The time of the flood - Stefano Cagol and Massimo Bernardi in conversation
The MASI Lugano and IBSA Foundation for Scientific Research have organised the "La Scienza a regola d'Arte" cycle of conversations to create an exchange between art and science since 2017.
The first meeting of 2022 took place on 17 May, and saw the artist Stefano Cagol and the scientist Massimo Bernardi, director of the Research and Collections Department at the Science Museum, Trento, reflecting on the imbalance in the human being-Nature relationship taking the flood as a metaphor for the upheavals in life.
Stefano Cagol, ICE MELTING ICE, 2019, Installazione, tubi al neon, plexiglas, acciaio, 1,5 x 17 m. Confluenza dei fiumi Isarco e Rienza, Bressanone
“We’re the global warming. We’re the pandemics. We’re the flood” says the artist Stefano Cagol in one of his latest works that is both performance and video, technology and natural elements, taking the flood as a metaphor and sum of all the upheavals we can already see but struggle to grasp.
The artist, with his ‘activist aesthetics’, has tried for years to decipher the interferences and interdependencies of our relationship with the environment, as in the video work currently on show at the Venice Biennale and the array of works, from the best-known to the rarest, providing the stimuli for the conversation with Massimo Bernardi, Director of the Research and Collections Department and head of the Anthropocene think tank at the Science Museum Trento, where Stefano Cagol has just started a new from science to co-science platform through the languages of art.
Stefano Cagol (Trento, 1969) studied at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and Ryerson University, Toronto, with a post-doctoral scholarship from the Canadian government. He won the Italian Council (2019) of the Italian Culture Ministry and awards such as the Visit -of E.on Stiftung and Contemporary Art Topic. He has worked in the Conceptual Art, Environmental Art, Eco Art and Land Art fields for many years, reflecting on borders, viruses, flags, energy and climatic questions. He has taken part in biennales including the 59th, 55th and 54th Venice Biennales, Manifesta 11, the 14th Curitiba Biennale, the 2nd Cairo OFF Biennale, the 1st Xinjiang Biennale, the Barents Art Triennale 2013 and the 1st Singapore Biennale. Museums like the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv (2021), the MA*GA Gallarate (2019), the Civic Gallery of Trento/Mart (2016), ZKM Karlsruhe (2012) and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto (2000) have all dedicated personal exhibitions to him. He can be found at the Venice Biennale and the Bergen Kunsthall 3.14, Norway in 2022, and the Modern Art Gallery, Verona has dedicated the Primaparete (lit. ‘First wall’) to him until 30 September.
Massimo Bernardi, a Natural Sciences graduate (Padua, 2006), Master in Palaeobiology (Bristol, 2009) and PhD in Palaeobiology (Bristol, 2017), has been Curator of Palaeontology at the Science Museum in Trento since 2013; he has also been Substitute Director of the Research and Collections Department since 2021. He has curated the design of about ten temporary exhibitions and permanent museum stagings and is the author of about 100 scientific and educational publications with the main focus on the mass extinctions of the past and valorisation of palaeontological assets. In recent years, his interests have moved towards a multi-disciplinary approach to the Anthropocene concept, the valorisation of cultural assets, and Scientific Museum Studies. He is (or was) a lecturer at the universities of Padua (Macro-evolution), Milan (Valorisation of the Palaeontologic Heritage), Modena and Reggio Emilia (Scientific Communication), Insubria (Evolution and Museum Studies), Bolzano (Scientific Popularisation) and Trento (Scientific Communication).
Stefano Cagol - Artist
Massimo Bernardi - Scientist