Federica Di Carlo “We Lost the Sea” at Arsenale Marina Regia, Palermo

We lost the sea


At the Arsenale Marina Regia in Palermo, the installation by Federica Di Carlo stages the breath of the Earth. A game of subtle and charming balances for a reflection on the current climate situation.

A great environmental installation that stages the breath of the Earth through its fundamentals elements: sea, light, and atmosphere. We lost the sea by Federica Di Carlo (Rome, 1984) is  an immersive-perceptive artwork that, through a game of subtle and charming balances, invites us to reflect on the current climate situation.

The installation, hosted at the Arsenal of the Royal Navy of Palermo, is curated by Simona Brunetti, promoted by the Sicilian Superintendence of the Sea of  Palermo with the Mondo Digitale Foundation and produced by Snaporazverein under the patronage of Palermo Italian Capital of Culture 2018.

Opening on Monday June 18that 6pm  the ancient “Fabrica della Real Marina”, which has been for centuries an important crossroads of exchanges and relations between populations, will be transformed into a timeless space through which the dynamic process of water, air and light that keeps the Earth alive can be observed. Through a single access road, a real ten-meter pier built inside the Arsenal’s semi-dark room, visitors – in a maximum number of 15 at a time – will enter into an “other world” where big silver kites, representation of wind and atmosphere, float in space at several meters high, creating a constantly moving reflection of light in the environment, similar to sea waves.

The sea, that is also represented and kept in large tanks, where the artist will actually pour the water of Palermo’s sea, a visual and cultural symbol of the local ecological situation. Usually placed on the roofs of the city, the tanks collecting rainwater guarantee survival in case of emergency during daily life.

“The subtle balance that holds these elements together, each of which carries in itself complex natural and cultural universes, is the same that keeps Earth alive since the dawn of time and is based on an elementary physical law: the amount of water which evaporates must be almost the same of that which returns to Earth in the form of rainfall”, explains the curator Simona Brunetti. Therefore, the element of water carries a strong cultural and ecological symbolism. Actually the exhibition becomes a jumble of individual stories and a crossroads of cultures, rising to the universal metaphor of water of the whole Earth, the one that, as in scientific literature, freed itself from the primordial magma following an evaporation process, covering the whole globe. This process made life on the planet possible millions of years ago and it is still decisive in order to guarantee its maintenance today.

As this very delicate system risks to be strongly compromised by global warming, it has been studied by scientists for years but it is also a topic that has long been examined at the level of politics and international cultural debate.

The artwork is part of a series of reflections on the current climate situation, generated by personal research that Federica Di Carlo has carried out in recent years in collaboration with the physicists of various scientific department such as: MIT (Boston), CERN (Geneva), INAF (Rome/Milan).

We lost the sea stresses this theme, analysing it from a scientific and ecological point of view, but also transposing it onto a cultural level. Mixing a “scientific” level and a “poetic” one, the work of Federica Di Carlo plays at the same time on the double front of participation and fruition of the artwork by the territory.

It is not a coincidence that the Arsenal of the Royal Navy has been identified as an ideal space to host the installation: a border area of excellence, under which the sea of Palermo still flows today, becomes a symbol of those “interference’s areas” and those liminal territories on which the artist’s research its focuses.


Federica Di Carlo
We lost the sea

Curated by Simona Brunetti
18 June–15 September 2018

Arsenale Marina Regia | Via dell’Arsenale 142, Palermo
Free entry / only 15 visitors can enter at the time—minors must be accompanied
Monday 18 June, 10am–9pm
From 19 June 2018: Mon, Tue, Thur, 8am–5 pm; Wed 8am–6:30pm; Fri 8am—3pm