What air will you breathe?
Who among the world’s great artists and creators has had Michelangelo Pistoletto’s ability and intuition to create something universal and a concept – not only a physical, graphic and symbolic representation – like the Third Paradise? This also has the power to remain anchored to an admirable territory, the one gravitating around Cittadellarte. With his sign-symbol, Pistoletto injects us with enthusiasm, creativity, intelligence, passion and politics in its most beautiful sense, in reference to the polis, the city. Today, life in that city reflects the world, hit and wounded by the pandemic. However, these ideas and this type of approach – the art of balance, editor’s note – lead to an investigation through the exchange and the food for thought that Cittadellarte is gathering. I want to thank Saverio Teruzzi and all involved, because this way we are not keeping our minds and our hands inactive in a time when everything seems to force us to.
At the question “what air will you breathe?” I would like to say that it might be the most basic thing in our universe and in our lives, what everybody looks at the moment a child leaves the womb of the mother: how will they let out that cry that, together with their first breath, will mark the beginning of their life? And that is what we are wondering every day in many Italian areas and cities, not only in the Po Valley, if the air we are breathing is compatible with the air we would like our friends and families to breathe. The atmospheric pollution and the impact of climate change has caused our society to enter the Anthropocene, i.e. a geological era in which man is able to transform and deform the ecosystems according to the (often irresponsible) choices he makes.
Man can physically modify the Earth, sometimes irreversibly. What air we will breathe depends therefore on us. One day, on leaving this life, we will accompany our children and grandchildren holding them by the hand, and what air they will breathe will very much depend on us, on the fact that we have or we have not been able to reverse the trend to irresponsibility. We have now got used to an age of immediacy, we want results immediately, possibly through a simple tweet, whereas investing today on tomorrow entails efforts, costs, commitment and difficulties, in the hope it will benefit future generations.
The air our children and grandchildren will breathe is the one we will have decided to leave for them, also hoping that today’s youths don’t consider themselves only as the object of these mistakes, but as the protagonists of a redemption. Their generation must demand and do, ask and plan. This is why Michelangelo’s thought is one of responsibility, of local and global reach, of an ecology made in view of the world, at the same time providing pragmatic answers. We now have to eliminate the use of carbon to produce energy, we gradually have to multiply the possible technological innovations, use the digital revolution to make our lives easier, create new job opportunities and protect the environment and the ecosystems. The air each of us will breathe depends on the choices we will be able to make today. They will be artistic choices, because art often guides us, transforms us, teaches us, opens our minds and forces us to change.