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Historian David Christian, shows that man is unable to see beyond his own shadow, more or less a time period of some 70 years. Gathered from all possible scientific disciplines, he has proven that no other species on earth has more influence on the state of the earth itself than humans do.
Why do we as humanity fail to behave like temporary guests on this planet? There seem to be no unequivocal answers. The signals are there, scientific reports, books, documentaries and natural disasters are everywhere. A radically different approach is necessary globally. With national and global politics aimed at periods of only a few years, thinking across generations remains very difficult and cooperation on a global level is almost a utopia.
Gert Holstege, a renowned neuroscientist, taught me that his scientific discipline sees our human brain as a computer. Like any living organism, we are programmed for two things only; preserving the individual and preserving the species. Can we get past our brain’s programming to contain our human impact on the Earth and its fragile balance?
From an anthropological angle it is precisely the attitude of immediately coming up with a solution when a problem presents itself. Taking immediate action is often partly responsible for the problem itself. ‘Taking a step back’ can provide a more in-depth insight. But do we still have time for that or should we make time for it? Do we soothe our souls or allow ourselves to think about what is really being asked of us?
“Viriditas” is a reminder of the importance of our connection to nature and comes from the Latin words for “GREEN” and “TRUTH”. (Hildegard von Bingen, 12th century AD)
The ‘Viriditas’ triptych installation was exhibited for the first time during the Big Art 2021 exhibition Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Concept ‘Viriditas’: Birgit Verwer
Design chairs: Sedia 1 by Enzo Mari, 1974
Local oakwood: sustainably sawn by wind at national monument wood sawmill De Salamander in Leidschendam, The Netherlands.
The logs come from the The Hague region, including Royal estate De Horsten in Wassenaar, the Netherlands.
Cut to size by: miller Rick Vermeulen of De Salamander and craftswoman Marjet Röling
Technical & construction support: Marjet Röling
Oak finish in eco hardwax
Wooden letters in water-based black paint
The chair I used as a base is a designclassic by Enzo Mari (1932-2020), the Sedia 1 from the Autoprogettazione (proposal for Self-Design) series. The Sedia 1 is a do-it-yourself design from 1974, with which Mari aims to re-evaluate the process of making and the design process itself. Open Source design which can feel more ‘valuable’ because you make and assemble it yourself. Mari questioned design, preferred functionality above comfort while holding an aversion to decoration and trends. Instead he focused on the manufacturing process and attention to the craft. His queries remain topical and urgent to this day.
The Sedia 1 is fitted with a curved base and a framework supporting wooden text in my own handwriting. Turning the three Sedia 1 chairs into rocking chairs. With the additions I made, I tried not to affect the integrity of Mari’s design. The ‘Viriditas’ rocking chairs are made of a leftover batch of local oak.