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The Second After Private Luxyry Trilogy - Kif Italia
By Francesco Mazzei

As suspended in time and history the installation represents life, distruction and rebirth of Ercolano and Pompei through the Villa dei Papiri and Casa del Fauno.

The immersive work will involve the senses and will be divided into 4 parts: the wild frame setup, images, sound design and the olfactory  path.

The “metaphysical” snapshot reproposes the dramatic moment of the violent eruption of Vesuvius. The sumptuous architecture is decomposed by the violent displacement of air floats frozen in mid air, by the pyroclastic flows.

The technique used is the “wide frames” that make the materials ethereal, impalpable, “frozen” in the moment after the explosion. Set between the architecture are reproductions of the Dancing Faune of the Casa del Fauno and the Sleepping Satyr of the Villa dei Papiri.

The video installation is articuleded in 3 blocks: the golden ad luxurious age of Ercolano rappresented by details of the wonderful bronze sculputers, of the magnificent architectures and the vibrants colors of the frescoes that tell the opulent life of that century, while the costellation indicate the routes followed by the sailors.

In the second block the details of the eyes of sculptural bodies devastated by the eruption of volcano represent the apex. Is the most dramatic moment: the sound design use distorted sounds and the predominat color is the red of fire reflected in the bronze texture of the sculptures.

The block ends with the detail of the dencer’s hand disappearing in to the dust.

In the final part we want rappresent the re-emergence of the architectures thanks to excavations and the tecnologies that project in to the future the memory of a past never forgotten.

We worked on a possible reconstructiion of what was the architecture of the library matching it with the architecture of coeval libraries and using the plan formulated by archaeologist Webber.

Gradually the sculptures and the frescoes redial , leaving visible the fractures caused by time and the fury of volcano as if they were scars of light.

We wanted to animate the floreal decorations of the frescoes, like flower blooming and coming back to life.

Finally we wanted artstically rapresent the scientific technique that made it possible to make the papiyri readble without open them.

The primary color becomes the blue of x-ray technology; the letters of the Greek words appear in negative on the screen.

I would like to tell you about the sound design made by maestro Furio Valitutti, ispired by the works of Filodemo da Gadara, present in the library of the Villa dei Papiri.

The sound of the sea brings with it suspended notes of a plectrum instrument, while the voice of mezzo-soprano Jeehee Han declaims the verses of a fragment: “ Time passes quickly but the voice says she is here, alone after the setting of the moon and the fall of the Pleiades

Last but not the list the olphactory path. We wanted to augment the immersive experience trough an olfactory path, a real journey that evoked the scents and smells of that golden age. Working with The master perfumer Stefano Proietti we chose a particular essence  that you can smell in the air even now.

The head of the fragrance opens with aquatic and ozonated notes of the sea, enhanced by fresh nuances of eucalyptus and a touch citrus of sweet orange.

In the heart of the fragrance, aquatic notes decline into a meeting of aromatic scents of Sorrento’s lemon and myrtle, juniper and blue chamomile, recalling the scents of the Mediterranean maquis. At the same time, the sweet effluvium of jasmine and neroli.

In the final part of the composition notes of musks join with tones woody patchouly, Vesuvius maple and cedarwood and harmonize with delicate traces of vanilla.

The second after it’s just one section of a more complex exhibition titled UNDERWATER that we would like to create next year. This exhibition is about the wonderful acheological sites in the Mediterranean with a specific focus on Baia, a city on the Campania coast that collapsed into the sea centures ago.

The exhibition aims, thanks to immersive technologies, to make visible to the audience inaccessible sites bacause submerged by water.

The layout of the exhibition traces the lines of the Atlantis cross named by Platone in the Timeo. The second after  will rapresent the emerged part of the villas that in ancient times overlooked the sea and were the summer residences of Roman nobles.


Di Giuliano Gasparotti


“Time passes quickly but the voice says to be here, alone, after the setting of the moon and the fall of the Pleiades” this is the verse that you will hear set to music by our mezzo soprano, the Korean artist Jeehee Han, directed by Maestro Furio Valitutti who composed the sound design for Private Luxury, the first immersive installation created, for Biblio video opera that we made on the library of the Villa dei Papiri in Ercolano presented during Sharjah International Book Fair 2022 and The Second After which you will see in a few minutes.. 

These verse was written by Filodemo Da Gadara, a philosopher born in Jordan, master of the great Roman poets Virgilio and Orazio. He organized a large library of Greek and Latin literary works transcribed on papyri. We can have this great heritage of literature, today, thanks to digital technologies which has been recovered, only in part, and I will explain why.



In 120 BC the residence had an area of 3,000 square meters. Architecturally, the objective of the owners, probably belonging to the Satrii or Cassii family, was the display of wealth. There are numerous gold and silver jewels found. 

At the center of the Impluvium was the famous statue of the Dancing Faun. In the video you will see, the American artist Jerome Tryon created the three-dimensional reconstruction. In one of the two peristyles the Mosaic of Alexander was found, depicted in the battle of Issus, a copy of the painting by Philoxenus made with one and a half million tiles. In the video, the mosaics of the Nilotic threshold and of Dionysius child on a tiger are also digitally reproduced.



