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Genoa report

"Deeper than Light's" Genoa experience

Genoa’s Science Festival has to be experienced to be believed! Directed by its dynamic president, Manuela Arata, the city literally takes to the streets to celebrate science!

The annual Festival lasts two weeks and its venues are spread throughout the centre of the city. During the week, streams of school classes parade through the streets, while on the weekends whole families, strolling couples, interested young people throng the pavement.

Festival banners fly everywhere!

With over 250 different events, displays, lectures and activities there is much to see.

This year the weather was particularly co-operative and the numbers of participants must easily have topped last year’s total of over 200 000 visits.

According to Arata although the Festival is only four years old, it is really setting Genoa on the map. Evidence for how heartily it is embraced by the city is provided by the fact that most of its funding is from private sources.

Genoa was a traditional banking centre. Its moneyed families once vied with one another for ornate dinner parties. Even though Genoa is more of an industrial centre and busy port today, the city supported Arata and the Festival by reviving the dinner tradition; no longer to welcome and entertain kings, but to host scientists and Festival leaders!

Many countries in Europe have developed events to stimulate and focus public interest in Science. In Norway the Research Council of Norway has encouraged and supported the development of a National Science Week (Forskningsdagene) every September. Over 1000 events are held across the land during this period.

Through Forskningsdagene, Norway is a member of EUSCEA (European Science Events Association).

This year, the general secretary of EUSCEA, Peter Rebernik from Austria, established WONDERS (Welcome to Observations, News & Demonstrations of European Research and Science). The programme has several aspects including the "Carousel of Science" – a series of national science events in 20 lands around Europe.

The Research Council of Norway selected three presentations from around Norway to participate in the WONDERS event, the Science Festival in Genoa. Participation was supported both by the Research Council of Norway and by WONDERS.

One of these presentations was "Deeper than Light" designed by Museum Architect, Anne Aspen and developed and produced by Bergen Museum and the international research project, MAR-ECO. A small, pilot portion of the "Deeper than Light" exhibition was taken to Genoa. It was erected in a room in one of the main Festival venues; Magazzini del Cotone – an enormous, recently renovated warehouse in the port.

On entering the room, visitors were usually initially captivated by the film, the NRK documentary, "Oceanland", filmed during the G.O. Sars cruise of 2004.

Most stayed from the entire viewing of the film and then wandered around the display module.

As they wandered they exclaimed over actually seeing the biological objects they had just seen on the screen, or representations of them in the works by the painter, Ørnulf Opdal, who was featured in the film, and the fabulous photographs by David Shale.

Thorolv Rasmussen’s sketches are so detailed, that they too closely resembled material from the film.

Despite the fact that it was in English, the interactive Scala presentation also attracted a fair bit of interest.

Many people asked about purchasing both the Scala presentation and the NRK DVD.

While there is no question that fascination with the deep sea was the major factor behind the exhibit’s success, the excellent welcome by our Italian and WONDERS hosts ensured that everything worked optimally.



As one of the three Norwegian presentations in the WONDERS programme, "Deeper than Light" has had the good fortune to be selected as the presentation that will continue as Norway’s representative to the "WONDERS’" finals in Finland in December.

Learn more.


Between seven and eight hundred people visited "Deeper than Light" during its 5-day visit. People from 7 to 70 were captivated by the exhibition

These are drawings by Giordano Mamone, aged 7, who was entranced by the David Shale photos. Of his own volition, he sat himself down and began to draw.


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