Sharing altered perspectives of our surroundings – albeit via a prescriptive set of filters – has become a daily vice for Instagram addicts. And it’s behind the ‘Tavoletta’ series of photographs, created by local artist Arnaldo Pappalardo, too. Except that rather than simply applying a Lo-Fi filter, Pappalardo's technique is to fragment a well known cityscape, such as the square in front of the Theatro Municipal, by placing a mirror at the centre of the frame, distorting the square with the reflection.
This series of works – which include other cityscapes photographed with the same mirrored technique – are inspired in part by the work of a Renaissance architect and engineer, Filippo Brunelleschi, who invented a device called a tavoletta. The device allowed an observer to look through a hole in the back panel of a painting or drawing of a building, opposite which, in the line of sight, a mirror was positioned. When the device was then positioned next to the actual building, the observer could compare the real building with the reflection of the painting, giving artists a new visual perspective and encouraging them to paint structures in a more three-dimensional way.
Other optical curiosities include a camera obscura (the principle behind pinhole cameras) – set up inside a tent in the museum's back garden – which, by way of a small hole, projects an inverted image of the surroundings onto the inside of the tent.