Amedeo Avogadro, the son of Anna Vercellone from Biella and Filippo Avogadro Earl of Quaregna, discovered the formula of water: H2O. It was 1811. Six years afterwards Sella would import the first textile machines from Belgium, starting the Biellese industrial revolution. Water, at that time powering the machines, had always existed, but Avogadro carried out an operation that combined science and nature, thus contributing to increasing the knowledge of the whole humanity.
In 2012 Michelangelo Pistoletto formulated the Theory of Trinamics as a development of the Third Paradise discourse: “Trinamics is the dynamics of the number three. It is the combination of two units that gives rise to a third distinct and new unit. In Trinamics, three always represents a birth, which occurs by fortuitous or deliberate combination of two subjects. […] Trinamics acts in the natural sphere as well as in the artificial one, including every area and aspect of human society. We find it at work for example in the reaction between oxygen and hydrogen that gives rise to water; in the interaction between masses of warm and cold air, causing thunderstorms; in the connection between positive and negative poles which produces electric power. […] Trinamics is the science of relations and balances.”
Water is the first element Pistoletto mentions as an example of the Trinamic principle, and it is water that introduces us to the Terme Culturali, activated at Cittadellarte. Water and art are creative principles: the former is a natural principle, the latter an essentially human one. We know, after all, that water is the source of life on Earth, our own existence has memory of our gestation: we started to move in our mother’s womb while immersed in the amniotic liquid. It is next to water that big cities and civilisations have developed. Water is a fundamental energetic and economic source, much more precious than gold or oil. We travel through Space searching for water on other planets, while we are poisoning our water and drying the Earth out. Today, and more and more in the future, flows of people will move in search of lands wet with drinkable water. Human creativity was born acknowledging the virtue of water in the germination of the seed from the earth. This is how farming started, soon accompanied by animal farming, then followed by manufacturing. Water is in this sense connected to the idea of creation, generation and regeneration, the same way art is: water and art united in the Third Paradise recreate life in every form and in every direction.
Vitruvio describes the social area of the thermal baths, open to everybody, as a specific section identified with the term schola labri: the ‘school’ was the free space around the baths, i.e. where bathers waited for their turn to immerse engaging in dialogue, exchanging opinions and points of view, and entering into agreements.
Cittadellarte’s Terme Culturali represent a continuity with the thermal past of the area and above all with the schola labri, in its vocation of an open space where to meet, know and recognise oneself. With the treatments of the Terme Culturali, Cittadellarte, a former wool mill powered by water, revives the late 19th century Biellese tradition of hydrotherapeutic cures to thermally bathe contemporary society.
Michelangelo Pistoletto – Ruggero Poi