Travelling at a slow pace through nature, peoples and cultures

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Iceland15 is part of a bigger project called Frostscape, which aims to talk about nature, peoples and different cultures in an innovative way. The journeys that the project aims to achieve are all slow and local, designed to immerse themselves in the place visited and explored, thus becoming part of everyday life, manners and habits of people, in order to go beyond cultural limitations and stereotypes.
To satisfy this vocation is born Iceland15, a solo trek (self-sufficient) long about 800 km; destination: Iceland, the land of ice and fire. The Travel Expedition has been planned to start on July, 30th 2015 ending on September, 1st 2015, with shifts almost entirely on foot and a tent like a house.
Through the National Park Vatnajökull, Mattia Vettorello will dive into the Icelandic landscape diversity, made of volcanoes, glaciers, lava deserts, lakes, waterfalls, canyons and craters.
Askja, Snaefell, Lónsöræfi, Joekulsarlon, Skaftafell, Fjaðrárgljúfur, Maelifell, Laugavegur Trekking are the stages of the journey that will end in Vik, after meeting people, traditions, places, emotions, and different natures.

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A journey that starting from the figure of the explorer, decide to reread his role. Man as a modern adventurer, who decides to award to his own travel introspective and anthropological connotations, that can be of help to himself and to other people.
This is the goal of Frostscape ad Iceland15: be alone immersed within wilderness in order to be able to descover again the intimate relationship between nature and man, arriving at a point to fully understand our beautiful and wise planet.
Because nature does not belong to us. We belong to nature.

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"Let me live where I want, on this side there is the city, that way there is the wilderness, and more often I leave the city and I forwarded in nature."

Henry David Thoreau, Walking, 1851



Calcarenite Series is a project intimately linked to nature, materials and traditions of Cosma Frascina's motherland: the Salento in southern Italy.

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The term "Calcareniti of Salento" encompass all those Plio-Pleistocene calcarenitic sediments known under the generic and improper name of "tufi". Usally they are found in the form of calcareniti or bioclastic limestones, medium fine-grained, colored from light gray to reddish, often porous and rich in microfossils of marine origin.
The area of Salento peninsula,since prehistoric times, has witnessed the growth in size and number of scattered through the territory quarries involved in the extraction of limestone. They appear as a typical open quarry, very similar to an amphitheater within which the material is directly cut into rectangular blocks of various sizes. Limestone is a traditional material, mainly used for small-sized construction works, being rather tender, unresistant to compression and very porous.
Currently most of the quarries are inactive although acting a pitiful role in major environmental everyday disasters being frequently used as sites of illegal dumping.

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"The old disused quarry, near the town where I grew up, has always exercised a strong attraction over me. Such a wild place to explore. During one of my recent explorations I found some material for a potential project: heaps of blocks of limestone, waste material from the old mining.
I was fascinated by the beauty of the material, observing how time and climate exposure could have shaped such chromatic changes and natural textures on the surface of the blocks. I noticed indeed that the arrangement of the blocks in the piles leads to different exposures to the elements for the material determining thus different levels of oxidation and formation of mosses and lichens on every single block.
At the beginning of the project I looked for suitable material, basing my choices on the aesthetic qualities of the surfaces and mainly relying on instinct to imagine and foresee the future shapes of objects from the raw material.
Selected materials then inspired me forms, gestures, and tools. Every single item has been carved using traditional techniques and tools: a hammer, a chisel, a saw, a rasp and lots of patience. I found necessary to approach primitively, in the sense of instinctive, no separation between what you think and what you do, and I instructed myself while trying and experimenting.

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All the pieces of the collection are characterized by a strong color contrast between the external "scab" and material came to light after processing. I thought it was appropriate to highlight these contrasts by applying a layer of white plaster or lime on some surfaces both for functional purposes and to facilitate the reading of the objects.
This looks evident in the "recesses" of the shelves, vases and bowls modular.
The arc lamp is composed of a calcarenitic base holding a copper tube at the end of which is placed a led spot operable with a touch switch. Exploiting the properties of oxidation of the copper I tried to establish continuity between the two materials through controlled oxidation, inspired by the shapes and distribution of lichens on the calcarenitic surfaces.
In the case of the bench a seat in tufo, formed by longitudinal cutting of a large ashlar, is supported by a structure made of iron rods, oxidized as well to simulate the action of the time on the material."

