Some notes on Towards the XXIII International Exhibition

, June 2, 2020

We publish some notes by President of Triennale Milano Stefano Boeri to introduce the themes of the second event of Towards the XXIII International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, that will take place on June 11, from 4pm to 8pm.

Stand apart to understand
We owe James Lovelock – who will be 101 years old next July 26 – the intuition of Gaia, the scientific representation of our planet as a unique and integrated ecosystem (see Hans Ulrich Obrist's interview with Lovelock and Maturana). An intuition that was born when Lovelock was studying, as an astrophysicist scientist, the possibility of living on Mars (and that was taken up in the workshop of March 4 by the astrophysicist Ersilia Vaudo Scarpetta). 


A new Anthropocentrism
Decentralizing our point of view, looking at the earth from space, has helped us to understand how to rebalance our relationship with nature and other living species. It has helped us to understand that life flows seamlessly among all the plant and animal species of planet Earth (as reiterated in his speech by the philosopher Emanuele Coccia). The great challenge opened up by the pandemic, but also earlier by the climate crisis and global warming, therefore poses a problem of species responsibility not only with respect to the risk of extinction, but with respect to the complex of life forms present in this part of the universe.

Moon Lunar Orbiter-Lunar Orbiter II © NASA

Fragility as awareness
The outcome of this pandemic, as well as the perception of a deep, consubstantial relationship with other forms of life on planet Earth, has conveyed to us a deep feeling of fragility. Fragility not only as risks of infections arising from other spill-over processes, but also in the sense of the inability of our species to face the challenges arising from the climate and environmental crisis according to a common, coherent and effective geopolitics. Fragility not only of health policies, but in general of national states and international institutions to establish practices and regulations able to deal with the emergencies of the pandemic, also from the point of view of the rights and duties of citizens (as the jurist Adolfo Ceretti reminded us in his text here).

The legacy of the Pandemic
The last few months, which have made the use of the Net and digital communication tools pervasive, therefore open a new challenge not only to politics, but above all to cultural institutions, called to imagine a new world. A challenge that first of all concerns the new forms of "being together" in conditions of forced separation of bodies (a theme studied by the disciplines of Proxemics and anticipated by Roland Barthes' workshops at the Collège de France in 1976) but also the risks of an excessive digital control over behavior and surveillance that reduces the right to privacy and individual freedom.

A New Culture for a New World
The spread of the contagion in the world risks leaving heavy traps in the economic and social condition of thousands of operators in the cultural sector and opening abysses in the sustainability of many of the most important international cultural institutions. An unacceptable risk if we consider how contemporary societies today have an extreme need for the ability of artists, designers and creative people to imagine solutions to produce culture and face a new phase in the life of cities and territories of the planet. A challenge that cannot be solved only with an adaptive logic of the spaces of museums and institutions to the post-pandemic phase, but that requires the invention of new exhibition formats and new ways of public perception and use of art.

A transnational movement 
After the extraordinary experience of the XXII International Exhibition curated by Paola Antonelli entitled Broken Nature, which anticipated many of today's current issues in the world, Triennale Milano began on March 4 a wide-ranging reflection on the future of Life on Planet Earth and the forms of contemporary cultural production, which aims at gathering around itself a selection of the best international institutions of culture, art, design, scientific research. The aim is to help create a network of places and institutions that may be willing to promote the vast and cosmopolitan School of the Future that humanity needs today.

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