Gilles Clément’s realist utopia

Video-interview by Ettore Favini and Alessandra Sandrolini with planetary gardener Gilles Clément on concepts of biodiversity and a green utopia.

Biodiversity is the basic concept of the work and theories of Gilles Clément, gardener and philosopher, designer as well as the theorist of the Third Landscape. One of the last great living utopianists, according to Ettore Favini, an artist born in 1974, who, together with Alessandra Sandrolini, interviewed him last summer in his Paris home.

“The interview/conversation”, explains Favini, “is based on the notion of diversity, today a utopian concept in society, economy and nature”. In society, for example, the diverse is always placed on the margins and excluded. At an economic level there is no kind of diversity because there is always a prevailing model. Finally, also in agriculture and ecology, Clément with his Manifesto of the third landscape starts with the awareness that diversity is a marginality and as such is often excluded.

The artist from Cremona goes a step further though asking himself (and passing the question on to Clément) if a buildable utopia exists. After having analysed the pursuits of a number of great utopianists from the past in search of an alternative daily life (including Alexander Supertramp, protagonist of the film Into the Wild by Sean Penn), in the interview Clément also describes his own “daily and concrete utopia”: the “active resistance” against the French law that forbids the use of natural seeds, imposing farmers to use only commercial seeds, hybrids. The “planetary gardener” along with a group of activists has distributed seeds to the farmers and has offered to substitute himself for the farmers in case of arrest.

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