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The pieces in the collection Calcarenite Series, with their strong physical and intrinsic fragility, express man's need for a more meaningful and deep relationship with the Earth and the elements, establishing a tactile bridge toward the past, in a dimension where this becomes useful because gets present and alive. They dust off the archetype of the cave, both landscape and home, a primeval environment site with endless possibilities where the borders between the spaces seem uncertain and ambiguous giving birth to beautiful example of "interior landscapes".



Attracted by the undisputed charm of the mountain, we visited the exhibition Mountain Passion, that you should not miss. Until the 30 June 2015, at Marco Noire gallery in Turin.

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Olivo Barbieri, Alps, geographies and People, 2012, inkjet print on archival paper, 111x146,1 cm. Courtesy Marco Noire gallery, Turin

Mountain Passion is an extraordinary insight into the Alps through historical and contemporary photography.
Excellent alpine skier and photographer, Vittorio Sella opened up different paths and organised expeditions in areas which were unknown and had never been mapped.
With extremely heavy plates 40x50 and all the equipment he needed to emulsify, film and fix, Sella climbed the Alps, Caucaso, Asia, Alaska and Africa. He was a great photographer, for sure, but also a experimenter and artist.
In 1889 on a trip to central Caucaso he wrote in his diary:"...exact notions or admired views do not remain in our minds. We believe to have felt strong emotions; but we can only recall the physiognomy which held such fascination on our senses of what we saw in a confused manner. Photography helps us to choose, to be precise and to idealise the elements which imply an Alpine scene...". Visible in Turin a selection of about thirty images (albums, scenery) chosen with the precious help of Angelica Sella and the Sella non profit foundation.

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In order: Olivo Barbieri, Alps, geographies and People, 2012, inkjet print on archival paper, 111x146,1 cm;
Francesco Jodice, Mont Blanc, Just things, 2014, 100x130 cm; Francesco Jodice, Mont Blanc, Just things, 2014, 100x200 cm. Courtesy Marco Noire gallery, Turin

Alps-Geographies and People by Olivo Barbieri is the climber's perception of the mountains: peaks, cliffs, crevices, optical illusions and hallucinations in the geography.
In these pictures everything is true. The proportions and the shapes are real. Even the people and the positions in which they are found are real.
The climbers cross rocks, cliffs, summits in their attempt to find hidden truths in the silent maps of geography.
Mont Blanc. Just things by Francesco Jodice, are five stories on the Mount Blanc. The scenery described are paradigms of special cultural conditions. It is not the place in itself which expresses a value for the artist, but rather the atmospheric conditions of his social landscape.
Finally, Stefano Cerio that offers a completely unpublished view of known and common places with his photograph series Night Ski. At night...the ski slopes, the lifts, the mountain paths, become places in which our normal perception gets lost. The artist empties these tourist spaces of the human presence to reveal a surreal and harrowing reality. A intense look on the absence and the essence of contemporary scenery.

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In order: Stefano Cerio, Night Ski, 2012, inkjet print, 110x135 cm; Stefano Cerio, Night Ski, 2012, inkjet print, 110x135 cm; Vittorio Sella, Dent d'Hérens dalla vetta del Tiefenmatten,1883. Courtesy Marco Noire gallery, Turin

Olivo Barbieri, Stefano Cerio, Francesco Jodice, Vittorio Sella
Marco Noire gallery / Turin
Until 30 June 2015



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Maarten Vanden Eynde, Plastic Reef, 2008-2012, melted plastic debris from the worlds oceans, variable size. courtesy: Manifesta9, Genk, Belgium. Photo: Kristof Vranken

Maarten Vanden Eynde could be described as an archaeologist of super-modernity, even more than an artist sensitive to environmental and ecological themes. He is someone who is particularly interested in recording and, in a certain sense, cataloguing the era of Homo Stupidus Stupidus (2009). Indeed, when observing his work we find ourselves in front of a massive collecting of materials and information. The enormous amount of objects that contemporary society generates every day has become the centre of this Belgian artist's work.

