CONCRETE UTOPIA.
UNCULTIVATED GARDEN
OF COEXISTENCE.

Where history has been destroyed, only art could rebuild the layers of a dispersed memory; only a strong death-defying cultural project could make the earth capable of bearing fruit and producing new flowers  Ludovico Corrao

 In the triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1500) nothing is indigenous and cultivated. The real secret of his magnificent nightmares and daydreams has still to be disclosed.

In the triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (ca. 1500) nothing is indigenous and cultivated. The real secret of his magnificent nightmares and daydreams has still to be disclosed.

Throughout history, the Belìce Valley has been a laboratory for diversity and cross-pollination. Continuous migration – from the Ancient Greeks, the Arabs and the Normans to the recent arrival from Northern Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East – has constantly redefined Gibellina and its people. Gibellina’s streets, architecture, parks, cultural legacy and personal histories are the result - not merely of the natural disaster of 1968 - but of a long-lasting syncretism of cultures across the Mediterranean and beyond.

The botanical garden of Gibellina Nuova, Orto Botanico, was founded as a laboratory to nurture, study, test, mix and gather diverse species, works of art and architecture. Gibellina Nuova’s now abandoned Orto Botanico inspired Fondazione Manifesto to look – beside the urban utopia, the impact of reconstruction and the unfinished –  at the idea of the “uncultivated garden”, exploring its capacity to aggregate difference and to compose life out of movement and migration.
Uncultivated Gardens are places where diverse forms of life mix and adapt to co-exist. They allow for cross-pollination based on encounter. Already in the Bible in the garden of God, humanity was put in charge of being the gardener. But how to tend to a world that is moved by invisible informational networks, transnational private interests, algorithmic intelligence, environmental processes and ever-increasing inequalities? Thousands of years later, the metaphor of the planet as an uncultivated garden is still attractive, not as a space for humans to take control, but rather as a site where “gardeners” recognise their dependency on other species, and respond to climate, time, or an array of social factors, in a shared responsibility.

Belice Atlas, the urban study by TRAUMA, reveals Gibellina as a node in an expanded geography of movements – of people, capital, goods, data, seeds, germs – that are often invisible, untouchable and beyond our control. Gibellina is shaped by these flows and journeys.
Gibellina is a city, a place where key transnational issues converge – from climate change to the simultaneous impact of tourism and migration.
Gibellina’s position at the crossroads of three continents makes it an ideal location for Fondazione Manifesto to investigate some of the key changes of our time. But it is also a place where the current model of globalisation is contested with new perspectives on civic engagement. 

  Chiesa Madre  Ludovico Quaroni & Luisa Aversa, Gibellina Nuova, 1972

Chiesa Madre
Ludovico Quaroni & Luisa Aversa, Gibellina Nuova, 1972

  EPCOT Center - Spaceship Earth  Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, 1982

EPCOT Center - Spaceship Earth
Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, 1982

  Cénotaphe à Newton  Étienne-Louis Boullée, 1784

Cénotaphe à Newton
Étienne-Louis Boullée, 1784

  The Garden of Earthly Deligh  ts (detail)  Hieronymus Bosch, ca. 1500

The Garden of Earthly Delights (detail)
Hieronymus Bosch, ca. 1500

Collaborating closely with Gibellinese partners, Manifesto Gibellina Nuova will co-inhabit Gibellina as a laboratory for the challenges of our time, looking for traces of possible futures. In the context of globalisation, Manifesto Gibellina Nuova – Dream in Progress chooses to be radically local in engaging with the City of Tomorrow in all of its diverse components. 

Manifesto Gibellina – Dream in Progress has three main sections, each touching on key topics of the curatorial concept:

  • Archaeology of the Future - Collateral Damage investigates the incomplete and ruins in today’s regime of global flows.
    Venues: Ruderi di Poggioreale & Gibellina, il Grande Cretto.
  • Concrete Utopia is focused on art and architecture in direct dialogue with the city of Gibellina its communities, traditions, and public spaces. This dialogue is embodied and multiplied in various projects which: reinforce community engagement and the beauty of reconstruction and development through collaborations and public interventions in the city’s centre and periphery.
    Concrete Utopia builds on existing opportunities in the centre and the outskirts of Gibellina Nuova to further develop the existing plans that are stuck somehow and have not been fully realised. Productive collaborations can act as a catalyst and possibly extend into future and long-term initiatives in Gibellina. 
    Venue: Gibellina Nuova.
  • Uncultivated Garden of Coexistence - The Third Landscape explores art, plant life and the culture of gardening in relation to the transnational commons in Gibellina Nuova’s Orto Botanico.
    Venue: Orto Botanico, Gibellina Nuova.
   Orto Botanico , Gibellina Nuova, 2018

 Orto Botanico, Gibellina Nuova, 2018

 

"The Third Landscape - an undetermined fragment of the Planetary Garden - designates the sum of the space left over by man to landscape evolution - to nature alone. Included in this category are left behind urban or rural sites, transitional spaces, neglected land [...], non-cultivatable areas, deserts. Compared to the territories submitted to the control and exploitation by man, the Third Landscape forms a privileged area of receptivity to biological diversity. Cities, farms and forestry holdings, sites devoted to industry, tourism, human activity, areas of control and decision permit diversity and, at times, totally exclude it. The variety of species in a field, cultivated land, or managed forest is  low in comparison to that of a neighbouring “unattended” space. From this point of view, the Third Landscape can be considered as the genetic reservoir of the planet, the space of the future."

— Gilles Clément