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Installation shots from the exhibition Meditation on global wool trade and its supply chain at Villa Romana, Florence IT. Works on view: Untitled (Machine Errors), series of eight carpets made of Italian sheep wool, 2020, 2.2x2.2m. Milking session at 6am, 2021, 6 min audio in loop, in collaboration with producer Andrea Perini.

The glass pavilion is something in the middle between a carpet showroom, meditation retreat and a Crystal Palace. Visitors are invited to sit and relax and while reading a text written about globalization, listening to repetitive and hypnotizing industrial beats the viewer is asked to meditate on the sheep-hair growing aboard a cargo ship stuck in line in front of the Suez canal. The carpet series is produced by difference through repetition, showing only an accidental relief made by machine errors used to produce the carpet. The sound piece is based on the sound of milking machine beats.

The series of carpets are the final stage of a research project into the supply chain of wool by artist Evi Olde Rikkert. At the start of the project she joined shepherd Armando Zocchi during a Transhumanza in Valtellina (IT) to +2000m height with a flock of 70 sheep, 30 young cows and 15 mature cows. The shepherding experience was followed by making connections with Italy’s remaining textile production districts of Biella and Bergamo for the transformation of the raw wool into yarn.

Different perspectives on this experience were touched upon during three “meditations” scheduled in the glass pavilion. Meditation #1 was a conversation and demonstration on the trade and sorting of European sheep wool by Nigel Thompson, founder of Biella the Wool Company. Meditation #2 was a conversation and demonstration by Florence-based antique rug expert Alberto Boralevi. And the meditation #3 was a live music performance by producer Andrea Perini starting from a sample of the sound of milking machines from the Alps