Catching Tradition with Contemporary Traps

Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)

Trapula is an informal group of architects, designers and artists from Pula (Croatia). Starting from the idea of environmental art, their field of interest lies in multidisciplinary artistic interventions and installations, with an emphasis on new technologies, materials and actions in the public sphere. Their work is an intersection of ecology, art, tourism, education and science.

The group works in order to create distinctive visually perceptive benchmarks, highly artistic and aesthetic in nature, which can become carriers of the modern identity of a particular area. Group’s actions include cooperation with public and private sector, as well as with other artists or art groups, paying attention to active participation of local communities and of cultural, material and spiritual heritage of the local area.

The core of this informal group consists of architects Dino Krizmanić and Leonid Zuban, light designer Dean Skira, artists Robert Pauletta and Bojan Šumonja, and journalist Sven Semenčić.

So far, Trapula has been working on several projects in Pula, Premantura, Labin and Rab, which will now be presented at Filodrammatica Gallery. The exhibition opens on Thursday, 18 February at 7 pm, and it will stay on display until March 4, 2016.


Trapula 01

The project was originally planned for the protected area of Cape Kamenjak in Premantura.

Installation-object consists of several hundred traditional fishing traps (“trapulas“). Placed in a visible place and adequately illuminated, installation-object becomes a striking and attractive visual bait-benchmark. Arranged in a humorous and intriguing way, with a series of kinetic surprises within its structure, it becomes a temporary non-invasive open-air museum.

Installation-object is interactive, enabling visitors to enter it and leave his marks in the form of letters, articles or messages. After season ends, the object can be relocated to other sites where it can be used for similar purposes, or can be recycled and returned to the fishermen and the sea.

For the purposes of “trapula” making, organized workshops are used in a way that local fishermen instruct and guide the participants through the entire process of making traps, at the same time teaching them about the ways and possibilities of this method of fishing. The workshops may include tourists, volunteers and other interested parties, and each participant receives a fee for making a fishing trap. Workshop may be organized at various attractive locations in old towns, harbors and coastal areas.

In the end, the installation-object Trapula 01 is designed as a contemporary artistic piece with an emphasis to ecology and recycling. I contributes to the increase of the visibility and attractiveness of tourism, involvement of the local population, and the preservation and promotion of traditional crafts and local heritage.


Trapula 02 – Portal

This projects predicts a temporary summer pavilion on the bell tower of the Cathedral in Pula. The installation turns the bell tower into a landmark and a portal to the summer events on the Kandler Street, becoming a summer art pavilion that enables people to see Pula through camera obscura.

The planned intervention refers to the outer walls of the bell tower, which is being covered by the reflective panels, bound to the existing structure. The installation is set without any invasive contact with the walls of the bell tower, which includes no drilling.


Trapula 03

Trapula 03 project is planed to be carried out in three phases that build upon the person and work of Marco Antonio de Dominis in today’s context of Rab, a medieval city with four towers. Being large-minded and having progressive views, De Dominis (Rab, 1560 – Rome, 1624) promoted as a theologian and ecumenist the dialogue within churches and their unification, and investigated as a scientist the dispersion of white light (he explained what causes the appearance of rainbow) and the occurrence of tides. After coming into conflict with the Inquisition, he was declared a heretic and detained in the castle of Sant Angelo, where he died of natural causes.

The first project phase is named Library of burned books (Atriums and apses of St. John the Evangelist).

Central installation “Crosier” is located above the circular mirror which is set in the heart of the apse of the former basilica. This is a holy place par excellence, just above the former altar. In the multitude of bars in variable dimensions, which emerge from the mirror, nine light sticks glowing in rainbow colors are highlighted. Rods are placed ex-centered in relation to the mirror base, as a slight deviation from orthodoxy – the idea of heresy.

