EXHIBITION | Folder Group: Italian Limes
24 April 2018 — 24 May 2018

Folder Group

Italian Limes


Exhibition opening: 24 April 2018, at 8:30 p.m., at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM

Duration of the exhibition: 24 April 2018 — 24 May 2018


Artist talk: 24 April 2018, at 16:30 p.m., Kino Šiška

Marco Ferrari: Italian Limes - Mapping the Shifting Border across Alpine Glaciers

In the framework of the Transnationalisms Conference



Italian Limes explores the modern notion of the border within the context of the most recent advancement of the technologies for spatial representation and the massive consequences of climate change that hit the Alpine ecosystem over the last decade.


After the signing of the Schengen Agreement in 1995, Italy’s northern frontier has recently experienced a dramatic shift in scope and nature: the primary mountain passes of the Alps have evolved from political filters between NATO-allied countries and the southern tip of the Iron Curtain into infrastructural channels, governed by EU regulations, market standards, and logistical performance.


Between 2008 and 2009, the last stage of this transformation forced the Italian government to negotiate a new definition of the frontiers with Austria, France, and Switzerland. Due to global warming and shrinking Alpine glaciers, the watershed—which determines large stretches of the borders between these countries—has shifted consistently. A new concept of the movable border has thus been introduced into national legislation, recognising the volatility of any watershed geography through regular alterations of the physical benchmarks that determine the exact frontier.


Through an immersive and interactive installation that connects an automated drawing machine in the gallery space with a network of solar-powered GPS sensors installed on the ice sheet of the Similaun glacier, at 3,300 metres above sea level, Italian Limes unveils the political dimension intrinsic to the problem of representing territory. The exhibition shows how natural frontiers are subject to the complexity of continuous ecological processes, depending on the technologies and norms we use to represent it.


Displaying unreleased materials from the archives of Istituto Geografico Militare (Italian national mapping agency), Italian Limes reveals how the mostly inaccessible territory of the Alps—for the last century, a region that was widely considered Terra Incognita—has been a constant laboratory for technological experimentation, and how some of the systems of control that have played a fundamental role in the definition of the modern sovereign state have been rendered all but invisible through the evolution of topographic surveying into the hyper-precision of satellite-based GPS.


The project Italian Limes was first presented at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, where it was awarded a special mention by the International jury, and has been awarded at the European Design Awards 2015 with a silver medal for the exhibition design.


The map of the movable borders has been acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of its permanent design collection.




Italian Limes is a project by Folder (Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual) with Pietro Leoni (interaction design), Delfino Sisto Legnani (photography), Dawid Górny, Alex Rothera, Angelo Semeraro (projection mapping), Claudia Mainardi, Alessandro Mason (team).



Production of the exhibition in Ljubljana: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana; Drugo more, Rijeka, 2018
Partner: Moderna galerija


The Italian Limes exhibition has been supported by the Italian Cultural Institute in Slovenia.

Transnationalisms is realized in the framework of the European project State Machines.

Supported by: the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

Media sponsors: Radio Študent, TAM-TAM, Mladina


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.