Narrative of an inflated balloon, a fragile ego-centric human being


PALLONEGONFIATO is a temporary installation designed for the CSA Music Festival 2021. Interpreting the opera Don Pasquale by G. Donizetti, the project proposes a spatial alteration of Piazza IV Novembre in Città Sant'Angelo, Italy. The installation consists of two elements, protagonist and backdrop. A suspended reflecting balloon, reference to the ego of Don Pasquale, is surrounded by semi-transparent silver fabrics, reference to the theatrical and artistic dimension of the opera. By contemplating their own image in the balloon mirror finish, visitors are invited to a symbolical reflection on the ego’s role in everyday life.


PALLONEGONFIATO is a scenography made by the dialogue of two elements, protagonist and backdrop. The protagonist is an inflated chrome balloon suspended in the middle of the piazza via a taut steel cable. It represents the massive ego of Don Pasquale, one of the four main protagonists, and it is characterized by an ultra-reflective surface mirroring the surroundings. The backdrop, a direct reference to the theatrical and artistic dimensions of the opera, is constituted of a series of light semi-transparent silver fabrics mounted on a curved circular profile. It defines the edges of the installation by highlighting the peculiar existing semi-circular geometrical configuration and reflecting the context's natural and artificial hues such as the sky, the bricks of adjacent constructions, and the street lamps.

Constantly and dynamically altering the image returned by the reflective finish of the sphere, visitors are intended to be a constituent part of the scenography. By contemplating their own image on the inflated balloon, they are symbolically invited to reflect on the role of the ego in everyday life, while the silver backdrop focuses the attention on the protagonist, representing an ego extension affecting the surrounding environment. As the unfair behaviour of Don Pasquale affects the other characters in the opera, unhealthy beliefs in our own importance, arrogance, and self-centered ambitions represent a matter that everyone faces during the life path.

The installation temporariness is a central component. Its time is limited to the duration of the Festival and in a similar way to the opera, it is articulated into three acts. The inauguration as the Ego’s inflation, the showtime, and the ending ceremony as the Ego’s deflation. The third act happens in conjunction with the Festival's last opera representation and borrows its symbolic potential from a famous scene where the old Don Pasquale receives a slap from Norina, the young woman he pretended to be his wife. “It’s over, Don Pasquale”. As his world collapses after the slap, also the protagonist of the installation deflates, leaving hung a drained and poor version of the inflated sphere, picturing the fragility of an ego-centric human being.

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