ELEMENTS - exhibition

Chemistry plays a key role in our lives. It is the basis of food, of the nature that surrounds us, of the universe and of every single cell of our body, without it life as we know it would not exist.

It intervenes in the communication between living species such as plants, animals and even humans and has always fascinated us with its invisible mechanisms that sometimes involve unexpected, sudden and amazing reactions. Thanks to the chemical elements we can, to give just a few examples, drink water without contaminants, use cellular devices and computers to connect with the whole world, drive increasingly technological vehicles and produce large quantities of food.

Some chemical elements known to us are however very controversial and at the centre of global debates for their involvement in geopolitical conflicts, for being linked to power games and for having been used in war to kill human beings. So the same chemistry that allowed life to emerge on Earth can also destroy it forever?

ELEMENTS celebrates the 150th year since the creation of the periodic table of elements by changing the perspective and showing that there are no good or bad elements in themselves, but rather it is the use chosen by the human being that makes the difference. 

We are normally used to dividing chemical elements into good and bad according to the implications we know: oxygen allows us to breathe and therefore it is good, uranium is radioactive and therefore it is bad. ELEMENTS gets to the heart of the pop elements, present in movies, comics and literature, of the precious, vital, toxic and hi-tech ones and finally points the spotlight on four of the most controversial elements, potentially dangerous and that will decree which nation will, in the future, be the master of the world: chlorine, phosphorus, cadmium and cobalt. 

ELEMENTS is inspired by the Science Gallery Dublin exhibition in 2011, the international year of chemistry, and was designed by Science Gallery Venice in collaboration with the Department of Molecular Sciences and Nanosystems of Ca' Foscari University in Venice.