LandWorks Sardinia

For this year’s international landscape workshop, 80 participants led by landscape architecture experts worked among the ruins and abandoned spaces of a military base on Caprera Island.

This year’s international landscape workshop LandWorks was held among the ruins and abandoned spaces of a military base on the island of Caprera. Now in its third year, the project is driven and promoted by the local authorities, including the Ente Parco, Comune della MaddalenaRegione Sardegna and Ente Foreste, with the aim of inspiring ideas for new uses and the conversion of these abandoned locations.

Landworks Sardinia
Top: the work by Craig Verzone at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Annacaterina Piras. Above: the work by Christian Phongphit at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Christian PhongPhit

Although recently much used and abused on the Venetian university scene, the expression “theatres of war” does seem to fit this year’s workshop, plunged into what remains of a now-dormant military life. Set against the backdrop of a marine landscape that is all too popular for its beautiful coastlines (it is, after all, the Maddalena Archipelago), it remains dotted with the powerful signs of attack and defence structures linked to a totally different philosophy.

This changing context calls for the projection of a different future awareness of the Mediterranean landscape, one that previously had its own “theatre”, triangulations and places of refuge, and one that impressed its own mentality and laws on the social framework of the local communities. Today, what remains are crumbling constructions, stones, rubble and iron worn away by the sea salt, all mixed with intensely fragrant vegetation, the erosive action of the ever-present and relentless wind and a hugely inviting sea.

Landworks Sardinia 2013
Work by Stefan Tischer at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Andrea Faggioni
From 23 May to 2 June 2013, an international group of about 80 participants, led by landscape architecture experts, were deployed to parts of the island where these tangible signs of recent history appear and blend with a landscape full of questions and expectations. Complex and well-pondered works took shape in the space of a week, landscape installations that, although of ephemeral concept, sank themselves in the matter, population and pressing interrogatives of the location, conveying a need shared with the local players to acquire new means of expression and new communication strategies with which to discuss the future of these landscapes. Sue Anne Ware of RMIT Melbourne, Gabriella Trovato of AUB Beiruth, Stefan Tischer of LabCap Berlin, Christian Phongphit of Soa+D Bangkok, Ferdinand Ludwig of Baubotanik  Stuttgart, Craig Verzone of VWA Lausanne, Roberto Zancan of Domus Milan and Carlo Scoccianti of ArtLand Florence were the team leaders for this experience and – in different ways and from different angles – they selected the locations, steered the work and supervised the construction of the project.
Landoworks Sardinia 2013
The installation by Christian Phongphit at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Chris Phongphit

It started with a piece of woollen cloth, a long blanket on which red thread was employed to tell a story in homage to Maria Lai, an artist who died recently, and express the roots of this land. Red embroidery on the walls of an abandoned fort narrates a story in many languages, a meditation on the landscape that adopted needle and thread rather than rake and spade but which still successfully forged a link between the history of a land and the landscapes that are its tangible expression. Sue Anne Ware and Gabriella Trovato had the job of guiding this group of landscape embroiderers.

In different ways and in a dune habitat, the group coordinated by Carlo Scoccianti produced a work that reflects on the interaction between humans and natural processes.

Landworks Sardinia 2013
The work by Craig Verzone at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Annacaterina Piras

Punta Rossa, a narrow strip of rock covered with the installations of the abandoned military base, became a rich microcosm in a composite and narrative work placed here by the group led by Craig Verzone. Crossing the back of this petrified cetacean, strewn with the trenches and platforms of cannons that are no more, you come across 18 installations that describe the many ways people can coexist with these ruins and discover languages that unveil their presence on the landscape.

Deserted houses and stores on the water’s edge were brought to life by expressive figures created by Roberto Zancan’s group, intimate apparitions that appear suddenly along the way of those lost in the blinding light of the outdoor spaces. It is the wind that fills the sails arranged on the quay and moves tiny white ribbons hanging from a mesh of taut threads.

Landworks Sardinia 2013
Work by Ferdinand Ludwig at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Annacaterina Piras
Not far from Stagnali, on the Poggio Bacca path to a post with a sweeping view of the archipelago, Christian Phongphit reasoned on the perception of the landscape by scattering the surfacing rocks and crumbling buildings with a multitude of chairs drawn from the municipal stores and all painted the same. The work of listening to the surrounding landscape, epitomised by the basic presence of rooms in abandoned buildings, reaches a climax in the scene that appears on entering the nave of the Porto Palma stores, where Christian Phongphit and his group constructed a play of taut threads and a dance of boats they had found.
Landworks Sardinia 2013
The installation by Roberto Zancan at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Luigi Latini
The waves give way to spaces that we cross deep in thought and, as in the depths of the sea, the light filters sharply and mysteriously from above but this time through the roof of a nave riddled with holes and eroded by the salt air. In the carefully thought-out work of the landscape artist, this empty building became an optical device that plays a subtle game of confusing water and air – the wind-filled air that has moulded this landscape and in which we would love to keep moving.
Landworks Sardinia 2013
The work by Stefan Tischer at the workshop "Landworks Sardinia 2013". Photo Gregorio Farolfi

The Landworks Sardinia 2013 workshop was led by a technical committee composed of Stefan Tischer and Annacaterina Piras, in collaboration with DADU-Università di Sassari and the Master in Mediterranean Landscape Urbanism.


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