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Carsten Höller’s new installation will give visitors a plant to take with them on the slide


Carsten Höller: The Florence Experiment

Artist and world famous slide maker Carsten Höller has revealed his next installation The Florence Experiment will be a collaboration with plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso. Featuring two intertwining tube slides through the opulent Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy, the installation invites visitors to enjoy the slide while holding a plant, which will then be tested for how the person’s emotions have affected its molecular structure.

Billed as “a project to explore the relationship between plants and humans,” the artwork / science experiment aims to measure and analyse the impact of human emotion on plant growth. Visitors will be handed the plant before they board the slide, and after the 20-metre spiral downwards will hand it over to a laboratory, who will explore how the human’s experience affected its photosynthetic parameters and molecules.

There will also be two cinemas in the basement of the Florence palazzo, one screening scenes from famous comedies and the other from horror films. The expectation is that audiences’ contrasting reactions will produce different volatile chemical compounds, which will travel through a system of pipes and tubes to the building’s facade. Outside, the impact of these compounds on the growth of Wisteria plant vines will “become increasingly apparent over the summer months,” says the curator Arturo Galansino. The impact of the public’s fear or amusement is expected to visibly influence the direction in which the plants grow, creating a plant graph illustrating the interaction between human emotions and plant behaviour.

“Palazzo Strozzi will become a site of real contemporary experimentation and reflection,” Arturo states, “turning an architectural Renaissance masterpiece into a workshop of dialogue between art and science.”

The Florence Experiment opens from 19 April – 26 August 2018.