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Maarten Vanden Eynde, Globe, 2013, metal, wood, plastic, 850x850 cm. In order, first image: Installation view in November 2013, photo Morgane Rul; second image: installation view in winter 2015, photo Hadrien Franceschini. Courtesy: Le Vent des Forêts, France

Maarten Vanden Eynde uses the leftovers of today's world as a pretext for making us reflect.
His constant aesthetic, formal, and conceptual elaboration of the theme of the plastic "remains" left behind by humanity prefigures the birth of a new breathing organ for modern palaeontology: plastic. The artist's creations hover between the present and the future. Once they are born they then give life to eccentric souvenirs (both large and small) for observation: presences ready for display in a museum which testify to mankind's earthly heritage. A modern collection of mirabilia from the latest generation that inevitably inspire the mind and testify to the devastation underway in the seas, rivers, and land.
But at the same time they are already part of the future, ready to be brought to light by the next generation of explorers who, in times far distant from our own, will have the task of tracing the origins of their own times.

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Maarten Vanden Eynde, Paleontologic Plastic, 2013, wooden cabinet and plastic, variable dimensions. Courtesy: Meessen De Clercq Gallery, Brussels. Photo: Meessen De Clercq Gallery and Maarten Vanden Eynde (for the detail)

And so Globe (2013) is a gigantic sphere, 8.5 metres in diameter, made from different types of discarded objects found among abandoned refuse. This enormous globe symbolises our constant need to collect objects and the related problem of how to get rid of them once they have lost their original function. Placed on the old landfill of the small village of Rupt devant Saint Mihiel in the north of France, in the future it will become a tourist attraction, a place to go to in order to reflect on human nature.
In 1000 Miles Away From Home (2009-2013), five small snow-globes symbolise the five major oceans within which, as a result of the currents, there are being formed genuine pockets of plastic detritus, well-known by now. By shaking the water inside the works, the disturbing phenomenon of plastic vortexes in the seas is reproduced.

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Maarten Vanden Eynde, 1000 Miles Away From Home, 2009-2013, Wood base, glass globe, distilled water, plastic particles. Courtesy: Meessen De Clercq Gallery, Brussels. Photo: Meessen De Clercq Gallery

66. 100% SAND


100% SAND is the project presented by Anabella Vivas on the occasion of the Fuori Salone 2015 in Milano.
The sand is transformed from a natural element to a design object; it merges with the glass and redefines the manner and purpose of its classic use.

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The project investigates, if and how design processes can take advantage of the integration of natural elements in terms of creation.
These collections of vases look for a balance between the materials, choosing the two most important in terms of history and percentage, with a high content of sand in their mixes; The concrete 60% and the glass with a 40%.
Taking a new approach to traditional production methods and existing materials; the blends of these materials where intervened; the concrete is crafted with the highest possible amount of sand, which makes possible blowing glass on a slightly cooler temperature than normal, through it, keeping the glass pieces and the concrete together.

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A much greater tension is added to the glass, because of the contrast in texture between its shiny skin and the rundowned, cooked appearance of the concrete. Each object comes with a narrative, and clearly reveals the traces of its making and process.
The objects are storytellers, to make an awareness of the amount of things we have around us containing sand, and stop thinking of it as weakly usable material. These results are first and foremost meant to be statements, processes and experiments where interaction is central, where new relationships are woven, and where the improbable is more than possible.

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For all images: 100% SAND, courtesy Anabella Vivas


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The Mirror Houses are a pair of holiday homes, set in the marvellous surroundings of the South Tyrolean Dolomites, amidst a beautiful scenery of appletrees, just outside the city of Bolzano. They were designed by architect Peter Pichler. The Mirror houses offer a unique chance to spend a beautiful vacation surrounded by contemporary architecture of the highest standards and the most astonishing Landscape and beauty nature has to offer.
The client's request was to design a structure for renting out as luxury holiday units. Guests have their small autonomous apartment and can fully enjoy the experience of living in the middle of nature. One of the main goals of the project was to create a place with total privacy.

