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Interview with Andreco, Climate Art Project

By Yo Nishimura, Global Shapers Rome Hub

Today we talk to Andreco, and we set sail towards a dialogue between art and science. The focus of this interview of the Heroes Never Sleep project will be Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) “Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and facilities for all sanitation “

Foto: Samantha Casolari Design: Filippo Mola

How would you present yourself in a nutshell to those who don’t know you?

I always hope that my works speak for me but if I had to describe myself in words I would define myself as a visual artist. I create works influenced by contemporary environmental themes but also by scientific, anthropological and social research. I am a visual artist with a past as a researcher and environmental engineer on the sustainable use of natural resources.

So Art and Science coexist in you, what do they mean for you?

For me, Art and Science are two researches that for many years in my past went in parallel, but then they completely overlapped. They have two different methodologies that within me have created communicating vessels that converge, creating transdisciplinary works.

When did it occur to you to devote yourself full time to your art project and why was it so imperative for you to focus all your energy on it?

For years I have carried out the two works in parallel. As an engineer I liked what I did, what I did, it gave me satisfaction and in a certain sense also recognition. Nonetheless, I found myself spending sleepless nights painting, even though I had to go to the office in the morning. I understood there that this was an urgency. Not even my will, but a necessity that I could not do without in life. It was inevitably to become my Job.

And I must say that in the end I had to sleep somehow.

Andreco, installation view — “Back to the Land” Show, a cura di Andrea Lerda, courtesy Studio La Città, Verona, Foto: Pelicula Snc di Sereni Michele Alberto e Barbuio Beatrice.

In your themes there is the influence of science, of environmental themes, among these the theme of water is very recurrent in your works, where does this intimacy come from?

I am very attached to this topic because even as an engineer I was very interested in the topic of water resources. I was involved in international cooperation projects on water supply in both urban and rural areas. Both as an engineer and as an artist, I find this theme very important. In a certain way, water is the most important thing of all, the first source of life, a necessity that unites us all. Water is an inalienable right for anyone, regardless of nationality, social status, economic availability. It is a fundamental theme on which I have made many works and research.

What is your main message on this issue?

Water is a right for everyone. And there are still many people in the world who do not have access to water in adequate quality and quantity that allow you a dignified life. This is not acceptable.

Andreco — Climate 05 — Reclaim Air and Water, production: Star+ India Foundation e Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Delhi, India

What distinguishes the language of visual art from other methods of dissemination on the importance of environmental sustainability?

The language of contemporary art is different from the scientific, political or media communication language. It is a less direct language, less explicit and in a certain sense more ambiguous. But at the same time, it touches the deepest chords of human feeling, stimulating the sensations and perceptions of the observer. It is therefore important to say that contemporary art does not communicate, nor does it propaganda, but creates further questions. For me the work of art is “open”, it is completed in the observer, who interprets it according to his experience and cultural heritage. For this, the artistic language is different from other languages. The philosopher Gilles Deleuze sees a fundamental affinity between the work of art and the act of resistance.

The artist also has the task of taking things “elsewhere”, to show them from another point of view. The role of the good artist is to be able to talk about the future or at least to show possible future scenarios.

Instead, what distinguishes you as an artist within this language?

Differences may arise from my dual scientific-artistic training. My work has as its primary necessity that of starting from very solid scientific studies. I have great rigor on the contents from which I start. From these foundations I then take a leap to create a vision, which is the work of art. The springboard that allows the leap from science to this vision is artistic practice.

It is very interesting what you said about your works, that is, that they are addressed to different viewers, and then complemented with their knowledge and conscience. So your works appeal to everyone right?

Yes, right. I believe that art should not be intended only for experts in the sector, but for everyone. This does not mean simplifying or seeking easy populisms, but allocating the complex contents of an artistic research to all. Public art, art in the public space, has this great potential and responsibility to address everyone, even those who would never enter a museum, and do it for free, on the street. In this way, art can reach different people, from all walks of life and social conditions, ages and backgrounds. This has always interested me a lot, “art for many and not for a few”.

Dettaglio — Andreco — Climate 05 — Reclaim Air and Water, production: Star+ India Foundation e Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Delhi, India

what are your future projects? Can you tell us about a project you are working on in particular?

Since 2015 I have started this multidisciplinary project between art, science and the environment which is called Climate Art Project. An itinerant project that, through contemporary art and public art, talks about the causes and consequences of climate change and possible methods of mitigation and adaptation. The project has several phases, one more of denouncing the situation and the need to act, a more constructive one, which thinks about solutions and good practices, and another phase that creates moments of debate and comparison at all levels. I work in different cities with institutions, the scientific community, associations and other local and international partners. In every work there is always an artistic, scientific, environmental component and the involvement of civil society.

Climate Art Project was born in Paris in conjunction with the Climate Agreement, then it was in Venice to talk about the rising of the seas, in India to talk about air pollution and rivers, in Puglia to talk about desertification, in Portugal to talk of fires and heat waves and now in Rome, my city. Together with a multidisciplinary and always evolving team, I am carrying out a long-term project on rivers, wetlands and parks. The goal is to enhance the natural capital and urban system of Rome through art. One of the last activities I directed was the Tiberina Parade of the Beginnings for the New Year in Rome. A collective performance, a tribute to the Tiber river, to its urban, social and ecosystem service. The parade is also an open request for the protection and regeneration of the river. I believe that taking care of the river and green spaces and maintaining good environmental quality is essential for the well-being of the city and its citizens.

Andreco — Parata Tiberina degli inizi, Produzione: Fondazione Romaeuropa in collaborazione con Teatro dell’Opera, l’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, per la Festa di Roma 2020 di Roma Capitale.

Speaking of rivers and water, as you know SDG 6 “Ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” is part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Starting from your experience, how can we spread awareness around this theme? What is missing and what can we do?

In cities in the West it is difficult to experience what a lack of water means. When this happens, its importance is immediately understood. I have seen this when working on environmental engineering projects in Brazil and the Sahara.

Raising the awareness of civil society is important but unfortunately the problem is also political. We need a renewal of economic and ecological thinking. We need an economic model that takes into account not only Gross Domestic Product but also natural capital and the importance of ecosystem services. Primary resources, such as water, must be equally accessible to all. The current economy is based on unlimited growth based on the use of limited resources. Clearly the reasoning does not hold up, the neoliberal model has failed, we must move from a linear economy to a more circular one. We need new ethical bases in the economy that also consider the environment, health and social conditions.

Andreco — Climate 04 — Sea Level Rise — Venezia 2017. foto: Like Agency.

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