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Stereo 3D pictures from Trieste to the Moon: how you can watch the world and be hidden from it

Wednesday 21.12.2016
– Sunday 19.02.2017
Sala Attilio Selva
This exposition is devoted to the Fund of stereoscopic photographs which is preserved in the Photo Archive of the Art and History Museums in Trieste and in this occasion has been selected a certain number of shots printed on paper and slides on glass exhibited for the first time to the public and made between the years 1850-1930.
This exhibition also strengthens the possibility to public and to make the most of the cultural heritage owned by the local Photo Archive. Its aim is revealing the world of stereographic photographs which were shown at the International London Exposition in 1851 and fascinated Queen Victoria. They became so popular that they contributed in a significant way to the diffusion of photographs and particularly of touristic ones.
The views concerning touristic destinations permit to make the first virtual tours around the world: you can recognize places without really knowing them.
This instrument came before the successful audiovisuals from the twentieth century and shares with it the same social practice, the central role of the house, the participation of entire families, the capacity of being entertaining and informative at the same time. The stereoscope permits to the viewer to travel sitting comfortably in his armchair near a fireplace, as Charles Baudelaire says: you can watch the world and be hidden from it.
The fund of stereographic photographs preserved in the Photo Archive of the Art and History Museums is composed of 728 photographic properties which are described, digitalized and accessible by consulting the Integrated Catalogue of Cultural Heritage.
The considerable number of these documents – increased by donations and acquisitions – and their remarkable quality renders this Fund particularly interesting both from the historical and artistic points of view.
This collection from Trieste shows symbolic touristic places: Trieste, the Italian cities of the Grand Tour, Europe, Egypt and the exhotic East and even the Moon. These works became ever so popular even among the amateur and they do not only narrate about monuments and views, the models and participants propose plenty of descriptions, tableaux vivants, typical scenes or historical reconstructions with educational or edifying purposes or sometimes even with erotic ones. All together they represent a great natural photographic library open to travels, so that the viewer is submerged in a special sensory, hipnotic and virtual dimension, as said the American scientist, literary man and consumer of of stereoscopic images Oliver Wendl Holmes (1809-1894). Here there are mainly black and white pictures, sometimes also hand painted ones coming from workshops active in the city.
There are also some selected plates by Arturo Benussi (1866-1938), kindly donated by his family and this enriches the exhibition apart from the city heritage fund. This talented amateur from Trieste made mainly coloured stereoscopic images from the beginning of the twentieth century. They describe Trieste, Friuli, Venice, the Dalmatian area and Bosnia.
The exhibition is hosted in the Selva Hall, located on the ground floor of the Gopcevich Palace and there is also an interactive space where it is possible experiencing the emotion of stereoscopic visions.
Sala Attilio Selva
Via Rossini Gioacchino
34100 Trieste