FOCUS #2 · TERRITORI / TERRITORIES

June - October 2024

What a strange condition we are living in. The Earth demands our attention, the climate crisis asks us to finally take care of our planet, just when it seemed we could do without it. Some (very few super-rich), planning to move elsewhere, colonising other planets or transferring their residence onto space rockets orbiting far from here. Others (increasingly more), carving out their own enclosure, within boundaries more and more uncertain yet considered natural, traditional, inherited: we inside and the others outside. A great many (how many billions?) spending much of their time in digital spaces, according to codes and rules of a topological rather than metric nature. We all build exclusive territories, homes tailored to our needs, “particular housing solutions”, we might call them in the casual language of real estate agents. So, artificial territories, which do not exist in nature, our phantasmagorical projections. With one rather significant peculiarity though: to be inhabitable, these territories need resources extracted from the common territory that is the Earth: energy, food, labour, technology, metals, oxygen, water…

Forced to come to terms with the Earth, we escape it. We live by paradoxes: we inhabit the Earth, but struggle to set foot on the ground. We were all thrown onto the Earth, but we wonder how do I recognise my territory? We still measure distances in metres, but we are constantly connected, in networks that transcend them.

Someone, more informed, tells us that we are the Earth, that is, the Earth belongs to all its inhabitants, human and non-human. We should stop distinguishing between the world we rely on and the world we live in. The first is the Earth; the second is the territory. Those who concern themselves with the former are considered idealistic enemies of the people. Those who prioritize the latter tend to define it in demanding terms: Nation, Homeland. In order to live comfortably in “our” territory, we need the Earth. But if we adopt the perspective of the Earth, it follows that we must consider the territories we inhabit as non-exclusive, shared among other earthly beings. At that point, where to place the boundaries? If they cannot be recognised, territories disappear. Territorial pissing would return to being an exclusive practice of non-humans, with humans ceasing to seek refuge in it and ultimately recognising that territory is the use that is made of it: a space of circulation, available to those who move there.

For the thoughts expressed here, I am indebted to Pierluigi Crosta, Bruno Latour, Michel Serres, Alain Tarrius, and the Nirvana.

Claudio Calvaresi
[PhD in Urban Planning, he is Principal of Avanzi-Sustainability by Action. He is coordinator, for Avanzi, of MadreProject, the School of Bread and Places].

PROGRAM

8 + 9 e 15 + 16 June c/o Parco delle Groane
Caroline Barneaud, Stefan Kaegi (CH/GE)

22 + 23 June
ZONAK presenta
BÜRGERBHÜNE

10 + 11 September
Be Flat (BE)

20 + 21 September
Moni Wespi (CH/BE)

11 + 12 October
Massimo Furlan, Claire De Ribaupierre (CH)

Photo by Cesura – Design Neo Studio by Leonardo Mazzi

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