The lack of interest in the imminent catastrophe contrasted by the vague hopes of Edward Burtynsky and the desperate cry of Antonio Moresco

In the long history of our tiny planet, mass extinctions have occurred roughly every 100 million years, leading to the total disappearance of most life forms and the development of others more suited to the new environmental conditions. These biotic transitions, however inauspicious, marked milestones in the development of the chronology of life on Earth in the study of the evolution of living species, to the point that the last of them occurred between the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic (precisely that of the dinosaurs, completed about 65 million years ago), is considered the fundamental catalyst of the birth of man and life as we know it today.
For the past forty years, we have been talking about important changes, both climatic and environmental, which are considered embryonic symptoms of a distortion that is about to (relatively) soon manifest. And if this upheaval was already underway? And if it were even inevitable? And if we were in the presence of the principle of the great sixth mass extinction?

Paul Crutzen, awarded with a Nobel Prize in chemistry, in his Welcome to the Anthropocene, introduces into pop culture a term coined by the biologist Eugene F. Stoermer in the eighties of the twentieth century to indicate the beginning of a new era, totally different from all the previous ones. In his work, he presents the Anthropocene as the era in which man is the main cause of climate change, land transformation, the extinction of thousands of species and the progressive homogenization of different ecosystems. Starting from this description, Edward Burtynsky, a Canadian photographer who became famous thanks to his ability to immortalize industrial landscapes, with the collaboration of Nicholas de Pencier and Jennifer Baichwal, award-winning documentaries, embarks on a journey that leads him to create a project including interactive exhibitions, a documentary film, a photographic book and a series of educational courses and conferences.

The images of Anthropocene leave you breathless for their richness in details, for the vivid colors and for an unexpected beauty, from which emerges a need to document human activity and the transformation of the landscape caused by it, yet it seems for this very reason contrasting with the film and the actual denunciation. The same Burtynsky declares several times that he intends to describe minutely the problem, without pointing the finger at anyone, to get to a greater diffusion of the discussion and, hypothetically, to an easier solution.

All my landscapes aren’t disaster landscapes. These are business-as-usual landscapes. These are the things that we create.

The photographer in question is therefore simply a witness to the transfiguration that has taken place or is underway: Burtynsky is thus fascinated by the work of man on nature to show off an almost abstract beauty, photographing landscapes from a considerable distance (about 450 meters from the ground) and failing to bridge that distance with nothing but astonishment, very useful for sales, but not to an environmental cause. In short, this is explicitly an aesthetic operation that to say "smoking is one of the major causes of lung cancer" praises nicotine and blackened lungs: according to the photographer himself, his work is a "silent lament ", which therefore can only vanish in the daily noise.

On the other hand, that of Antonio Moresco, a writer who has been ignored for too long, is a real scream capable of tearing apart the sky weighed down by the discharges of our industries and our waste. A scream two hundred pages long, recently published by SEM, in which the writer brings up everyone: alive, dead, dying and immortal, even putting himself at stake as part of the system under accusation.

Finally a furious and determined pamphlet, finally an intellectual in Italy who is not afraid of being an intellectual, a writer who is not afraid to write, a man who is not afraid of being honest with himself and with others.

A huge event is taking place nowadays: we are the first human generations to live in front of immense species extinction.

This is the incipit of Il Grido, in which Moresco, after writing chaotic and burned novels, letters of love and hatred, and edgy fairy tales, decides to openly face with today's society and all that has created, since its origins. His book is an indictment of the suicidal logic pursued by humanity and in particular by those who hold the reins of an even more narrow and blind power, unable to see beyond their greed, unable to saw the branch rotten on which it sits, and which uses a simplified narrative, building a clash between atomized individuals incapable of real revolutionary awareness.
Yes, he speaks about revolution, but not a plagiarism of the French one, not one dictated by old ideological cages, but a total overturning, profoundly traumatic, capable of crumbling the supporting pillars of the contemporary vision of the world, deeply imbued with a ultra monotheistic religion, full of prophets and stoned idiotic fundamentalists who follow its foundations in every aspect of their lives: the theology of economics, of which today's democracies are only terminal emanations. Everything is Capital, it has a value in money and a surplus-value to be exploited, as well as the planet Earth itself, put on sale by God in Canti del Caos as the last possible frontier of the economic-financial thought.