This large villa belonged to Lucio Calpurnio Pisone, father-in-law of Caio Giulio Cesare, was built around 50 BC and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvio in 79 AD. After the eruption of the volcano in the mid-seventeenth century further covered the villa with lava material. It was found by chance during the works for the construction of a well in the mid-eighteenth century buried as it is today by over 25 meters – 30 meters of pyroclastic material.

In the our  video opera,  that we will see together shortly, we have created in collaboration with the artist Jerome Tryon, a three-dimensional animation of the floor plan of the German archaeologist Karl Webber: even today it is the most reliable floor plan of the original structure.Paul Getty in Malibu in the United States of America rebuilt the Villa dei Papiri to make it his private home, now a house museum dedicated to him.


The name Villa dei Papiri come from the discovery of about 1800 one thousand eight hundredpapyri which were initially destroyed by mistake because they were confused with charred pieces of wood. Only on 19 October 1752 by pure chance, once again one of the scrolls, in a better state of conservation, opened giving rise to the discovery of the library, which together with the frescoes and numerous sculptures are an integral part of this masterpiece. 

After a few years the excavations were stopped due to the powerful gases and toxic fumes.Excavations resumed in 1980 but still today only the Greek section of the library is found while the Latin one is still buried and to be found.


A crossroads of commercial and cultural traffic, the White Sea has always represented the point of intersection and influence between different cultures. The same works preserved in the two houses in Pompei and Ercolano have in some cases influences of oriental taste. A parental bond is possible between the owner of the Casa del Fauno and the victorious Alexander of Mecedon against Darius III of Persia, in the battle of Issus. It is certain that with the goods exchanged on the trade routes, ideas and cultures also traveled. 

The Silk Road and incense, together with perfumed essences (sandalwood, musk, myrrh) together with spices, precious metals such as gold silver, precious stones and pearls, allowed to exchange culture and knowledge. The settlements of the Arabian Peninsula are of great importance and the archaeological remains of Al Ain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Umm al Nar are examples.The Private Luxury project is a part of a larger project which has the ambition to make the artistic testimonies of the relationships between East and West accessible and alive, in particular by reproducing the works still preserved  today by the waters of the White Sea. 

The intersection between different cultures thanks to the territorial conquests and thanks to commercial exchanges has led to interesting examples of Middle Eastern art also in Middle Ages art of Italy. Alongside one of our immersive productions on San Martino a cavallo by Jacopo della Quercia, together with some professors of the University of Pisa, we have explored the relationship between the extraordinary Oriental artifact Griffin which in the 11th century was placed on the top of the Cathedral of Pisa and the Mari-Cha Lion from the same historical period preserved in the Louvre in Abu Dhabi. Both probably coming from Andalusia, these two works had the function of arousing wonder in people as they were able to produce sounds thanks to the wind. 

It would be truly beautiful to reunite these two extraordinary works for a temporary exhibition to explain the mutual influences produced over the centuries by cultural exchange.


Contemporary techniques and technologies have made it possible not to lose a great heritage of knowledge and testimonies of the past on which today’s present is built and the construction of our future is oriented. The example of the papyri from the Villa dei Papiri in Ercolano is relevant.The development of technologies has made it possible to recover part of the papyri first with the use of mechanical tools that allow the papyri to be unrolled, which are preserved in a section of the National Library of Napoli which is located in the Royal Palace of Napoli. 

Many attempts have been made to access the contents of the papyri: the volcanic materials have carbonized and sealed the rolls, preserving them from decomposition but making them similar to logs too fragile to unroll.Thanks to a very advanced X-ray scanning technique and a team of Italian and French scientists, it was possible to decipher some words of the precious writings without having to unroll them, an operation that would have destroyed the fragile finds, burned and sealed by ash volcanic. To avoid any damage to the finds, scientists resorted to phase contrast X-ray tomography, a cutting-edge and non-invasive technique, in use at the ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility) in Grenoble. 

This heritage is invaluable because it is the only ancient library that has survived  to the present day. The content is made up of texts for the vast majority unknown as they are not transmitted by the medieval tradition of copying. The development of this technique will make it possible to analyze the several hundreds of scrolls still closed and preserved in the Officina dei Papiri of the National Library of Napoli. Contemporary digital technologies will make it possible to reconstruct, preserve and communicate the literary contents of the papyri and, once discovered  the still-buried Latin library.


The use of contemporary digital technologies enter the creative process of a work that defines itself as digital art. It is a matter of practice, support and implementation. Since the seventies this process has had different names from “computer art” to multimedia works. Today, the new frontier of digital art consists in the immersive experience engaging the audience by music, images, words, perfumes. Works that can be touched and in some cases even tasted. 

It is the culture revolution combining different arts and languages to create something innovative, multisensory, multidimensional.How does immersive digital art support archeology?The key word  is “accessibility”.

Even today, in fact, a large part of the archaeological sites is not accessible to the audience. The digital reconstruction of the contents and its communication as part of an original creation that allows the audience to live cultural experience.


What is the meaning of richness? The real richness is therefore beauty and knowledge. Beyond the frontiers of time.

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