VENICE — The UAE has been a laboratory for many years now, it is a laboratory of the past, present and future, said Roberto Cicutto, president of La Biennale di Venezia, during the inauguration of Aridly Abundant, the exhibition presented by the National Pavilion UAE – La Biennale di Venezia NPUAE.
Drawing inspiration from the title of the current edition, “The Laboratory of the Future,” President Cicutto expressed how impressed he was with the commitment of the Emirates to make culture a tool for development, not just economic or business gain but also for the understanding of things.
“Aside from the obvious things – the construction of museums and large collections – it seems to me that the Emirates are doing a lot of this for the education of young people,” he said referring to the “Venice Internship program” of the NPUAE that involves Italian interns selected from the prestigious Ca’Foscari University in Venice to work side-by-side with their UAE counterparts at the pavilion.
Cicutto also praised the dialogue with the UAE, which has been open since he began as the president of the Biennale. “I think there is a dialogue with the Emirates that has been open since the beginning, at least since I have been president of the Biennale, and that it will continue and we have also seen it as a form of collaboration with other Venetian institutions,” he continued.
Commenting on the theme of environmental climate challenges from the UAE Pavilion’s exhibition titled “Aridly Abundant”, Cicutto wanted to underline the great harmony with the policies of the Venice Biennale: “The pandemic has clearly shown the demands placed on architecture. I don’t think today we can think only in terms of aesthetics or expansion without taking sustainability into account. These are not just politically correct choices, they are daily commitments.”
Cicutto recalled the strong commitment of the Biennale to creating a sustainable event: “Since 2020, when the Architecture exhibition was postponed – but we managed to make the Film, Music, Theatre and Dance Festival – it was evident how to collect data on what produces the greatest CO2 emissions at events like ours has kept us busy. And we have come to conclusions, albeit temporary ones, that last year all our events were certified carbon neutral.”
“We have collected all the data of people arriving – how long they stay, what means of transport they use, how they behave with waste disposal. We do concrete things such as sourcing from green energy sources and we compensate economically for those tons of CO2 that we are unable to dispose of, by funding international projects to reduce emissions. The fact that the curator of the Biennale Architettura 2023, Lesley Lokko, has put decarbonization within the exhibition, doing concrete things, reusing the materials of the previous exhibition as the next curator will do, is one of the major commitments for us,” he concluded.