IPHONEOGRAPHY: the machines and the gods project
To create space in different Museums of Rome, while keeping the works of art accessible to the public, an exhibition was created in 1997 in the former Giovanni Montemartini Thermoelectric Centre, the first public electricity plant in Rome. The exhibition was entitled The machines and the gods: it put side by side two diametrically opposed worlds, those of classical art and industrial archaeology.
In a strange juxtaposition, the old machinery of electricity production became the backdrop for masterpieces of ancient sculpture and precious goods found in the excavations of the late nineteenth century and the 1930s. The display reconstructs some of the great monumental complexes and illustrates the development of the ancient city from the Republican era to the late imperial age.
The museum itself is part of a wider project to redefine the Ostiense Marconi area, converting it into a cultural center for the oldest industrial area of Rome including, as well as the electricity plant, the Slaughter House, the Gasometer, structures from the docks, and the old General Markets.