Only three months after dying the Trevi fountain red, 54 year-old Italian artist and activist Graziano Cecchini has done it again.
Yesterday he dumped 500,000 multi-coloured plastic balls down Rome’s famous Spanish Steps – causing insanity, mayhem, a whole bunch of tourists to wonder what the hell was going on, and several Italians to look up from their espressos and roll their eyes.
The area was quickly roped off and city workers were soon on hand to scoop up the protest balls, but not before a bunch of gleeful witnesses began gathering their own souvenirs and a good number of them ended up bobbing in the Barcaccia fountain. Apparently the significance of it all is in the Italian word for “balls” (“palle”) which can also mean “untruth”. The symbolism behind 500,000 “untruths” rolling through town is beautiful in it’s simplicity, noticeability, and ability to totally piss people off.
Detained by the police for “interrupting public services”, Cecchini said, ”This is an artistic operation which documents through art the problem that we have in Italy. They’re always telling us lies, both the Left and the Right.” You know this isn’t the last we’ll hear from Mr. Cecchini…
In an interesting side note, only a few hours after the stunt several of the balls were already for sale on eBay at the bargain basement price of 50 Euros (about $75 CAD)…for a plastic ball. An hour later a second seller appeared online. Though only offering one red ball for grabs, it was cleverly positioned as being “coloured red for positive feelings”.