Exculpatio, by nomad. + Global R&D Cemex The unsustainability of sustainability.
• Exculpatio is the materialization of a long conversation exploring the speech surrounding sustainability and the roots behind the lack of substantial action against climate change. With its implementation, the reflection has been transferred onto the public posing three open dialogues: the absolute nothingness, the futility of demonizing one fragment of the whole, and digitalization as one more barrier between us and our natural essence.
• Exculpatio is a project that has been morphing and adapting to its environment since 2019. In its current metamorphosis, Exculpatio has focused on a Performance to articulate the project’s
dual essence as a demonstration and a sculptural space, and its bilocation in Italy and Switzerland. The 80 Pixels’ Performance has been a silent collective manifestation to bring awareness about the lack of substantial action against climate change from April 14 to April 17 in Venice.
Italy and Switzerland, April 2022.
Exculpatio by nomad. + Global R&D Cemex is a silent demonstration and a sculptural space simultaneously hosted at Giardini della Marinaressa in Venice, Italy and Global R&D Cemex Headquarters in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland. It is part of the Exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES” curated by the European Cultural Centre during the Venice Biennale 2022.
This project is the materialization of a long conversation exploring the speech surrounding sustainability through concrete as a creative counterpart. Its versatility in the dialogue has maintained the attention on the tectonics of the process contributing to its chameleonic physicality. After morphing and adapting to its environment since 2019, Exculpatio stands in Switzerland as two rectangular monoliths embracing the negative of nature. This void is created by the imprint of a tree trunk fossilized within two upright monumental concrete blocks fractured into eighty pixels. In Italy, Exculpatio presents its pixels in an ever-changing impromptu arrangement, which symbolically opens the conversation to the public and invites them to take action.
Metamorphosis of the project
Exculpatio has come to life over the past three years. At the initiation of the project's journey in 2019, it empathized the need for a profound understanding of nature as the operating system of the planet: nature is not a space, so you can neither be in, nor out of it. This global realization is crucial in order to propose a truly sustainable lifestyle. Sustainable is an extremely perilous word as it has an implicit redeeming character that exonerates us and allows us to continue business as usual.
In 2020, “disruption” permeated the installation. The Human - nature dichotomy always crumbles once disruption bursts the construct collectively crafted to tolerate our ephemeral nature.
This disconnection was highlighted in Exculpatio’s 2020 iteration. The project explored how the ways of nature have always unsettled humans because our minds dream with permanence, while natural systems express themselves through change, disruption, adaptation, and impermanence as tools of self-preservation.
Exculpatio evolved further during 2021 when the ongoing dialogue arrived to the root of the urgency behind our deliberations: Without nature, what? Lack of nature is the ultimate nothingness. It is an unsettling concept. Humanity can carry on with empty discourses, labels and communication gimmicks that exculpate us. In the meantime, the future becomes present and substantial action against climate change continues to be absent. What happens after nature’s resilience is not able to bring Earth back into a haven for life once again? A no-life-Earth is a suffocating idea, the absolute void.
In March 2022, another opportunity for iteration arrived. In a tribute to adaptation, Exculpatio embraced change and focused on a performance to articulate the installation’s dual essence as a demonstration and a sculptural space, as well as, its bilocation in Italy and Switzerland.
The 80 Pixels’ Performance has been a silent collective manifestation to bring awareness about the lack of substantial action against climate change: a crowdsourced transportation where individuals carried ultralight concrete pixels in a poetic pilgrimage across Venice from April 14 to April 17. As the pilgrims were simultaneously creating the first impromptu pixel arrangement in Venice, the pixels were being virtually assembled into two rectangular monoliths three meters high in Switzerland.
We belong here, let’s take action
In its final metamorphosis, Exculpatio transfers the conversation to the public presenting three dialogues: The absolute nothingness, the futility of demonizing one fragment of the whole, and digitalization as one more barrier between us and our natural essence.
There is no doubt that we are sophisticated primates, however, we cannot live outside the rules of our operating system, nature. We belong here, let’s take action. Exculpatio encourages people to engage in the conversation and take action for meaningful change.
