Science Lasagna at Ristorante Belvedere

Ristorante Belvedere is an unpretentious restaurant, but rather unconventional. Its main specialty, indeed, is science. Used here as the metaphorical setting for my trip, Ristorante Belvedere is also the name of both a podcast and of an object, a showcase, that will host the memories and the experiences collected in my travels.

 

Scientific discoveries, like any other product of our society, are represented here by the different dishes on the menu. Scientists are embodied by the chefs, who work in their private environment, dominated by skill, rigor, and cleanliness. Their great expertise allows them to study the shapes, textures, and flavors of the ingredients and to combine them in the best recipes. The customers are all of us, who benefit from scientific results and their applications.

In a physical travel between New York and Boston, I will follow this metaphorical meal as a course between two main topics:

 

  • One: As if the guests were allowed to walk into the kitchen and offer their help to the chefs, would it be possible to make science a more participatory process? I will meet people of the Citizen Science movement, which nowadays fosters more and more scientific “bottom-up” activities, led by mixed groups of both citizens and academics. These initiatives strongly support the idea that many people can contribute to scientific progress.
 
  • Two: What makes a dish unique? Be it a pasta, a roast or a cheesecake, chefs know how to make it. Food provides us nourishment in the form of calories, but a mere absorption of energy cannot replace the full experience of a dish, of the taste of a homemade lasagna for instance! Just like a lasagna, science also has the potential to move both memories and emotions. I am then curious to investigate how seemingly dry scientific concepts and data can be alternatively experienced: not just seen, but also touched, heard or smelled. Can their memory and meaning be thus enriched? And can a creative effort both help season academic research and provide citizens with palatable scientific nourishment?

Visiting well-known academic and artistic institutions in New York and Boston, my real destinations will be scientists and creatives with their experiences. I will invite them to bite-sized interviews that will be collected online in a podcast.

To any of the participants, I will propose also a collaborative project aimed to concretely interlace art and science.  As said, Ristorante Belvedere is also a showcase made of wood, plexiglass and removable wheels currently located in Alessio Moitre art gallery in Turin, in Italy.

 

 

From the name itself, Ristorante Belvedere connects to the metaphor here proposed. Ristorante Belvedere is a restaurant, definitely unpretentious! It is small, but accessible and rather welcoming. A normal place for normal people, with big windows; maybe not very far from prying eyes.

Like dishes in a restaurant, inside this showcase will be served artistic works, more or less directly inspired by scientific data and concepts collected during my travel. With Ristorante Belvedere I am setting the goal to trigger a reflection, or sequence, even short, of thoughts, able to attract observer’s attention on a science-related subject.

Scientific concepts will be served in small portions, but colorful and yummy, that any kid would like. They will be various, not necessarily complex, but necessarily enjoyable. Scientific data will then become tangible: sometimes soft, sometimes noisy, sometimes blinding. The showcase will be located in public spaces, and installations will be as more interactive as possible.

I cannot realize this project just by myself: besides the collaboration with Galleria Moitre, during my travel I will look for designers, artists and researchers who like the idea and would like to participate actively.

Here is a more schematic description of my project.

 

Any support is totally appreciated. If you wish to help me, follow this link! Please note that unfortunately, page widgets are in Italian (see here below the translation of widgets in English). I own you a piece of lasagna!

 

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Please do not publish my name: I prefer to keep it secret.