairs, the only entrance open 24 hours a day and therefore the only entrance to the walkway and the exhibition. Once the space will be redeveloped, it will be available for collective or personal exhibitions, through calls for applications or on selection on the basis of a calendar of events.

The most promising projects made by emerging artists and students of Fine Arts Academies in Italy will be selected. The selection process will be held by a commission of external experts that will examine every single project. The uniqueness of the place will attract the attention of the artist, whose work will be based on the importance of the surroundings and the usability of the artwork, only discernible from top to bottom. This is how an interaction with the space itself will be created, thus establishing “site specific” artworks in all respects. Only on the occasion of the installation of the artworks, a passage on the ground floor will be opened – a passage that already exists on the front facade and that overlooks the strada Tiburtina – in order to facilitate the transition of the artworks and their installation. However, once the installation is completed, the passage will be closed again.