di Secondome

The starting point is set for March 1st, when art, design and installations from twenty-six Conuntries from all over the world will be presented to the public, after months of hype that made “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival” the cultural event per excellence of 2019. It’s the XXII International Exhibition of Milan Triennale. A show signed by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the Architecture and design department at New York MoMA and a high-profile team that can count on names such as Ala Tannir, Laura Meran and Erica Petrillo as curators, Laura Agnesi and Marco Sammicheli to guarantee an international panel of artists and Matilde Cassani of Studio Folder for the set up.

Capsula Mundi, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel

Broken Nature’s concept is set to, as anticipated by Antonelli herself in the past few days, reach the objective to break certainties with the same strength that climate change is putting into melting glaciers and opening humanity to a new destiny. The focus is on the “broken” nature, on the mankind’s place on the Planet, on the fate of Heart, irreversibly destined to extinction. “It’s a certainty that we’re going extinct” explains Antonelli, “It’s just a matter of time. Design can walk us toward extinction, trying to slow down the process. Designers love constraints and extinction is an excellent one”.

Llareta #0308-2B31 (Up to 3,000 years old; Atacama Desert, Chile), from The Oldest Living Things in the World by Rachel Sussman

While reversing certainties and ideas, questioning anthropocentrism and its corollaries strengthened by time, Antonelli also defies lexical clichés. She speaks about the exhibition as a “sustainability festival”, however she admits not to love the word sustainability and to prefer “restorative”. She claims that the challenge design has to face is to walk us toward extinction ethically, but also in an “elegant and sexy” way.

Copyright Pnat s.r.l., 2018

In Antonelli’s vocabulary, design and nature are political entities. In her geography, the epicenter is not the West, but countries such as Brazil or whole Continents like Africa, where science, technology and the designers experiment on approaches and solutions to emergencies that are more likely to present themselves in these areas of the world. The feeling of urgency is, indeed, another focus, to “leave the visitor with the idea that we must think and live with the awareness of a long time, the one that takes to our behaviors show their consequences on the Planet”. That’s why, for example, among the main character of Broken Nature, there is the Canadian Kelly Jazvak that with her Plasticglomerates focuses on new fossils, which are the plastic remains that don’t decompose and are the inerasable traces we’re leaving for the next generations, equivalent of the ones left for us by the cave men. Big or small scale, cosmic and daily overlap and mix in a set up that promises to be a huge guide to present and future, in a sea of possibilities with only one way out. It’s going to be a XXII Triennale that will look at design more as a tool that a content. And maybe that’s why we already like it this much.