ECOCORE – In conversation with Alessandro Bava

ECOCORE - Courtesy of Alessandro Bava
ECOCORE – Courtesy of Alessandro Bava

ECOCORE is an​ ​irregularly published zine that aims to edit the identity of ecology from the point of view of art. It has pioneered discussions around ecology since 2010, by thrusting ecology into the agenda via the commissioned work of artists, writers, poets. ECOCORE questions the established rhetorics of environmentalism, without providing definitive answers. Its mission is to promote creative agency toward the proposition of future alternatives to the current global environmental bankruptcy. The zine operates as a point of intervention, assembling leading creative and theoretical voices across a range of mediums to discuss nature and the environment, as well as the problematic relationship between architecture and natural ecosystems. Concerns regarding human agency within nature are central to the publication’s discussion, motivated by environmentalism’s struggling project for sustainability. ECOCORE hopes to offer a forum for thought and expression regarding the co-evolution of human economies and ecosystems within creative practices.

ECOCORE IV seeks to explore G( )D as an ethical mechanism within deep ecology, biocentrism and nature’s profound mysteries. Deep ecology has emerged as a ‘secular’ proposal to reinstate spiritual intimacy and reverence for the earth. Nature has ended, meanwhile we enter into the new ideological sphere of ‘environmentalism’, directly subject to human action. A covenantal agreement is demanded in our approach towards utilization of the earth’s resources, alongside a formalised collective contrition for our ecological sin. Environmental crisis changes the basic facts behind the spiritual meaning of the world around us; presented as God’s creation, ‘Nature’ and what it signifies metaphysically has been perverted.

ECOCORE1
ECOCORE – Courtesy of Alessandro Bava

In an age where fanatical and self-righteous lifestyle choices, kale tribes, health ‘binges’, fair-trade coffee (the price of staving off perdition included in the price of the cappuccino) tenuously abate a sense of guilt within consumerism. An ecological ethos shares the same notion of progression as capitalism and neoliberalism, a teleological ethos, which insists that we must be better for future generations. By this logic, we must protect the earth to secure future growth. Given that environmental control is significantly left to human manipulation – nature can no longer keep its promise of beneficence or paternal love – we will need to restructure our outlook towards assuming responsibility for a healthy and integrated environment.

Ecology is the oldest and newest religion; a moral claim that nature has inherent value. Nature itself is calling for an end to instrumentalism and anthropocentrism, asking for us to reconstruct an idealised state of wilderness according to utopian values. ECOCORE questions the possibility of embracing the elusive nature of ecological systems, admitting to the limits of science when met with enigmas such as Higgs Boson or the ‘God particle’, in search of men’s place in the continuity between science and mystery. Is it possible to restructure a future according to a biospiritual agenda in which pollution is in decline, agriculture is sustainable, and species are revived?. ECOCORE The G( )D Issue looks at discussing the role eco-anxiety, ecoterrorism, ecofeminism, anthropocene theories, and radical environmentalist groups have to play in the restructuring of our contemporary ideology and our collective spiritual reactions to the environment. ECOCORE IV ventures to propose a politics of paradise, working on the principle that nature is sacred.

In the press release of the new issue of ECOCORE, you state “Ecology is the oldest and newest religion; a moral claim that nature has inherent value.” Is that what pushed into choosing G( )D as the new concept?

I saw an urgency in by-passing the established secularised approach to ecology and Nature. Something that has been canonised recently by the COP21 resolution…I was drawn to explore deep ecology in its possible connections to current political struggles. In this issue I was interested in the relation between ecology and politics and business: for example ISIS’ terrorist attacks are in many ways connected to an ecological struggle: COP21 has been read as a messy attempt to get away from fossil fuels to counteract the Islamic State agenda….things are changing!

As contributor Oscar Khan put it: deep sadness at the pitiful excuse for a climate accord reached in Paris which has almost no legally binding caps and features wealthy, historical polluters offloading responsibility onto smaller nations. In many ways this is as weak as an accord as the one signed in Copenhagen. If there is a time for divestment and direct action it is now. Mourning the devastation that 2 let alone 3 or 4 degrees increase in temperature will wreak on the planet.”

Why did you decide to create a zine as an instrument to illustrate your thoughts about the current state of ecology?

I was inspired by HOMOCORE a 1970s queer zine. I was impressed by the rawness and power of the medium. Recently an art blogger reviewed ECOCORE saying that they loved the latest issue but it was badly printed…She was referring to the sometimes poor quality of the images, which is totally deliberate and mirrors the grainy xerox quality of punk zines. The zine is printed in Italy to an art catalog standard 🙂

How do you evaluate the new era and movements of “environmentalism” that have become extremely popular in the last decade?

The one I’m most interested in is the NO-TAV one, it feels like it will be the model for youth participation in politics in the future…

Do you think that up to this point we have become successful in putting an end into the instrumentalism to protect nature – something you call sacred?

I’ve definitely helped that process with ECOCORE, but the zine is full of contradictions! If you read all the amazing contributions by all the stellar contributors, you might find an answer!

ECOCORE - Alessandro Bava
ECOCORE – Courtesy of Alessandro Bava

Alessandro Bava is an architect, editor, and artist. His work focuses on the relationship between architectural form and technology. He is the founder of Bava and Sons, a design practice working on architecture projects, cultural commissions, and research. In December 2014, the office realized an exhibition environment for the Google Cultural Institute residency program in Paris, presented at the Cartier Foundation. In June 2015 he completed a large scale installation at Moderna Museet in collaboration with artist Simon Denny. Bava is also editor and founder of the ecology zine ECOCORE, which has recently guest edited the “Disaster” issue for DIS magazine. He is cofounder of​ ​ÅYR, an art collective which explores the complex, post-internet evolution of domesticity and the home. The collective has exhibited internationally, at including Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Foundation in Turin and the Swiss Institute New York. Bava recently published a book of architecture and poetry with the poet Harry Burke (Version House, 2014). He is the recipient of the 2015 Re Rebaudengo.

ECOCORE

ÅYR

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