Raccogliere Magazine Nr.1 focusses on the Venetian intertidal zone and community through the lens of a more-than-human actor and plant called salicornia. It grows in the fragile salty marshlands known by the locals as the »barene«. There, the salt-loving plant solidifies the soil beneath with its intricate red roots and thereby creates the conditions for itself and other plants to thrive.
Over the last decades salicornia has become an indicator for the manifold challenges present within the lagoon. Spotted by local farmers on their land, the plant indicates the rising levels of salinisation and thus the loss of agricultural land due to global warming. Recent years saw the plant growing even further up the sweet-water river Po, which is alarming to ecologists and climate scientists alike. Some say, that Venice could be regarded as the forefront of global warming today, as flooding and salinisation threaten the ecosystem and livelihoods of many.
Both UNESCO’s protection of the marshlands as well as the MOSE construction have affected the fragile intertidal zone even further. While the former may unwittingly contribute to the loss of marshlands since privately managed sites are kept up better, the latter has been met with scepticism as it failed to protect Venice from flooding meaningfully, whilst having been a rather extensive financial investment in a city that struggles financially (see Alberto Barausse’s interview). The challenge of mass tourism and cruise ships have had further impacts on the local community, leading many to leave the infamous city due to lack of housing (see Jane da Mosta article).
The list may go on yet bearing this in mind, we wondered on how these different agendas in this fragile ecosystem might be mediated, if at all? What might be actions of regeneration that local Venetians may consider or already practice? We talked to scientists, NGOs, chefs, artists and designers about combating these challenges and their individual long-term efforts and responses in the face of global warming. The magazine features these conversations and their respective projects, all of which promotes resilience and regenerative actions. Not at last they suggest a different vision and understanding of Venice and its crucial ecosystem. We continue this work through our Blue Pages.
The first issue of Raccogliere also tells the story of objects designed by Amalia Magril and Daniel Garber for a future Venice, in which Venetians will be able to engage with their local environment differently.
The design of the zine takes visual cues and references from the Venetian lagoon landscape and it is printed on RISOgraph (rice-based inks) with three colours on recycled offset paper.