The circular shape of the mirror is a symbolic figure of the sea, while mirroring the upper and lower spheres mark the biblical premise, signifying the visible and invisible world, the tides. The dome of the apse is rounded up by nearly weightless tensegrity structure, which also serves as a lighting fixture. The pastoral mission by Marco Antonio de Dominis  is manifested by the bishop stick (crosier), while his scientific (and pioneering-ecumenical) mission is presented by the rainbow light of individual rods.

Across the atrium and the apse of St. John, as a moment of surprise we find a series of quotes, notes and biographical information regarding de Dominis’, ultimately tragic, secular-religious mission. Inside of the apse de Dominis’ quotes are realized by folded paper along the wall of the apse. In other media – electronic and fluid – once already burned de Dominis’ thoughts and words are being resurrected again.

Second phase of the project is Spiritus movens (disappearance of St. John the Evangelist bell tower).

The disappearance of the bell tower is trying to point out the spirit of Marco Antonio de Dominis’ Rab moving away from its paradigm of the medieval town with four towers. Intention is to create a parallel reality and disruption of the space-time continuum by violating the inherited conditioned memory of the place, which also introduces tension between present and past.

It is comparable with the experience of “daydreaming”, a parallel existing reality that resists the observer’s need for logical and credible, which is, in other words, pure heresy!

Third project phase is named MADD garden and involves the illumination of a small island at the entrance of Rab harbor, which denotes the research in the field of light by Marko Antonio de Dominis.

Lighting system envisages a dynamic installation using RGB LED spotlights and integrated management system that could be programmed according to the given conditions. Island’s ground level would be elucidated in color, while the crown of existing trees would be illuminated in white.

The concept also provides a partial illumination of the inner part of the island, in order to achieve the depth of the space at night. Programmed set designs enable dynamic chromatic visual experience from all sides of the island and literally represent the continuity of the story about the rainbow as the basis in the context of the presented art installations.

The whole system  uses minimal amount of power and it’s conceived so that its maintenance costs are kept on the lowest possible level, with a possibility of their complete absence in the first decade.


Trapula 04

During September of 2015, City of Labin organized an international scientific conference devoted to the work and legacy of Matija Vlačić (Flacius) Ilirik. On that occasion, the City of Labin showed interest in design of a quality and long lasting brand for the conference.

Trapula proposed a “sculptural” multifunctional installation related to the acronym of Matija Vlačić (Flacius) Ilirik – MVFI. Their idea included a possibility of, depending on the particular place in the city, using the signs as park benches, self-standing signposts sculptures, mobiles or information points. Depending on the location and purpose, they would be made from different materials.

The acronym/initials are bound to the perception of Matia Vlačić Ilirik as a exceptionally prolific writer, encyclopaedist, church historian, translator, polemicist, linguist and philosopher. His complete life work is connected to letters, words, texts and books.

Acronym consists of four majuscule letters which are the combination of his Croatian and Latin name (MVFI), written in red and black. These colors are perceived as theological, at the same time having a long history of usage for illumination of the church books.

Letters/initials are constructive elements of the graphic design, optionally used for making signalization, sculptures, mobiles and urban elements (park benches, playground elements, bus stops, etc.).


Trapula 05 – Art Park


Architectural geometry of the park was created as an algorithmic copy of the Pula night sky that will be possible to see on the solstice night in 2016. This architectural “maze” is a multipurpose outdoor gallery and a park which contains a number of “artistic” interventions and attractions for children and adults. The park is partly interactive and involves a creative participation of the audience.

The park would contain a stage that could be used in many ways, adapting to the needs of theater, film and concert programs. Park could take over a particular theme and every following season it could get a different role, offering a possibilities of further utilization in tourism and culture.

In its totality, the park is an organic object-installation and implies the use of eco-friendly materials, with an emphasis on the complete horticultural arrangement. The entire park complex takes cascading form, following the configuration of the ground and making the logical connection between the existing parking lot and the the catering facility or the beach on the lower level.

The park can be constructed in phases, by artistic interventions in the undeveloped parts of the meadow each season. At the same time, the respect for local tradition imposes the idea of stone walls as a dominant architectural form.

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