On October 2017, without mechanical means, we removed five tons of soil from the garden of the Villa Medici, and revealed 200 years of natural history.
From Pincio hill to Fori Imperiali, along Via Appia, Rome is bound to Pinus pinea: this tree sculpts the skyline, it plans paths and shows ways to the city’s outskirts and beyond. It is the eloquent figure of the Eternal City. Yet, it has other goals and means much more unfamiliar to us. In its kingdom, it measures its space and evaluates its environment; it fights and cooperates: with its neighbors, with evolving ecosystems, with the roads or architectures. Acting on the soil chemistries, hydraulic states, and atmosphere contents, roots record a history of earth and air.
We build landscape to please the eye, to bind a city to its dependencies, to mark out paths to political power.
Beneath the surface lies the ecology of our whims. It is strong, it has its wholeness, it thinks and remembers. And it taunts us: we who cut, we who dig, we who see incredulous and with dread that we haven’t figured out much yet. To expose this ecology is to build the corpus of our future resilience: an agora for all things.