Broken Nature, the XXII Triennale curated by Paola Antonelli, will show how design can regenerate the gap between man and nature. And between people and human values. In Milan, from March 1 through September 1, 2019
There is a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that came to my mind yesterday, during the first symposium on Broken Nature, the XXII Triennale curated by the MoMA Senior Curator Paola Antonelli. «Time is out of joint». I came across it again a few days ago on the entrance stairway of the National Gallery of Rome, and for the first time I realized how newsworthy it was today. , the exhibition that will occupy the spaces of the Triennale in Milan from 1 March to 1 September 2019.
A collective research
But Hamlet’s sentence ends: “O cursèd spite, that ever I was born to set it right!” Because when things really go upside down, tradition tells how the hero, alone, takes on the task of saving the situation. Not so, however, for Paola Antonelli. .
Design has a great task
Because it is precisely the design community, according to Paola Antonelli who should take charge of “putting things back together”. By working with a multi-disciplinary and open source methodology: not by chance the one that is typical of science and technology. Doing together, to do better.
The first symposium
Involving the audience and enlarging the debate is an operation that culminated with the first symposium at the Triennale on the Broken Nature themes. It has staged different skills: from forensic oceanography to art, from robotics to biology. But it is not the only means to participate in the exhibition’s creative process. «When I organize an exhibition, I build a website where the public is able to follow the curatorial developments, and participate actively», explained Antonelli. And it is commendable that what usually happens behind closed doors is visible and debatable with the public. Online, therefore, through the site, and with scheduled meetings such as that of today, with free access for all.
The XXII Triennale will provide thinking tools
. And not just theoretically. In fact, the curator promises, her purpose is to involve everyone. «To provide every visitor of the XXII Triennale with a clear idea of what he or she can do, as a citizen, to contribute to change. To reconstruct the broken relationship with nature».
Broken Nature and Milan’s ambitions
Staging a star curator like Paola Antonelli is in line with the ambitions of the Triennale and Milan to be at the forefront on issues that are often not addressed by our design culture. Such as mass extinctions and biodiversity, the re-design of the landscape and territorial or marine boundaries so they do not become weapons for annihilating individuals. And expectations are obviously very high.
Design Takes On Human Survival
Also because the impression is that the purpose of the exhibition goes well beyond the ecological theme. And that . A theme of dramatic current affairs in the United States as well as in Italy. It is no coincidence that the ambitious sub-title of Broken Nature is Design Takes On Human Survival.
The real challenge will be to engage the public
The challenge for Antonelli and her team is therefore enormous. And it is not yet clear how an exhibition will succeed : not so much in facing it but in making it appealing and comprehensible for a wide audience. Nor to engage those who by their nature are led to see this kind of experimentations as elucubrations from intellectuals elites.
Design and ethical choices
The hope is that these global and complex issues will be articulated into projects that are understandable and close to people. Explaining their concrete consequences in terms of quality of life, of everyone. , within the reach of citizens. To which one could then turn to continue the discussion well beyond the temporal boundary of the exhibition. And of course the dream would be the emergence, from Broken Nature, of a clear model on how to manage the complexity of the eco-system in which we move. Because if, as some of the speakers have amply explained, . That the Triennale could stand for.