The Garden of Eden is no moreis the expression used by Sir David Attenborough as he was given, in Davos on 21 January 2019, the Crystal Award, a prestigious award for artists who are committed to improving the world. With these few words the legendary naturalist and science populariser set an image, both perfect and dreadful, of the end of the long period of climatic stability that allowed humans to settle, cultivate and create civilisation, the Holocene, and the advent of the Anthropocene epoch.
Indeed, in the present condition, permanently marked by human action, the stage of an environmental acceleration that we experience every day, there is an increasingly popular idea that does not consider a garden as a protected area and perfect place where nature has been tamed, but as space, both metaphorical and real, of cultivation and care, of ecological and social relations, of direct experience and interaction with nature, of well-being and creativity, of civic activism and aesthetic resistance. A welcoming and experimental place, ideally always open, the garden that Ippolito Pizzetti (1926-2007) loved and defended, tirelessly committed to promoting a culture of design based primarily on knowledge and respect for nature, the only possible way of finding one’s own «access to the world». Gardens reflect the society that produces them, its tensions and contradictions, and at this time they indicate a behavioural course tending towards a more authentic perspective on nature, beyond the wild consumption of resources, but also beyond the myth of uncontaminated and untouchable nature.
The work of Fondazione Benetton on landscapes and gardens continues to be inspired by this cultural heritage, by the natural inclinationof Pizzetti, the great landscape painter and inventor of gardens. This year, the foundation will dedicate its series of end-of-summer talks to shared thoughts on the inevitable implications of the environmental acceleration we are experiencing on landscape and landscape projects. Special attention should be paid to the assumption of responsibility that all of us – as citizens, designers, scholars, administrators and especially politicians – are called to face.
Naturale inclinazione is an initiative of Fondazione Benetton, by Simonetta Zanon.
All events are admission free.