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The new structure is oriented towards east with their private garden and an autonomous access and parking for the guests. Each unit contains a kitchen / living room as well as a bath and bedroom with big skylights that open to allow natural light and ventilation. A small basement serves for temporary storage.
The projects initial volume is split in 2 units that are slightly shifted in height and length in order to loosening the entire structure and articulating each unit.
Both units are floating on a base above the ground evoking lightness besides offering better views from their cantile- vering terraces to the impressive surrounding landscape. The volume opens towards east with a big glass facade that fades with curvilinear lines into the black aluminium shell. Mirrored glass on the west facade borders the garden of the client with the units and catches the surrounding panorama while making the units almost invisible. The mirrored glass is laminated with an UV coating preventing birds collision.
From certain views of the clients garden the old existing farmhouse is mirrored in the new contemporary architecture and is literally blending into it rather then competing against.

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All images: Mirror Houses, Bolzano, Italy. Courtesy Peter Pichler Architecture. Photo: Oskar Da Riz, Nicolò Degiorgis



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Minna Kantonen, Untitled [HEL1001], from the serie Urban Vistas, 2010. Courtesy Matèria gallery and the artist

Suggests something tangible and evokes organic sensations; actually Matèria is the name of the new gallery, which opened the 17 of April in Rome, directed by Niccolò Fano.
The project, in our view, starts very well, with an exhibition entitled On Landscape #2, entirely dedicated to the subject of landscape. The three arists involved are: Dafna Talmor, Emma Wieslander and Minna Kantonen, founders of On Landscape Project, thematic project that has in its DNA the purpose to investigate the aesthetic declinations, the formal aspects, the conceptual and relational implications related to the contemporary landscape dimension.
On Landscape #2, second step which is part of a more elaborate and complex project, allows to investigate in a deep way a research that begun on the occasion of the first edition of On Landscape #1, which was held at the Guest Projects of Yinka Shonibare in London, in March 2014. In this sense, the project promotes the development of further reflections on the representation of the landscape in relation to preconceived ideas, traditions and iconographic conventions frequently associated to this theme.
The three artists are joined by guest artist Marco Strappato, whose work is a thematically adjacent addition to their work.

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Minna Kantonen   Urban Vistas

In order: Emma Wieslander, Untitled #4, from the serie Wish You Were Here, 2010; Marco Strappato, Untitled, "Three empty frames", glass, found images, spray paint, 2013; Minna Kantonen, Untitled, from the serie Urban Viastas, 2009. Courtesy Matèria gallery and the artist

"Rooted in reality, Constructed Landscapes by Dafna Talmor focuses specifically on creating imaginary spaces in a representational and meta-linguistical manner that makes photography itself the subject of her investigation. The work of the London-based Israeli artist is a craft that sees her produce landscapes with strong Pictorialist references, created by combining cut out negatives, resulting in a purposed image printed in the darkroom. [...] Creating seemingly imaginary scenarios, embedded in a decomposed reality, the images are unhinged and rearranged to become something 'other'.
Swedish artist Emma Wieslander's Wish You Were Here constructs her 'landscape' through a perceptive and evocative game. What is more romantic than a sunset? How many of us have not stopped to admire the reddening sky and the sun disappearing below the horizon line?
In this project Wieslander's images leverage the duality between fiction and reality feeding on their contradictory values coexisting within a single evocative image.
In contrast, the series Urban Vistas by Minna Kantonen proposes a more traditional landscape aesthetic, one that is decidely less abstract than Talmor and Wieslander's approach. The London-based Finnish photographer's practice investigates nature within urban environments, whereby green sites coexist with bricks and concrete. In Urban Vistas, trees find their home on paved hills instead of soil, marked by the incessant signs of urbanisation.
Working with installation, Marco Strappato makes use of photographs, collages and digital techniques to delve deeper into the subject matter by using images belonging to consumer culture as his starting point. Driven by the process of manipulation and re-elaboration that places the final results within the panorama of contemporary aesthetics, Strappato draws inspiration from the cauldron of images that - through magazines, television and newspapers - bombard our daily view. These images are then reused to engage in a silent yet critical discussion with the viewer about his perception of the world, potentially buffered from the texts imposed by society." *

*The text is a an excerpt from an essay by Francesca Orsi

Dafna Talmor    Constructed Landscapes

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Dafna Talmor, UntitledUntitled (BR-1414-1); Untitled (EA-131313-4), from the serie Constructed Landscapes II, 2014. Courtesy Matèria gallery and the artist

A central element of On Landscape Project consists of a library of self-published, hand-made or short run artists books, relating to the project ethos. The 44 publications included in On Landscape #2 were sourced from an open call and selected by a judging panel formed by Chiara Capodici and Fiorenza Pinna of 3/3, Gianpaolo Arena of Landscape Stories, Matèria's gallery director Niccolò Fano and the On Landscape Project team. The book display aims to provide a platform for wider debates around landscape through a diverse range of practitioners' work.