Men imprisoned in the futile exercise of domination, women blocked by the attempt to replace them through technocracy, desperates fleeing poverty to become slaves of another misery, scientists and "experts" who give solutions to problems without taking into account the nature of those who have created this problem and of whom they are a part, those same self-pollinated human sapiens, now evolved into Homo Ridens, a final metamorphosis that constantly laughs, vainly, wretches who pretend an impossible but always photographable happiness, to share.

Where did the intellectuals, artists, scholars, possessors of culture end up,? Where are those who would be able to move consciences, to provoke actions and reactions? They hide, they escape, or they make themselves paralyzed by the Medusa, becoming elite of solace for a few, stones emptied of all virtues, puppets of the dominant power, megaphones of the Great Narrative Propaganda.

Or end up in a toilet. A public toilet lost in any suburb of any city. A toilet-world, in which everything takes place so to not let anything happen, where Moresco is lucky enough to meet and fight them, in front of those yellowed and encrusted urinals that act as incubators of those shadows that crowd into the night, when only restless, sleepless women and set on fire men wander. There, between the stench of urine and the constant roar of sleepless asses, the writer meets (after entertaining long conversations on the street with Stephen Hawking and Emily Dickinson) Darwin, Dostoevsky, Houellebecq, Balzac, Freud, Nietzsche, Marx, Severino, Elvis and Leopardi, all extraordinary personalities, all so taken by their ordinary bodily expulsion. Precisely in that atmosphere polluted by human excrements, Moresco provokes, defends itself, fights: he attacks the idea of ​​continuous progress and the social Darwinism derived from it; attacks philosophy (defined as "maid of the powers") which, dumbfounded by the presence of pain and evil, must, in order to survive, invent concepts and words that are totally detached from everything and everyone, vanishing into the cosmic void; attacks materialism and all the ideologies applied in society.

Why does capitalism immediately become a lack of freedom, a monopoly, a closed and rigged game, oppression and suffocation for others? Why does the mythical communism never arrive and real socialism becomes state capitalism, tyranny expressed in the name of the majority instead of a few, and persecution of differences? Why does democracy become a ferocious and self-referential war for enslaved gangs, aimed at stealing the delegation to the majority of electors dispossessed of the true terms of knowledge and cleverly subjugated and coaxed, in a mortal embrace and in a dynamic of servant-master who drags down everything and leads to tragic immobility [...]? Why have liberalism and free trade, born of the rationalistic illusions and tolerance of rising intellectual and social classes, transformed into the ruthless and savage ultra-liberalism that we see today? [...] Why can dictatorship become only criminal oppression of minds and bodies, conformism, infantilization and identification with the aggressor? Why, in the monarchy, for every enlightened monarch there are ten others in the dark, irresponsible, rotten, delirious, vile? Why does anarchy lead to the oppression of a few [...] in short, to something damn similar to what we face today?

The question can only have one answer, and it is precisely the one that must lead to the transformation of species."It is not possible to solve a problem with the same modes of thought that created it" is the continuous refrain that permeates the reading of Il Grido, a phrase attributed to Albert Einstein. It would take such a powerful and devastating shock to make us change course and, above all, the method and scheme of the conception of the idea and reasoning.
Instead, the voice of Maria Callas arrives and silences everyone and everything, unsettling with a infinite beauty that filthy toilet-world, guarded by Lyudmila, a fat and sleepy representation of the last, who does not tolerate the bad words and that group of intellectuals intent on discussing the maximum systems when she is forced to make a living cleaning the manure of others, a person enslaved by small and big masters, in constant struggle to not be robbed. 

It all ends after that sudden flash of beauty: that world is abandoned and the Modenese writer finds himself alone, wondering if perhaps he is the madman, given that everyone, even the alarmists, continue to eat, drink, sleep and give birth, smile like nothing had happened, as if the planet as we know it was not on the verge of a catastrophe. Meanwhile, time passes and the species basks in today, in mass suicide, in the happy and unconscious disappearance.

Using Format