According to the myth of Prometheus, the Titan god of fire through stealing the fire from the gods and delivering it to men, allowed humans to differentiate from animals, and to take power over rules, food and the environment. Following the Greek mythology, from this moment onward, nature detaches itself from the cultural component.
All modern anthropology is built around the opposition of Nature vs. Culture, fundamental opposition as life vs. death.
Concrete as a rock (2020 – ongoing) is a visual essay that investigates the distinction between nature and culture, its evolution and further consequences, focusing the attention on the use of cement-like material and the consequent transformation of natural environments.
After water, concrete is the most widely used substance on Earth. This material is the foundation of modern development, putting roofs over the heads of billions, fortifying our defenses against natural disaster and providing a structure for roads, bridges, and architecture. Concrete has changed our understanding of nature, of time, and have become a center of discussion.
At its essence concrete is made up of three basic components: water, aggregate (rock, sand, or gravel) and Portland cement. It is a material that in its entirety come from the earth.
The impact and consequences of unbridled urban growth are causing irreversible repercussions on global ecosystems. As urban areas continue to grow rapidly, rural areas are being swallowed up by concrete, a major contributor to the high emissions of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world with up to 2.8bn tons, surpassed only by China and the US.
The politics of concrete are less divisive, but more corrosive. At times an unyielding ally, at times a false friend, concrete can resist nature for decades and then suddenly amplify its impact.
The aim of the body of work is to examine the moment of transition of a natural environment – sand – into a cultural material – concrete. With this premise, I am taking in consideration how its natural geological structure, belonging to the dry land, becomes a parliament, tangible outcomes, historical artefacts and entities of cultural values.
Concrete is politics.