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Rethinking Nature

A free public program - The April schedule

The free public program of the exhibition Rethinking Nature continues in April.

Urban explorations, webinars, guided tours and artist talks

A series of walks inaugurates a collaboration with the workshop “Political Ecologies of the Present”

A focus on the Tierra dei Fuochi and phytoremediation

The closing of the Botanical Garden tour series with an in-depth look at plants that elude botanical classification methods

The free public program offered by Madre, the Campania Region’s contemporary art museum, continues in April, integrated into the exhibition Rethinking Nature. Urban explorations, webinars, guided tours and talks with artists will accompany the last month of the exhibition’s opening in order to generate alternative forms of knowledge and social practice focused on political ecology. Participation in the events will be free, with only the cost of the museum entrance fee for guided tours.


A collaboration with “Ecologie Politiche del Presente,” an interdisciplinary study lab established in Naples in 2018, in which reflections of scholars and activists from different backgrounds converge around the theme of environmental emergency, will be inaugurated on this occasion. It is in this perspective that the cycle of walks entitled “Eco*Walking: Reclaiming Waterscapes” is proposed, which rethink political ecology through water. “Walking” is developed as a performative methodology to re-enact different aspects of it, and the physical crossing of urban space allows for questioning of geographies considered fixed or denied from time to time, and actively paving the way for a space of imagination. There will be three appointments to explore the relationship of the city of Naples with its waters: the first, on Tuesday, April 5, from 5 to 8 p.m., with meeting point at Molo Beverello, led by Daniela Allocca – PhD, writer, curator and independent researcher – and Gaia Del Giudice – co-curator of the urban walking cycle “Eco*Walking” and doctoral student in Urban and Regional Planning at the University Federico II of Naples -, declined on the theme of “presence.” The second event, focused on “relationship,” will take place on Thursday, April 28 from 3 to 6 p.m., with a meeting point at the Anton Dohrn Zoological Station, and will be led by Daniela Allocca, Gaia Del Giudice and Daniele Valisena, environmental historian, post-doc at the University of Liege, Belgium and teacher of “environmental history of migration at New York University, Florence branch. The tour will skirt the moving frontier that, over the centuries, has been the place of contact and structured the socio-ecological relations between city, sea and citizens, and continue to Madre, where, at 6 p.m., there will be a presentation of the volume “Plots. Practices and knowledge for a situated political ecology” (Tamu Editions, 2021), edited by “Ecologie Politiche del Presente.” Starting from Naples, the text collects narratives elaborated within the struggles for environmental justice in Southern Italy and in many Souths of the world, among urban social movements, ecologists, transfeminists and defense of the commons.
A final event will conclude the cycle on Saturday, April 30, from 10:30 a.m., declining the theme of “Unveiling.” The route will start from the Carlo Pisacane Pier to San Giovanni a Teduccio, including a route of about 6 km, with return by public transportation, and will be led by Daniela Allocca and Daniele Valisena. This date will include a stop at the beach and is assumed to be longer in duration so as not to deprive participants of the opportunity to change pace and stay longer.


On Wednesday, April 6, at 8 p.m., an English-language online meeting entitled “Toxicity and Resilience in the Land of Fires” will feature artist Yasmin Smith and Prof. Massimo Fagnano, professor of Agronomy at the University of Naples Federico II, connected to the Zoom platform. In her art practice, Yasmin Smith conducts research on the history of environmental sites subject to high levels of pollution and collects samples of plant materials that have absorbed toxic elements during their growth. In this meeting, the artist will be in conversation with Professor Massimo Fagnano, with whom she collaborated to create her work featured in the Rethinking Nature exhibition. By resorting to the phytoremediation experiments conducted in the Terra dei Fuochi by Prof. Fagnano’s experimental laboratory and the experiences with other forms of bioremediation addressed by Smith’s artistic research in different territories, the meeting aims to shed light on the forms of ecological resilience that rewrite the relationships between human beings and the environment.


On Saturday, April 9, at 11 a.m., there will be the last appointment of the series of visits organized in collaboration with the Botanical Garden of Naples, conceived by Maria Thereza Alves to explore issues related to the processes of nomenclature and classification of botanical species considered by Alves’ work Decolonizing Botany / Jevy Jejapo-pyra Temitī-tyre in collaboration with Ke´y Rusú Katupyry and Verá Poty Resakã. This visit, led by Dr. Giancarlo Sibilio, Naturalist and PhD in Terrestrial Ecology, will focus on some plants whose properties elude botanical classification methods.


On Sunday, April 10, at 11 a.m., assistant curator Pietro Scammacca will give a guided tour of the exhibition Rethinking Nature, which includes more than 50 works created by more than 40 artists and collectives from 22 countries, including 15 new productions presented here as international premieres.

On Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m., online appointment with an English-language webinar featuring artist Sandra Monterroso in dialogue with associate curator for the exhibition Ilaria Conti. The ways in which Monterroso draws on Maia cosmology to address in her artistic practice the history of colonial exploitation in Guatemala, through a performative and symbolic use of textile labor, traditionally feminine, will be explored.


On Wednesday, April 27, at 6 p.m., Madre Artistic Director Kathryn Weir will lead a guided tour of the exhibition Rethinking Nature.

Friday, April 29, will feature talks by two artists: at 6 p.m. Sam Keogh will be featured in the English-language talk “Ecofascism and Survivalism,” while at 7 p.m. Zheng Bo will be online in connection with the museum’s Mother Room, from which Artistic Director Kathryn Weir will speak for the English-language talk “Make love, make kin.”

Sam Keogh will draw on his research, conducted for the making of the film “The Island,” to expand a critical vocabulary to indicate the possibility of innovative responses to current social and environmental crises, based on solidarity rather than competition. In “The Island,” specially commissioned for Rethinking Nature, Keogh draws connections between Fortnite, a popular multiplayer video game whose rules are akin to the concept of ‘survivalism,’ and what happens outside the game, in real life, where such eco-fascist imaginaries seem to replicate the dynamics that play out in the video game, which has attracted more than 350 million players. What political imaginaries can emerge from the fear of imminent ecological collapse? The ongoing environmental disaster is perceived by a growing wave of ‘ecofascist’ discourse as a threat to territorial integrity. In some communities in the United States and Europe, the fears generated by such catastrophism are advancing visions of a totalitarian ‘ethno-state’ that asserts itself through the imposition of ‘sacrifices’ inflicted on sectors of the population with the justification of ecological conservation.

Zheng Bo’s installation on display in the exhibition dialogues with a first-century fresco from Pompeii depicting an erotic encounter between Pan and Hermaphrodite, and also with footage documenting acts of pseudocopulation between insects and plants. This constellation of elements suggests that forms of interspecies amorous interaction and sexuality are widespread in long-standing cultural traditions as well as in ecological relationships. Zheng Bo suggests how the call to “rethink nature” is also an invitation to deconstruct views that portray nature as a realm of normativity, and question attempts to define practices as “against nature” in hegemonic doctrines of sexuality