Fondazione Alda Fendi (Rome)

Sunday night, the Professor and I popped over to the Antico Mercato del Pesce, in the Velabro, my favorite neighborhood in Rome. Although the evening ended up with us standing in front of the Fori Imperiali celebrating Rome's birthday, we began the night on the cutting edge of the 21st century watching Angelique Kidjo, several half-naked men and one fully nude male.

The Professor and I were guests to Storie Fantastiche del Delta del Niger, one of the annual, invite-only Esperimenti, conceptual art installations sponsored by Fondazione Alda Fendi, where we, along with the rest of the audience, were immersed in images so sconvoglenti (upsetting) that I was either cringing or applauding.

In other words, the show was avant garde, thought-provoking, shocking and memorable. Like the past esperimenti, Sunday night's installation was multimedial wave of audio, video and live performances. The Professor, Mr. No-More-Than-6th-Century, aptly noted that the audience had no hierarchy as we were all herded to the center of the ex-mercato, standing room only, surrounded by three horizontal screens projecting scenes of African sculpture, war and contemporary film. (Okay, I generalized.)

At times, it was a bit of a bore, standing around waiting for the next shocking image. Fendi has held shows of similar programming and speed. But Kidjo's voice, along with the rest of the music, poetry and recitations, raised the bar to Beautiful. Overall, this installation was successful. Romans were out on a Sunday night talking about art and/or Fendi. Romans were talking about HIV, AIDS and interracial couples. Romans were out, alive in their city. Juxtaposed with the 2762nd celebration of the founding of Rome, the Esperimenti reminded me that Rome is not a just tourist mausoleum.

Note: The installation is "playing" through Wednesday, 22 April. Call for invitation.

Storie Fantastiche del Delta del Niger Fondazione Alda Fendi Antico Mercato del Pesce (Velabro)

9 pm

06 6792597 / 06 6793139