2100: a sea odyssey deals with climate change consequences and what sea level rise means at the time of the Anthropocene, era in which the action of man is the main geological force. Not only did we design solutions to contrast risks, but we are proposing a new way of looking a world crossing a specific age. The history of the impermanence of the territory allows us to recognize that man’s instinct for survival has made possible enormous transformations, perhaps even greater than those caused by catastrophic events- the one destructive to the natural landscapes that host them, the others towards the action of man. Above all else we have not abandoned an optimistic attitude, so we are not talking about extinction, but we are thinking about transformations and evolution, designing a possible future scenario of 2100.
The series of illustration is the chosen vehicle for challenging conceptions of time, testing future scenarios, but especially for informing people to the risks that involves all of us, but that still have not a big impact on our conscience and on our everyday life. Crossing a time-line that starts from the past until the 2100, the series of illustrations want to tell a story focusing on the city of Ravenna as a sample city, since it is strongly subjected to the consequences of the acceleration of the climate change and in particular to the risk of the sea level rise.
The illustrated history is used as a tool to learn, to sensitize people and to raise awareness, aiming to catch the sight of children, students, adults till elderly man.
What prompted the project?
We focused at our Age and its own failure. In 40 years the 10% of world glaciers has been lost. The total dimension corresponds to 10 times the Italian surface. The main cause behind this disaster is the increase of weather events, both in frequency and disruptive power. This environmental crisis has its own roots in the action of man, who has been able to mutate the Earth. But who cares? In a historical age that has sometimes been called a second Renaissance for the diffusion of information, it seems a paradox that there are very few people mobilized to avoid an acceleration in climate change. The realization of responsibility is a necessary fact; we think it is time to care.
How do you define the notion of Anthropocene?
Anthropocene is the era in which we live. Anthropocene gives us images of the territory that lead to a sort of hiding of nature in which we can see its reappearance as a disturbing object from another time because of its interaction with artificial objects. Understanding that we are living in the Anthropocene means acting a shift in the point of view through which we will not be able to see natural and artificial objects as independent.
What role do and should we as architects play within the current environmental crisis?
Design must bring attention to the fact that climate change is a large-scale crisis affecting humanity. The Architect must understand the reality of the climate crisis, taking into account that we are in front of something that is no longer under our control and he must try to talk about this Sublime to the community, making it feel a sense of loss. We can tell what is happening through design, promoting resourcefulness and observation with project interventions that make legible the changes which that the city and landscapes are facing. At the same time, the Architect can offer future scenarios based on data and scientific research, showing what are the risks that will affect us and what are the ways of responding to them on a human scale.
What informed the illustration as a vehicle through which to speculate on future possible scenarios?
The main purpose in choosing the illustration as a tool is to make easy to understand an architectural and landscape project that is talking about a possible future scenario. It is a photograph of a possible future that with the use of science fiction, its colors and a lot of details can capture the sight of a heterogeneous audience and, like all visual arts, can arouse immediate emotions towards the environment, more than an article or literary work could do. In our opinion, it is an active art vehicle to draw the attention on specific deep issues.
How and to what extent can these be read as singular images or as belonging to one narrative? Ultimately what is this narrative and its aim?
Each illustration speaks describes a specific theme and fact so it can be read unrelated to its story. We imagine each illustration as a poster with a title and subtitle to be met on the street which, like the advertising of a new phone, makes propaganda about what is happening in the world. The narrative of the series of illustrations crosses a time-line that starts from the past until the 2100, and want to tell a story focusing on the city of Ravenna as a sample city, since it is strongly subjected to the consequences of the acceleration of the climate change and in particular to the risk of the sea level rise. The aim is to raise questions and promote reflective ideas and that people become aware of these issues: the feelings provoked by the works can have an impact and lead to action or at least to interest. We believe this is a good reason to make art, with the same goal of the Street-Art of Banksy about the Global Warming in London and the works of Olafur Eliasson.
You talk about the images as a tool to learn, how important is the image within architectural discourse?
Architecture has always been described through images and drawings. Architecture relates with the problems of its time and through the tools of its time. We purpose in this case the same process: to narrate through images a design process that deals with problems of a political, economic and social nature. Graphic clarity is today one of the most powerful tools that we have to express our ideas.
What is the power of the book and websites as a medium through which to share and distribute knowledge? We strongly believed necessary to find a proper tool to inform people and to raise awareness to the risks that involves all of us, since they still do not have a big impact on our conscience and on our everyday life-style. We needed to find an attractive tool, that could arise interest for a wide audience. Since the images are the first representation of reality, we thought an illustrated book was the stronger medium to tell a story, to make it easier readable and understandable, to catch the sight of children, students, adults and even elderly man. The power of a website is that it does not have any border and it can be share all around the world.
What are your hopes for the project? How do you see this developing?
One of the main goal of the project is undoubtedly the communication of a story – the story of the Emilia-Romagna region – that can rise a sensibility towards our planet and its future. We started by bringing this story to the Politecnico di Milan, thanks to an Advanced Landscape Design Course in which the students are required to design a possible urban plan starting from the scenario we purpose in our thesis work. We would clearly like to publish the work and exhibit it in such a way as to reach the widest possible audience.
What is for you the architect's most important tool?
We believe that the main tool for an Architect is the lens, made out by technical and theoretical knowledge, to deeply read the context and the reality that surround us. Supported by the use of creativity, the role of the Architect is to find designing answer to improve the quality of the life of people and of the environment.
Monica Moschini, Italy 1993, in 2019 graduated cum laude in Architecture at Politecnico di Milano. In 2018 she studied in Universidad de Navarra in Spain. She is an architect and a self-taught illustrator but she also had experiences in the field of set design and landscape architecture during the period at Land Italia. She is currently a tutor in Advanced Landscape Design Studio in Politecnico di Milano.
Alessandra Paparcone, born 1994 in Italy, graduated from Politecnico di Milano with a master degree in Architecture, she also studied in ETSAM, Madrid. In 2018 she joined baukuh, Milan where she has been involved in, among others, International Competition for Scalo Farini and Scalo San Cristoforo. Currently she is working at baukuh and she is a tutor in Advanced Landscape Design Studio in Politecnico di Milano.
Francesca Porro, born 1994 in Italy, is an architect based in Milan. In 2019 she graduated cum laude in at Politecnico di Milano. In 2017 she studied at the TU Delft (NL). During her studies she had the chance to work as landscape architect and urban designer at Openfabric Milan for different works and competitions. She is currently working at Openfabric and as teaching assistant in Politecnico di Milano.