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An Archipelago of Ecological Care

Venice, its Lagoon and Contemporary Art

Cristina Baldacci    Ca' Foscari University of Venice    



This essay situates Venice and its archipelago among the small islands that, despite the uncertainty of the future and the emergency given by extreme climate scenarios, provide effective examples of local sustainability that can also be replicated in other parts of the world to promote positive and collective change on a global scale. Being aware of the changes that Venice is facing as a consequence of the environmental crisis, learning from them, and taking care of the city and its lagoon is an increasingly ethically and politically urgent action to try to guarantee its survival. Venice’s few but tenacious inhabitants – a small community, where vernacular knowledge has been handed down and where conscious citizens, including activists, cultural workers, artists, and researchers, promote a renewed ecological awareness – are the actors involved at the forefront of what can be addressed as ‘curatorial activism’. By taking as case studies some recent projects and practices – such as walking the lagoon – the article explains how contemporary art can effectively contribute to the ecologies of care, protecting the dignity of life and human rights on par with the rights of nature, encouraging critical thinking, emotional involvement, ethical responsibility, and public imagination for the well-being of the Earth.

20 Dicembre 2023
24 Novembre 2023
27 Settembre 2023

Keywords: VeniceSmall islands ecologiesContemporary artCuratorial activismEcologies of careClimate crisis

Copyright: © 2023 Cristina Baldacci. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.