Teatro Della Terra Alienata (Theatre of the Alienated Land) is the name of the Australian Pavilion designed by the UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the XXIII Triennale di Milano: Broken Nature. The work responds to the recent mass coral bleaching events that signalled the rapid decline of the Great Barrier Reef and frames its decay as a wicked problem that demands urgent and radical political intervention.
In 2018, the Australian government decided to partially outsource the preservation of the reef – Earth's largest living structure – to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, a charity supported by major mining and insurance companies, banks, and airlines. The current preservation of the reef is managed by a technological apparatus that monitors and manicures to maintain the “natural spectacle” alive.
Teatro Della Terra Alienata portrays this technological arsenal as a ‘theatre of distraction’ that conceals the biggest threats to the GBR’s survival: the global dependency on fossil fuels and unbridled growth, and a local economy devoted to mining, fracking and intensive agriculture. The exhibition is an architectural installation with two sides. At the front, it presents the technologies of preservation that currently operate at the reef, at the back it stages a 30-minute film that imagines a fictional future where the activities driving the Great Barrier Reef’s degradation are dismantled and the reef and its catchment areas become a testing ground for alternative political imaginaries around an economy of joy, open borders and deceleration.
The work blends the creative work of UTS researchers with selected audiovisual artworks and outstanding student projects from the Factory of Hyper Ecologies studio, a subject led by Amaia Sanchez-Velasco in the UTS Master of Architecture, in collaboration with academics from the UTS School of Life Science. Inspired by Laboria Cuboniks’ Xenofeminist Manifesto, it was the winner of the Triennale di Milano’s highest honour, the Golden Bee.
Amaia Sanchez-Velasco, Jorge Valiente Oriol, Miguel Rodríguez Casellas and Gonzalo Valiente.
Audiovisual artworks were contributed by some of Australia’s most prominent artists, including well-known environmentalist Janet Laurence, Çiğdem Aydemir, Shoufay Derz, Liam Benson, Madison Bycroft and Patricia Reed.