The ARTLANDS programme tends to give rise to new methods of interactions with the landscape. Created by an international committee of artistic and environmental culture experts, the initiative is developed around the activity of Carlo Scoccianti - a biologist, expert and WWF specialist in the conservation of “wetland areas” – who since 1996 has been working with a group of people united by the desire to design new leases of life for some areas of the Florentine Plane through forms of altering the landscape.
Promoted by WWF, the management body of this system of new sites, ARTLANDS is realized in collaboration with the Province of Florence, the Municipalities of Campi Bisenzio and Lastra a Signa, the University of Florence, the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato, the three Land Reclamation Consortia involved with the areas in question, Quadrifoglio, Publiacqua, L’Isola dei Renai and organized by Image.
“The construction of this territorial system,” explains Scoccianti, “created with the main aim of protecting the flora, fauna and typical landscapes of the area (...), was an opportunity to experiment over the years with a new way of transforming the territory not only from a purely scientific point of view but also in accordance with innovative research focused on aesthetics.” “The places I create are on the one hand real spaces shaped according to specific aesthetic choices and on the other they are living, dynamic and interactive settings profoundly tied to the larger area in which they are located. Their ecosystemic nature, typically interrelational, determines an infinite number of meanings depending on the subject taken into consideration each time: in my sites humans are the users but they are on a par with all the other living beings and each acts according to their own interpretative model.”
Given these premises, ARTLANDS looks into the new “wetland areas” of the Florentine Plane and the important role they play for the development of the wider surrounding landscape. The programme, which is taking place over a first period of two years starting from May 2012, is a laboratory in which cultural figures from different fields will observe, interpret and talk about these environments. The results of this new experience is a series of events in order to explore a new idea of landscape.
The initiative was presented on May 18, 2012 at the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato in the presence of the artist Alan Sonfist, the artistic director of the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato, Marco Bazzini, the architect and artist Gianni Pettena, the architect Pietro Valle. Over the coming months and until September 2012 the wetland
areas will be home to the ‘Open sites’, widespread laboratories on the alteration of the landscape for students, recent graduates and volunteers in general. Some of the most sensitive figures on the subject from the fields of art, literature, science and architecture will be invited to the sites from time to time so that they can observe, interpret and then talk to the public about these experiences. Once these observations have been made, in October 2012 an initial summary of the investigation on the new emerging landscapes will be completed, entitled ARTLANDS TOUR #1. On this occasion the figures invited to interpret the territories will present their interpretations and accounts in order to offer them to the local communities, professionals and the art world. There will be a second cycle of interpretations, with new observers, ARTLANDS TOUR #2, in spring 2013. Finally, the series of interpretations collected and the relationships that occurred in the wetland areas of the Florentine Plane will represent the raw material for an analysis of the
general results of the investigation promoted by the ARTLANDS programme, which will be presented at the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art in Prato and then offered to the international community together with an invitation to discuss the new landscape forms that have emerged from the renewed environmental awareness.