Exhibition: Tierra in transformazione
Curated by: Maria Campitelli and Manolo Cocho
A project by: Gruppo78 I.C.A.
Venue: Magazzino 26, Porto Vecchio di Trieste
Dates: 02 – 24 september 2022
The issue of climate change – grafted into a global change that affects the fate of the planet and the humanity that inhabits it – has been gripping us for decades. The pandemics, most recently that of Coronavirus 19, which has not been eradicated but to which, with appropriate protective systems, we will have to become accustomed, is a further sign of the upheaval of balances that foreshadow the advent of a new era or, in the most inauspicious hypothesis, the slow dissolution of the planet.
A theme, that of climate change and the urgency of action to avert collapse, picked up by political power through international summits, with little result due to the resistance of harmful production processes linked to seemingly irreducible economic interests, to the disappointment of young people, who led by Greta Tunberg, invade the squares to protest. There is thus a planetary upheaval, however belated, that at least takes note of the transformation of the earth.
This exhibition stems from the conviction that artistic reflection and expression, by associating with the global chorus of calls for action to ensure the survival of the planet, can make a special contribution – because of its inherent potential to encompass emotion and poetry – to raising awareness of the need for proper interaction between humanity and the planet.
There is talk today of the decline of anthropocentrism, of the conclusion of the « Homo sapiens » cycle. James Lovelock, a British scientist, as early as 1979 in « Gaia. A New Look at Life on Earth », warned that humans, being part of the self‑regulating synergistic system that maintains and perpetuates the conditions for life on the planet as all living things, do not enjoy privileged rights that they have self‑attributed (since Renaissance humanism), placing themselves at the center of the world. Humans are partners along with other organisms, helping to maintain the balance of life on Earth, but who can also destroy it.
Megagalactic intensive livestock farms, in which animals suffer unnatural living conditions, steadily increasing overpopulation, CO2 growth despite the declaimed intent of reduction, wild crops at disproportionate sizes, deforestation, droughts, migration, degenerate capitalism: all alterations,forcings for profit, that contribute to collapse.
But the exponential development of technology is also responsible for the transformation, eroding humanity in its behaviors even in relation to the earth, entailing with the robotic industrialization of our existence a strengthening of the superhomism condemned by Lovelock, as by other scholars.(1)
In the complexity of thoughts and opinions, generated by the perception of change, the current trend of « transhumanism » in the human/machine perspective glimpses the ability to overcome the limits proper to nature, eradicating aging and even death.(2)
And in the general perception of a change of pace, one also senses the wish for a new speciation, envisioning a return to the primeval earth, to its primary elements, in a kind of « happy degrowth, » in stark contrast, therefore, to robotic man.
This exhibition « Earth in Transformation » was born from the fusion of two exhibitions, one born in Mexico by artist/curator Manolo Cocho titled « Crisis Gaia, » one, curated by the undersigned, titled « Aqua, » declining in the general framework from climate transformation, the specific one of a foundational element, which pertains to life, translated into an altered acronym, almost a brand in which a thousand facets are subtended.
Cocho has conducted a cultural operation by developing an entirely network‑based curatorship, establishing global connections, translated into photographic works or video. Aqua, which was born and developed mainly in Trieste, although it includes presences from other places, including foreign ones, contains concrete installations and all the various linguistic declinations and « contaminations » pursued by current expressive research.
In Aqua, the artists detect on the one hand its natural limpid beauty, its irreplaceable vital function, a collective good that must be guaranteed and protected to the communities, or, on the other hand, its degeneration in pollution or even highlight with metaphorical installations, particular phenomena that characterize climate change such as the rise of sea water as a result of the increase in the temperature of the planet. Performative actions and transdisciplinary paths that cross scientific research, aided by new technologies, attest to the plurality, richness and complexity of artistic responses in an expanded and interconnected universe.
1. See in particular Leonardo Caffo, « Fragile Humanity, » ed. Einaudi, 2017
2. V. Mark O’ Connell and Gianni Pannofino, « Being a Machine, » ed. Adelphi, 2018