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Matèria gallery / Rome
Until the 16 May 2015



by Marinella Paderni


Atlas Italiae is a photographic journey that took place over two years through a world that no longer exists. It is the geography of ghostly places that exist in an invisible Italy, one far removed from the news. Here are uninhabited villages that for decades seem not even to have existed on a map. Buildings, devoured by wild vegetation and industrial archaeologies that seem mummified in the time of "no longer", tell us of an Italy that resists and survives despite the apparent stasis of the present. They exist in the oblivion that takes the place of human neglect and models things of an incredible and diverse beauty that, seen against the light, reveal the potential of the Italian landscape.
In Silvia Camporesi's work the veil of anonymity is torn apart to reveal the soul of places frozen in the mists of a general amnesia. Here her eye goes beyond the mere recording of a situation: it is aimed at registering the tension of an Italy at the extremities, one in which we glimpse enchantment even in places where we thought it had disappeared.
What is the life of forgotten things like? Are these deserted villages, abandoned buildings, and lost objects only empty shells that dissolve under the effects of the weather, or do they have the gift of continuing to exist apart from man?


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Silvia Camporesi allows us to enter a vanished time in which we can experience the emptiness, one that mankind has produced by losing the original sense of these places. These are spaces and objects that are no longer characterised by those who experience them, and that have changed their nature: forms receptive to time and its potential existence, to be explored with the senses, and to perceive what Marcel Proust tried to convey to us through his search for lost time - the resonance of the past as the continuity of Time, a solid base in order not to fall into the digital amnesia of an instantaneous present, one that is indistinct, full of information yet lacking in experience and memories. A digital present that has no shadings, tones, or colours because it consists of a different material: not of dreams, imaginings or rȇverie, but of telepresence, bits, and speed. A kind of presence that never goes beyond the "here and now", one that is blind with respect to the past and the arrival of the future.
Instead, in the involuntary memory of things left in a ghostlike condition, we can experience a recovery of time. In the last chapter of Le temps retrouvé in his Recherche, Proust wrote, "Legs and arms are full of memories in hibernation". Objects that are neglected and left in place as though it were still yesterday, scabby walls and mouldy plasterwork, the skeletons of buildings without any function: these are the memories in hibernation that the places have in their limbs, that escape any kind of control or alienation, and are fundamental for the generation of the temporal continuity that is the skeleton of our body and the world, according to Proust.
But they are also the shadows of human forgetfulness that speak of how oblivion and memory play with time by interweaving and exchanging roles. History teaches us the need to forget so that oblivion can lighten a memory that is at times too heavy or dramatic to bear.

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In the artist's photographs, the image of abandonment takes on a new meaning by suggesting a different outlook on reality: the ruins of our modernity have necessarily been left to die far from the public view because man today fears being in contact with his own mortality. By allowing the things devised and constructed by man himself to perish hidden from daily view, twentieth century man can postpone the idea of his disappearance by concentrating on the telepresence of a digital world which records everything in the form of a document, image, or video. The memory of the world, which we are unable to keep in our body or places we frequent, is relegated to the invisibility of codes and files.
Permeated by the metaphysics of the sublime, Silvia Camporesi's photography captures the essence of ghostly spaces, not as a foreshadowing of death, but as the promise of a life that is expressed only through the digital aura of a world redoubled and modified by technology.
In the discovery of a world that avoids any telepresence, landscape is finally shown for what it is: a form of knowledge of the intimate value of humanity and its presence in the world.

