‘Green Lens is a living artwork. It is simultaneously an artwork, installation and stage. It's like a lighthouse that one can journey to and have a very personal experience, while it also transmits light, ideas and questions. A focal point that allows all of us to share our ideas and visions for the future post Covid... a celebration and inquiry into the future.’ – Doug Aitken
Green Lens is a living art installation and cultural stage. It is set in Venice, Italy, a sinking city strongly impacted by the rise of the oceans. The surrounding city creates a strong ecological narrative within the artwork that speaks to the idea of the future in the post-Covid world. Located on the island of Isola della Certosa, Green Lens is a living experiential artwork and destination.
Green Lens evokes the future through its crystalline reflective surfaces and reveals a kaleidoscopic view through its dense botanic environment. It is a freestanding artwork. From the exterior it creates a choreography of changing reflections of clouds, mist and wild green vegetation. The reflective sculpture transforms the landscape which was once a military munition factory and from 1960 onward was neglected and abandoned. The installation becomes a living abstraction with the viewer at the centre of the narrative. As day turns to night Green Lens glows and becomes a kinetic light sculpture and sound composition.
Green Lens sparks a dialogue linking the natural landscape with our future. In the twenty-first century, we explore the complexities of how to create a balance and harmony with the natural environment. An environment where nature is empowered again and the weight of the past lifts to become fluid and inspiring.
The artwork will create a starting point of reforesting the island. Trees – plants living in Green Lens – will be donated to Isola della Certosa as part of the reforestation programme and the restructuring project to make the cloister ruins accessible again to Venice’s citizens and its international public.
Green Lens rests on this small island, like liquid architecture, it creates an immersive environment where the natural landscape and human history and innovation merge. The installation evokes a mysterious planet, a New World, one that feels as if it has just been discovered.
The installation creates a contemporary lens allowing us to reflect the living world around us in a unique and powerful way. It is both a celebration and conversation of the future.
Green Lens will be activated with a sequence of performances and conversations that are thought-provoking and provocative, focusing on the future as interpreted by musicians, speakers and dancers. ‘What is the Future?’ is the narrative threaded throughout the project. These activations will be filmed by Aitken and released for the public to have access to this living artwork and stage for voices and culture.
All Greenhouse Gases (GhGs) emissions related to the event are offset through reforestation programmes particularly dedicated to Isola della Certosa garden, respecting its natural and original ecosystem through a consulting local environmental specialist.
Image: Doug Aitken, Green Lens, 2021, commissioned by Anthony Vaccarello in partnership with Saint Laurent
Courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Victoria Miro Gallery, London; and Regen Projects, Los Angeles