Join the community in Discord.
The ritual: Stripping of the word sustainability of its syntax
The ritual ERGO NIHILUM-80 is an anti-rite that inhabits a liminal space between performance and mundane activity. The ritual took place on April 21st and incorporated an ‘orator’ and a ‘mover’ who were engaged in autonomous activities coordinated only within the strictures of eight delineated episodes.
“ERGO NIHILUM-80 was conceived as a live site-specific counterpart to Exculpatio and could be seen as a component of the project’s ongoing evolution. During this happening we are proposing to strip the word sustainability of its syntax, thereby shining a light on the following paradox: The use of a term which has come to mean ‘to continue (to live)’ is often used to cover up the inaction and climate apathy which will ultimately lead to our destruction. Allegorically, we also seek to explore how we negotiate public and social spaces with the body, using superfluous movements and gestures in order to keep hidden from the world our experience of being who we are, both in relation to it, and as conscious autonomous objects”- William Kingswood & Tatiana Barrero.
Composer: William Kingswood. Orator: Marie-Anne Favreau. Mover: Tatiana Barrero.
Exculpatio. Data sheet.
Event. European Cultural Centre Exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES.” Biennale Arte 2022 in Venice, Italy.
Exhibition’s Curator. European Cultural Centre (ECC). Palazzo Rossini. S. Marco, 4013, 30122 Venezia, Italy.
Dates. April 23rd to November 27th.
Location. Giardini della Marinaressa in Venice, Italy and Global R&D Cemex Headquarters in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland.
Author: Nomad Studio + Global R&D CEMEX.
Dimensions: 3 x 1.2 x 0.3 m.
Materials: Ultralight Concrete by Global R&D CEMEX.
Performance: 80Pixels, crowdsource transportation-performance.
Construction & Installation: Nomad Studio + Global R&D CEMEX + 40 pixels volunteers Maintenance: ECC
Sponsor: Global R&D CEMEX + Nomad Studio
Nomad Studio is an internationally awarded creative workshop devoted to innovative site- specific projects. Its work explores the interaction between art and landscape and its influence on society and environment. Nomad’s practice is driven by their understanding of landscape, the coalescence of culture and environment, which is the source of their diverse portfolio. Nomad is committed to create memorable experiences that foster an emotional connection with the landscape that acts as a catalyst for change.
The studio was founded circa 2010 in New Orleans, LA by Landscape Architects William Roberts (United States) and Laura Santín (Spain), whom offer 35+ years of professional experience. In 2012 the office was moved to New York, NY and remained permanently in the city until 2020. Since 2021 the practice has adopted a nomadic culture.
About Global R&D CEMEX
“We are a company focused on creating sustainable value by providing industry-leading products and solutions to satisfy the construction needs of our customers around the world. We strive to make the future better for our customers, our shareholders, and our communities by becoming the world’s most efficient and innovative building materials company.
CEMEX Innovation Holding AG, Brügg branch (CIH AG) launched its activities in 2001 to take a leadership role in developing and managing CEMEX’s Research & Development (R&D) initiatives, and to own and deploy the resulting Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio across its business units and functions worldwide. It is strategically located in Switzerland, one of the world’s most innovative countries.”
Almudena Cadalso, Visual Artist. Lanzarote, Spain.
Dani Burés, Graphic Artist. Madrid, Spain.
Carlos Comendador, Architect. Madrid, Spain.
Trey Killeen, Pixels-NFT Coordinator. San Diego, United States. Katie Sciortino Peak, Writer-Artist, US-Spain.
Tatiana Barrero, Performance Artist. Bogotá, Colombia. Marie-Anne Favreau, Performance Artist. Paris, France. William Kingswood, Composer. London, UK.
“PERSONAL STRUCTURES” - Curators:
About European Cultural Centre and Exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES”
The European Cultural Centre is a Dutch controlled Non-Profit Foundation based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, with an office in Venice, Italy. The European Cultural Centre in Venice is the curator of the Exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES” that will be hosted at Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora and Giardini della Marinaressa in Venice, coincident with Biennale Arte 2022.