As the salinization of the land in Venice transforms the vegetation, the local culture has to adapt to the new conditions. By offering tools to process halophytes and a dedicated bi-lingual publication, Raccogliere (Italian "to gather and collect") suggests a new way to face the changing landscape.
The Salt Age
Located between land and sea, Venice always found itself at the mercy of the tides and weather conditions alike. In 1966 the high sea levels and flooding would change the agricultural landscape of the lagoon forever; The well-known peach trees disappeared on Saint’Erasmos, and instead the dawn of the salty tomato was upon the Venetians. Today farmers lose their fertile grounds bit by bit as salinization slowly forces its way through the land. This is the front line of climate change. Yet In these extreme conditions, some plants are thriving, namely halophytes, salt-loving plants such as salicornia.
Despite the growing abundance of salicornia in the lagoon's marshlands (Barene), its many possible uses, and high market value, Venetians have been unable to make use of it. Not only is the harvest prohibited by different organizations, but navigating the shallow waters requires skills, which mainly only local fishermen possess. Farmers, on the other hand, are yet to be fully convinced that this plant-architect could be a possible new crop.
But as the land transforms the vegetation, the local culture must adapt to the new conditions. Through a collection of tools, the project speculates about the future of the lagoon when Venetians will recognize the many benefits of salicornia and other halophytes, and gain access to harvest it, cultivate it, and process it for different uses. With a dedicated bi-lingual publication featuring local voices calling for regenerative practices, Raccogliere invites the local community to rethink the commons in the lagoon, forming a resilient society.
About the designers
Daniel Garber and Amalia Magril are a multi-disciplinary design duo based in The Netherlands. In their practice, the duo involves critical reflections and in-depth research of production systems, supply chains, and visual and material cultures, in order to better understand the forces that shape our everyday lives and environments.
Sigrid Schmeisser is a multi-disciplinary designer from Austria, based in The Netherlands. Schmeisser works both in the arts & culture and the academic sector. Strong research and conceptual approach underpin her commercial work leading to publications, exhibition designs, and multi-media projects. In her self-directed work, she investigates critical topics within (visual) culture, the waste crisis as well the relationship between humans and plants.