Since the early 1970s Franco Mazzucchelli has created environmental installations, in which inflatable volumes of joined sheets of polyethylene are made walkable and livable. These installations are called Sostituzioni (substitutions) or Riappropriazioni (re-appropriations), depending on whether they are mounted in private interiors or outdoors. Both the Substitutions and the Re-appropriations are intended to disrupt the perception of a familiar place, be it a domestic environment or an urban fragment, and to open a gateway from daily routine by suggesting an unfamiliar view of the surrounding space. In the case of Re-appropriations, this attempt brackets out and isolates a portion of public space and exhorts people to take over that space and redefine it – ultimately, to rediscover the potential of public space to solicit spontaneous socialization, in which human encounters are freed of hierarchy, and class, gender and ethnic differences become effaced. The re-appropriations produce the occasion for people to regard their own local community and the build environment with genuine curiosity.
The installation Franco Mazzucchelli has created for Converso, although it is mounted in an interior space, falls within the “category” of the re-appropriations. Not only does it inaugurate the program of a new exhibition space, encouraging the transformation of a public space with its own layered history of functions, but it opens a social space, or a platform alien to the authority of the social time that “out there” instead administers society. With this re-appropriation we therefore abandon any providential design associated with the space of the church, embracing instead a policy of horizontality and concreteness.