Biennale Gherdëina – 9th edition 

Lorenzo Giusti appointed curator of the 9th edition of Biennale Gherdëina entitled “The Parliament of Marmots”, takingplase from 31 May to 1 September 2024 in Ortisei and in the surrounding areas of Val Gardena, Dolomites, Italy.

‘The Parliament of Marmots’ will be part of a broader network of initiatives, which will also expand to the Bergamo area and the Orobie mountain range, under the project title ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’, over the two-year period 2024–25, along with other areas.

The title of the Biennale Gherdëina ‘The Parliament of Marmots’ is borrowed from one of the best-known legends of the Dolomites, which tells the story of the ‘Fanes’, a meek and peaceful people whose kingdom extended beyond the seven mountains to the edge of the world. The secret of the Fanes’ prosperity lay in their alliance with the marmots that inhabited the plateau of the same name. When the alliance was broken because of a princess, ashamed of their pact with the animals, the Fanes met with misfortunes and conflicts that led to the decline of the kingdom.

Through various formats – including new productions for the public space, performances, solo and group exhibitions and workshops open to the public – ‘The Parliament of Marmots’ will gather the contributions of artists from different areas of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, bringing together a multifaceted community in the wonderful natural setting of Val Gardena, called upon here to lay the creative foundations for a new strategic alliance between all species of the living world.

‘Thinking Like a Mountain’ is an expression coined by the American forester and environmental writer Aldo Leopold following an encounter with a pack of wolves. In A Sand County Almanac – a collection of reflections published posthumously in 1949 – we read: “Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howling of the wolf.”

For Leopold, thinking like a mountain means being able to appreciate all the elements of the living and their profound relationships; an invitation to transcend the anthropocentric point of view and contemplate the ecosystem as an organism endowed with balance and harmony, and the wilderness as a treasure chest of regenerative mechanisms and processes to be safeguarded.

In the context of the Biennale Gherdëina and the other initiatives planned for the 2024–25 period, Leopold’s expression becomes a key to interpreting the project’s desire to promote an ethic of the Earth, stemming from responsible interaction with natural spaces and the shared exercise of a creativity that respects regenerative rhythms and validates differences between various species.