“Dear Raul Castro and Barack Obama,
On December 16, 2014, the Rebirth-Third Paradise symbol had been outlined on the sea off the coast of Cuba by the Cuban Rebirth Embassy and Galleria Continua, in collaboration with the artist Alexis Leiva 'Kcho' and the fishermen of Havana. The next day the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Cuban government and the government of the United States of America was announced. This coincidence of events has made clear the congruence between the symbol of Rebirth and the emergence of new geopolitical scenarios, affecting not just the two countries directly involved but the rest of the world too.”
This is the beginning of the letter written by Michelangelo Pistoletto to Barack Obama, President of the United States and Raul Castro, President of Cuba who Pistoletto met last November together with the artist Kcho. During the conversation President Castro expressed his great relief about the fact that the Rebirth-Third Paradise symbol can serve as a guide in the creation of a new political equilibrium, both locally and globally to exceed the conflicts that divide the world. From the next day until November 26 it has been held in Havana the 1st Forum Rebirth - Geographies of Change with which Pistoletto, Cittadellarte, the Rebirth Cuban embassy gave evidence that "it is possible to set practices of responsible change in motion through art, reconciling the different and opposing positions that condition society and politics. We have had the same situation that happened in Milan last March when on the occasion of the installation of the artwork Mela Reintegrata in Piazza Duca d'Aosta in front of the Central Rail Station it has been opened the 2nd Rebirth Forum – La Mela Reintegrata with which it has been opened a one-year operational site in Milan with the aim to share the meanings of the Mela Reintegrata".
But let’s go in order. What is Rebirth-Terzo Paradiso? In 2012 according to Maya prophecy on 12/21/2012 it would be the end of the world. From there the intuition of Michelangelo Pistoletto, a leading exponent of the Arte Povera movement, sawing in that date the end of a particular world, which he called Second Paradise, and the advent of the Third Paradise "that is, a world based on the balance between nature and artifice, between natural and human. Without any prevarication and with the 'global' involvement of all. On one hand, the First Paradise, that is the world of man in harmony with nature. On the other hand, the Second Paradise, which is the world of man who 'has bitten the apple', 'has stolen fire from the Gods', the world of technology well-represented by the symbol of a computer brand spread around the globe".
How can these two parts communicate? According Pistoletto is necessary to conceive a Third Paradise that creates a balance between these opposing forces (this is the reason of the re-integrated apple). This concept based on the theorem of Trinamica (the dynamics of the number three, which is the combination of two units which gives birth to a third unit) is very well expressed in the triple circle sign that represents the synthesis between thesis and synthesis. This sign has been installed last October in the park in front of the UN headquarters in Geneva to indicate "the new course" wanted by the United Nations on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of their foundation.
With Michelangelo Pistoletto’s words Third Paradise “is the fusion between the First and Second Paradise. The First is the Paradise in which humans were fully integrated into nature. The Second is the artificial Paradise, developed by humans through a process that has now reached globalizing proportions. This Paradise is made of artificial needs, artificial products, artificial comforts, artificial pleasures, and every other form of artifice. Humankind has formed a real artificial world that gives rise, in an exponential manner and in parallel with its beneficial effects, to irreversible processes of decline on a planetary scale. The danger of a tragic collision between the natural sphere and artificial has been announced in every way. The idea of the Third Paradise is to lead artifice—that is, science, technology, art, culture and political life—back to the Earth, while engaging in the reestablishment of common principles and ethical behavior, for on these the actual success of the project depends. The Third Paradise is the passage to a new level of planetary civilization, essential to ensure the human race's survival. The Third Paradise is the new myth that leads everyone to take personal responsibility at this momentous juncture.”
But Pistoletto is not new to initiatives that delegate to the art the power to resolve political and social issues. Think for example to his Manifesto Progetto Arte (1994) when he said: “Progetto Arte is based on the idea that art is the most sensitive and complete expression of thought and it is time that the artist takes upon itself the responsibility to create a communication between all the human activities, from economics to politics, from science to religion, from education to behavior, in short, all the elements of the society." Pistoletto firmly believes in an art social responsibility (I have often heard him saying that the word "aesthetic" includes the word "ethics") given by the commitment to a responsible social transformation. I do not know how realistic is the "demopraxy" about which he often speaks. This is the practices of creative civic engagement that I have started to put in place since I became an "ambassador" of this project along with many other colleagues and friends who share the same perspective. But I like to believe and move in a responsible and harmony perspective, that is, a perspective that aims to connect rather than divide, connect instead of distance.
When we became "ambassadors" we asked Pistoletto “ambassadors of what?” From which "state", which "territory"? Who is sending us as ambassadors? I remember that Pistoletto replied that we were ambassadors who came from the future, from a world based on the balance between opposing forces while maintaining their own autonomy and individuality are brought to seek and create constructive balance through dialogue between different positions. In this sense the project Geographies of change really create a new geography with places animated by a commitment to a responsible change of social systems.
Michelangelo Pistoletto and his projects are an example of how art and artists like politicians and economists may have an important social role in creating a world of responsibility and participation. Art is not just decoration or beauty as an end in itself but an extraordinary example of responsible and creative social transformation. "The symbol of the Third Paradise/Rebirth is the "rebirth" of society, a new world in which the "human community" joins, in which it promotes a dialogue between opposites in search of balance and harmony."