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Earlier this month, the designer Gio Tirotto’s public installation 208 debuted near Rimini’s Roman Tiberius Bridge in Italy. Commissioned by the Laboratoria Aperto and The Rimini Municipality – Department of Culture and curated by Maria Cristina Didero, the work (on view through the end of January 2021) presents itself as a light installation floating under the picturesque bridge, proposing a simple message of unity.
"The goal of each of my projects is the construction of a message,” said Tirotto. “It doesn't matter which one, but it must never be missing. I believe that the designer is like a bridge made of form, details and function, which unites an initial idea to a final message.”
Named 208 after the number of nations in the world*, the work is comprised of a series of small white buoys, with one representing each. Drifting together in one body of water—sometimes near, sometimes apart—Tirotto’s installation simultaneously represents our world and its fragile state, while reminding us of the resilience and togetherness we can show when the need arises.
And behind the silent, reflective moment that comes with experiencing 208, the metaphor dives further than the surface. In a parallel between the physical objects and the nations they represent, each buoy, while independent, is linked to the rest. Reacting to one another as well as external stimuli, the buoys absorb light during daytime, and after dark they emit it, dependent on one another and external stimuli.
Whether you’re in the city seeing 208 in-person, or enjoying these images at home, this installation might make you pause for a moment to think of all the things, big and small, that humanity has overcome together in just this last year alone.
*There are currently 208 states in the world, out of which 196 recognized sovereigns and the other 12 semi or not recognized; only independent states and not federation member states are considered as such.