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Aqua Mutabilis, 2024

The Project

Commissioned by iMilani, conceived and created by Riccardo Rizzetto with materials recovered from Sea Shepherd Italia, Aqua Mutabilis is a wandering artistic and awareness project.


It is an evolution of Sea Turtle Crates, an initiative led by iMilani and Sea Shepherd Italia which focuses on the recovery and transformation of fishing nets abandoned in the oceans. A totally new life is given to FADs (from the English Fishing Aggregating Devices), the plastic threads anchored to the bottom of the sea which hold in place, on the surface, large sheets similar to leaves under which a shaded area is formed which stimulates the gathering of large quantities of fish. In fact, these illegal devices, once they are not in use anymore, are abandoned and remain intact on the seabed, causing the entrapment and consequent death of marine fauna. Sea Shepherd Italia recovers these materials and iMilani processes them (without adding additives) to create boxes that will be used to contain, protect and save, for example, the turtles recovered by Sea Shepherd Italia volunteers, facilitating their work on the coasts. Aqua Mutabilis interprets, reflects and relaunches the discourse behind Sea Turtle Crates: it will be visible to the public from 5 to 13 July and from 21 to 25 August 2024 at the park of Villa Ca' Cornaro in Romano D'ezzelino, hosted by AMA Festival.

Exactly like water, which takes shape based on the surface it touches, Aqua Mutabilis will reappear on future occasions traveling with iMilani and Sea Shepherd Italia, taking on new declinations from time to time and enriching itself in life and meanings.

Aqua Mutabilis does not aim to enchant visually, but to provoke deep and necessary reflection on the impact of human activities on the marine environment.

The Artwork

Aqua Mutabilis reflects on how waste has invaded and contaminated the seas, replacing, sometimes in an indistinguishable way - as in the case of microplastics - water itself, that fundamental element for all life and in particular for marine life. Mimicry, substitution and erasure are fought with visibility and thus showing, metaphorically, where to start to resolve. Like a parasite, which once identified is studied to be eradicated, marine waste meets the alchemical charge of gold, a symbol of value and hope. This creates a contrast with the degraded nature of the materials, aiming to highlight the tragedy of the treatment of the oceans and relaunching speculation on the topic. Like a bacterium to be eradicated, but thanks to which an awareness of a particular condition also occurs, Aqua Mutabilis wants to suggest that environmental damage needs to be first recognized in order to then be exploited as a starting point for a healing process and regeneration; of attention, approach, study and subsequent conscious restoration of balance.

The possibility remains open: transforming what is degraded into a symbol of new life and hope, the gold leaf covering, this particular contrasting liquid often used in the artistic practice of Riccardo Rizzetto, recalls the idea of ​​a possible rebirth and it makes room for the potential for transformation and redemption. Echoing Henri Louis Bergson's élan vital, in fact, a vital force still seems to be able to emerge. Can this glimmer of hope once again guide ideals of growth and evolution?

“Existing means changing, changing means maturing, maturing means continuing to create oneself incessantly.”

Henri Louis Bergson

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