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In order to avoid a digital homogenisation that always offers us the same anodyne taste of things, the artist updates her photos by acting on their formal processes, on the visual expressiveness of memory and identity. The hand colouring of the photos, previously printed in black and white, is reminiscent of the patina of time which does not vanish with the past but continues to exist in the dust of the present. The natural pigments offer something extra: an authentic beauty that digital photography cannot yet clone.
Her use of the ancient Oriental art of folding paper - kirigami - is something unusual and singular in the world of photography. Yet for Silvia Camporesi reality needs a greater physical body, a concrete consistency, if it is not to be alienated from itself and disappear. Her photos are magically cut up and recomposed into a new three-dimensionality that alludes to the physicality of the things and places that we are looking at. In this work, not just the sense of vision is enhanced, but so too is the tactility and surface sensuousness of the world; photography is thus transformed into an art language that will never be homogenised with the digitalisation of beauty and the stereotyping of identity.

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For all images: Silvia Camporesi, Atlas Italiae, courtesy the artist



"Milan is a grey city. Essentially, it's a uniform casting of asphalt and cement. Bringing some colour in its streets is a very hard work."
The photographic project Broken Flowers, by the young artist Michele Ravasio, is dedicated to the many and various flowers kiosks spread in each neighbourhood of the city.

It tells about an impossible challenge, lost already at the beginning, against a hostile environment, and in the good season against heat and sun too, which risk to burn flowers: fragile moments of "urban nature" . For that reason the flower sellers have, for more than half of the year, to find any possible solution to cover carefully their merchandise through awnings and cloths of any sort, of any pattern and fabric, that they move depending on the sun movement.
Shreds that give an often picturesque appearance to the small huts, making them as alien presences, integrated part of an urban landscape, at the same time elements which are untied from the surrounding environment.

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Similar, furthermore, is the state of the ones that, besides flowers, are beyond those tents. 90% of them are young men from Bangladesh who do not speak Italian and manage hardly to understand and to hint the nowadays very few clients.
Three marginal realities that collapsed at the same time: the first one is represented by a nature as a presence which is struggling to survive in the urban context of Milano; the second, represented by complex lives which are the result of the postmodern exodus; the third, sad and today well-known that is constituted by the disappearance of small commercial activities in favour of the large scale retail trade.

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Michele Ravasio, Broken Flowers2014. Courtesy the artist
This news was published in the context of spontaneous reports that come to Platform Green. For more information about the sending process of your project or work, please, go to the "Contacts" area.



Acta Herbarium is a project by the Venezuelan artist Daniella Isamit Morales both for the show "Les sentiers battus sont pleins de fictions endormies" (which recently took place in the Filatoio, Caraglio, curated by a.titolo) and as part of the training and residency period of the "Acteurs transculturels / Creatività giovanile: linguaggi a confronto" project.

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Dicksonia Anctartica, botanic slab of the plant

Acta Herbarium collects together a series of plants, still living in the transalpine areas, the ancestors of which date back to the lower Triassic period. The work is an installation/garden of conifers, ground cedars, cycas, and ferns, and has the aim of describing a primordial landscape.
The idea of a Triassic garden came about during a journey to the Verdon gorges. When crossing the plateau, you can see aquatic flowers on the surface on the river. The thought of the Alps submerged by the sea two hundred million years ago, together with these plants that are still there, aroused the curiosity of the artist who imagined what it would be like if the water conserved a hidden landscape consisting of particular plants, perhaps the oldest in the world. This gave rise to her research, one undertaken in close collaboration with the botanic gardens, Turin; the Verde Antico association; the Naturmuseum Südtirol, Bolzano; and the regional museum of natural sciences, Turin.

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Daniella Isamit Morales Filatoio di Caraglio giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Daniella Isamit Morales, Acta Herbarium, 2015, installation view at Filatoio museum in Caraglio (Cn). Photo Nadia Pugliese

Imagining that the present Gardetta plateau, in Valle Maira, was a coastline with small islands that existed in the Jurassic age - and it was here in 2008 that the footprints of the Ticinosuchus ferox dinosaur were found - Daniella Isamit Morales has chosen the vegetal fossils that were found near to the transalpine areas. Taking, for example, the list of fossils present on Mount San Giorgio, between Italy and Switzerland, where the remains of the same kind of dinosaur have been found, the artist pinpointed, and selected from, an index of plants that make up the heart of the project: Araucaria Heterophylla, Dicksonia Antarctica, Cycas Revoluta, Zamia Skinneri, Encephalartos Arenarius, Selaginella, Isoetes, Equisetum, Lycopodium Carinatum, Wollemia, and Encephalartos Princeps.

