Shortlisted project for the international art competition “Two Calls” for a permanent installation to be realized by the Vajont dam. 2015
The biblical story of the Tower of Babel or the recurring theme of the hubris in Greek tragedy tell us how man’s challenge to its limits can be dangerous. Both concepts are the expression of a conservative mind. The large monumental constructions (zigurrath and pyramids), realized in the era of human passage from a nomadic to an urban society, witness the attempt of those civilizations to maintain a relationship with the large scale of the territory, preserving the knowledge accumulated over thousands of years, albeit ending to exploit it as an instrument of power.
Man’s intelligence does not reside in going along with nature, but not totally losing contact with it. The well-balanced relationship between man and nature does not depend in suffering its laws, but in the ability to read outwardly incomprehensible signs. The large dam with his presence is a monument to the prominence of human intelligence and, at the same time, to the risk of its failure. The proposed intervention is inspired by overlooked warning signs of the tragedy: “the trees were walking, but no one saw” and, combining nature and artifice, is a warning to the attention to little things… “le bon Dieu est dans le detail”.
The proposed project does not provide a direct intervention on the surface of the dam, if not a small commemorative plaque, but focuses instead on pointing out the line identified by the intersection of the water level with the ground at the time when the landslide fell. The line will consist of a path, a trail to be walked through like a procession to get as close as possible to the dam. Along the way some trees, placed on mobile carts hidden in the ground, will be activated by the passage of people and will move walking with them.