Interview: Enrico Giannetto

Students: My question wants to bring back the attention on a spatial issue. You told us that nowadays we have lost our contact with nature. We use to segregate ourself in cities, in a completely arti cial and man-built environment. While you were speaking about this, I couldn’t stop to ask my self: “Why we did this? Why we arrived to this point?” Moreover I was trying to figure out how could have been our life and our environment in contemporaries without the “artificial”. Would have been something near to Superstudio Utopias? A world without cities, architectures or even objects? So is this the kind of progress you were speaking about and again, If is not this, which kind of new relation with nature deprived by all the artificial are you imagining for us?

Enrico Giannetto: I have taken this kind of suggestion by a book written by an Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, who was a nobel winner in 1913, and who wrote a book on indian civilization. He was comparing and looking for the differences between western and indian civilization. The first thing he says is something which is at the base of my idea. Our way of living is determined by a sort of technical a priori which was related on our way to inhabit within nature. And Tagore said that, opposite to the western civilization were men and women have developed a very strong and separated life from nature. For a long period in India dwelling was done within the forest, within the natural environment so he tried to explain why there was something like vegetarian people. In India there are vegetarian cities. Vegetarian in India is some how a collective choice. And the reason is, in my opinion, that our way of thinking is strictly connected to our way of dwelling the space. If we speak, like this evening, within a space which is completely separate from nature, we can not understand nature, we can not understand non-human beings. We have followed the rule of Roman Empire, the principle of which was divide et impera. We followed this principle also within our way of thinking, within our organization of the eld of knowledge. We distinguish and separate architecture from ethics, from physics, from cultural studies and we can not understand in this perspective. The way of organizing spaces is fundamental to understand our violent way of living. There are also analysis of this kind of space a priori, to understand political power and to understand the power in general, in the works of Michel Foucault. He says that the organization of a space is fundamental. And is the bases on which power can operate, the fact that we are speaking in such a space where there is a cattedra and we are on one side of the cattedra and you are on the other, creates a kind of hierarchy, a social hierarchy. The model of this organization of the space was at the origin of humans history. The sacralization of some spaces that were distinguished from others immediately creates a hierarchy. To the sacralization of paradise corresponds a de-sacralization of earth, and consequently a violation of the nature by the introduction of agriculture and zoo techniques. In that period our relationship with nature and with other spices of animals changed in a systematic way.