Cycas revoluta giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Dicksonia Antarctica giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Araucaria Heterophylla giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Cycas revoluta, Dicksonia Antarctica, Araucaria Heterophylla. Photo Nadia Pugliese. Courtesy the artist

In converstation with Daniella Isamit Morales:

Andrea Lerda
The idea of this primordial garden came to you on a journey to the Verdon gorges, but what was it that stimulated you to pay attention to this particular subject
Daniella Isamit Morales
During that journey there came together various ideas that had emerged on previous travels during my residency.
For some time I had been thinking about such concepts as "tradition" and "origins", noting how this last seemed to come to the fore when time begins to have its effects. Given the impossibility of blocking and defining a specific time in which origins "come about", I began to notice two contrasting aspects: on the one hand, a completely fluid cultural phenomenon in which origins inhabit a continuous present in constant expansion; on the other, a gesture of resistance, an attempt to "save" time by freezing it in a utopian origin.
When I discovered that Verdon preserved archeological remains from various geological periods, I was boating on the lake of this plateau and had observed plants that floated on the water and disappeared towards the muddy depths. I imagined that underneath me was a landscape "conserved" by those waters, blocked in an indefinite time, a landscape in which we could find the most ancient plants on the planet.
So I began to ask myself if there was the remote possibility that certain still existent species of plants had already existed during a remote geological period, without the presence of human life but even further back in time.

1. Araucaria heterophylla 2. Encephalartos arenarius 3. Cycas revoluca 4. Zamia skinnery 5. Selaginella 6. Equiseti 7. Dicksonia antartcica 8. Lycopodium carinatum


Why gardens, and why such a distant natural past?
To go back to what I was saying. When I was thinking about origins with respect to a relationship with time, I noticed the correspondence between these plants and that idea. I thought of the first plants to have appeared on the planet as living matter able to absorb into itself a wide arc of time with respect to the other elements present on the planet. For me the most natural gesture was to group them together in an installation which, metaphorically, could be considered as a "garden", a garden-diorama that could function as an installation and could contain this time.

Is there a relationship between this archaic landscape and modern man, or is this purely an argument linked to a detailed research into species that are all but dead?
Yes, there is a deep relationship between the distant past and the way in which mankind decides to recount history to himself, and this relationship brings to light a new level of analysis of the work.
It was fascinating to attempt to describe a scenario that had not been contaminated by the human eye and presence. The distant past contains this characteristic, this probability, in itself, and both the methodological research into paleobotany and imagination are obliged to face up to it. In the sector of paleobotany, one trace is linked to the next by inventions and speculation. In a certain sense, culture has a similar origin: we invent and transmit concepts which are repeated by others who call them "quotations" and, when this model is repeated over time, we give it the name "culture". This also happens backwards in time: in fact we construct the past by using what surrounds us, and this is the way in which we construct dioramas. My work is not really a genuine diorama but an attempt to make explicit the relationship between a distant past and the view of contemporary man.

Arenarius encephalortos giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante pianta Zamia skinneri giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Arenarius encephalortos, Zamia skinneri. Photo Nadia Pugliese. Courtesy the artist

What does such an archaic nature mean for you? What sensations or dimensions do you want to evoke in the viewers?
To face up to a nature that is so ancient has a very deep meaning for me, one that has allowed me, perhaps in a sober and non-rhetorical manner, to sketch out an imagery linked to the concept of "primitive", one often referred to symbolism and to exotic myths which are also often then subject to clichés and stereotypes.
This is an attempt to recount a primordial landscape, an object that suspends time and which, by making that gesture, "shifts" its geographical origin: there are, in fact, plants whose antecedents are to be found in transalpine zones which, however, today can only be found in Costa Rica, Panama, and South Africa.
At first sight it is probable that the hints I started from are not evident. The title, Acta Herbarium, could be considered as a tautological concept, a truth to be accepted and which can no longer be questioned: there is a title that leads to plants, and in the installation there are plants. I would like the project to stimulate questions rather than be limited to the passive satisfaction of curiosity.

Equiseti giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante pianta Lycopodium carinatum giardino primordiale piante preistoricheTriassico Inferiore fossili di piante

Equiseti, Lycopodium carinatum. Photo Nadia Pugliese. Courtesy the artist