Cosa fare a Milano - What to do

The exhibition in Bicocca that immerses visitors in the ocean

Let yourself be fascinated by the suggestive biodiversity of the sea and the secrets of its wonderful ecosystem through the language of illusions. Until January 31, 2022, the University of Milano-Bicocca hosts “IllusiOcean”, the exhibition conceived and coordinated by Paolo Galli, professor of ecology at the University, and created in collaboration with Mondadori Media and the National Cinema Museum of Turin.

One of the aims of the exhibition dedicated to the sea is to raise awareness among civil society, schools of all levels, the academic world and the scientific community on the importance of achieving the objectives set by the United Nations for the decade of ocean sciences for sustainable development (2021-2030), in particular Rete 14: conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources.

The exhibition

The exhibition itinerary is presented as an interactive experience along three thematic areas. The first area consists of four rooms and two corners, each able to tell an aspect about the sea: from the biodiversity of tropical marine ecosystems to the problem of plastic pollution.

The journey begins with the corner dedicated to “Virtual Reality”: thanks to the 3D viewers it will be possible to explore the wonders of the reefs and discover the activity of coral restoration. Here, moreover, it will be possible to simulate the sensory experience of an underwater geyser and enjoy the spectacle of nature.

In the “Submarine of illusions” it will be possible to immerse yourself in the depths of the Maldives, coral reefs among the largest in the world: an area of ​​over 4500 km2 of extraordinary biodiversity and almost 300 different species of coral. In this room, visitors will have the opportunity to get to know the marine organisms that find shelter here. To do this, they will have to sharpen the senses: walking from one side of the space to the other, you will see the figures shrink or enlarge and algae and fish transform into curious shapes.

The “Room of mirrors” will allow us a raid among the schools of jellyfish, fascinating marine animals widespread in the seas all over the world, where they float pushed by the currents. Among the luminous umbrellas of these creatures, it will be possible to see the traces of the human threat called pollution. This room was designed with the support of the master glassmaker of Murano, Fabio Fornasier, who made glass jellyfish according to the characteristic manual processing and reproduced – also in glass – the plastic objects that plague our seas.

The room “Sea under the Reflectors, the cinema tells the oceans” was born from a collaboration with the National Cinema Museum of Turin. Here it will be possible to live a new interactive experience to get to know all the magic of underwater cinema, through films, objects and unique curiosities. «The relationship between man and sea has always been one of the recurring themes in the history of cinema» underlined Domenico De Gaetano, director of the National Cinema Museum, «the fascination of the underwater world lends itself well to illusions and special effects. We are very happy with this prestigious collaboration, which allows us to tell another fascinating theme of the Seventh Art ».

The labyrinth

The sea is a treasure chest that contains many different species of animals and plants: some are easy to identify, others hide and camouflage themselves. To recognize them, you need an expert eye, patience and a lot of attention. In the “Labyrinth of marine secrets” children from three to five years old can have fun looking for them, getting lost among the walls of this special room.

The second corner, “Message in a Bottle”, will take us back to time, when the letters were enclosed in glass bottles and delivered to the sea currents that carried them ashore. Fortunately, today there is no need to throw a message into the oceans to communicate with the world: through the “sea of ​​the web”, each visitor will be able to launch their own message of hope to be launched on social networks by entering a virtual glass bottle.

The second area of ​​the exhibition hosts 30 blow-ups, taken by some of the greatest experts in underwater photography – including Massimo Boyer – depicting the evocative illusions created by nature that make our oceans even more spectacular: the mimicry of some species of fish, for example, or the phenomenon that generates the effect of underwater waterfalls in Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.

The students' works

The third block is dedicated to the works carried out by the students of the Vittorio Veneto Scientific High Schools in Milan and Luigi Cremona of Milan and of the Emilio Sereni Agricultural Technical Institute in Rome. In the past months about 500 students have participated in the “Paths for Transversal Skills and for Orientation” by designing and creating parts of the exhibition: reconstructions of models of the seabed, scientific games, illustrative posters, drawings and audio guides for visitors.

«With IllusiOcean Milano-Bicocca takes another important step towards the restart, welcoming schools, families and citizens to discover an exhibition dedicated to the sea. We are happy to inaugurate this exhibition which, thanks to the language of illusions, is not only entertaining, but also able to make us reflect on one of the priorities set by the UN 2030 Agenda: the protection of sea health. A challenge that sees our researchers engaged every day in the study of sustainable development solutions for the protection of the marine ecosystem “declared the Vice Rector, Marco Orlandi.

The exhibition is free.

How to book

To access, you need to book on the website and present the green pass at the entrance.
In addition, every Tuesday and Thursday morning, from 8 to 10 or from 11 to 13, by writing to, it is possible to book guided tours reserved for schools.

Related Articles