Urban Fossils. Palaeontology between past and future

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A project based on the homonymous photographic research conceived by Francesca Cirilli and supervised by the paleontologists Massimo Delfino and Francesca Lozar of the University of Turin and by Massimo Bernardi, curator of Trento's exhibition. 

Fossil is any remnant, impression or trace of an animal or plant of a past geologic age that has been preserved in Earth’s crust. Fossils also include traces and footprints left in not yet consolidated sediment, as well as the holes produced by burrowing animals.
Urban Fossil
is instead any product of human activity in contemporary cities: a remnant or trace of production and consumption that remains ‘trapped’ in asphalt, the ‘soil’ of the city.

A photography project, a contest, an exhibition as an excuse to talk about palaeontology between past and future.
Science and photography are brought together in a series of images to reflect on the parallels, similarities and contrasts between fossils and what we have described as 'urban fossils'. There is particular focus on how they are formed, the environments in which they are found, and the origin of their constituent materials and those in which the 'fossilisation' process occurs.  
What will remain of us in 1,000, 1,000,000 or 10,000,000 years? Exploring the city in search of real fossils in building materials, as well as 'urban fossils', whether they are objects embedded in asphalt or footprints in concrete, is an occasion to reflect on the fact that palaeontology does not only deal with exceptional fossils, which are quite stunning and always remote from our lives. The importance of a fossil is not its beauty but the information it contains, which can be revealed by careful study. Even a bottle cap embedded in the asphalt, for those willing to play, can tell the story of a time in the recent or far past.

The competition #FossiliUrbani

MUSE, in association with the Trentino daily newspaper, invites you to play an active part in the production of the Urban Fossils exhibition.
The challenge is to identify and photograph ammonites, shells and the remains of organisms in the roads, walls and crevices of the cities and towns of our region, together with coins, bottle caps, tire tracks and other strange objects 'fossilised' in layers of concrete and asphalt.
Whether you are armed with professional cameras, or smartphones, you can take as many pictures as you want and post them on Instagram under the hashtag: #fossiliurbani.

The photos submitted will become part of the exhibition thanks to two screens placed on the tables at the centre of the presentation.
In addition, each week, an image selected by a special jury from those posted online will be printed and placed on its own display stand.
The selected entries will also receive a MY MUSE membership card, providing free admission to MUSE for one year and many other benefits.
The photos of each week's winners will be displayed on December 29, January 5, 12, 19 and 26, and February 2, 9 and 16, 2016.

From 19 dicembre 2015
To 28 febbraio 2016
MUSE opening hours
For whom
Included in the MUSE entrance ticket
Un progetto di

Promosso da

Special sponsor​