Carlo is an independent curator and researcher. His practice explores interdisciplinary responses to environmental concerns, in order to challenge established ideas of ‘exhibiting nature’. With the Wilderness Archive he invites us to reconsider the legacy of traditional classification methods, modes of knowledge production and transmission, and environmental preservation strategies.
Before starting the Wilderness Archive, Carlo founded the Exhibition Road Commission in 2016, an interdisciplinary commission awarded to artist Tomas Saraceno, where he curated a programme co-produced by 16 leading cultural institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Serpentine Galleries, National History Museum and Imperial College London. In 2017 he curated a series of ‘on-board’ debates during the first Antarctic Biennale expedition to the Antarctic peninsula and participated in the first Antarctic Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Later the same year he presented on the subject of interdisciplinary explorations at the Royal Geographical Society.
Outside his curatorial practice, Carlo is an academic researching contemporary Middle Eastern art collections in Western museums and their role in intercultural dialogue and cultural diplomacy. He also established Studio Fiorentino, a boutique advisory firm which advises governments and cultural organisations in the Gulf and Europe.
FIELDWORK Q&A – December 2019
What interests you about fieldwork in artistic and/or geographic practice?
The Wilderness Archive is based on the principle of the ‘area study’, using geography as a starting point to understand how different stories converge into a specific remote location. The projects focuses specifically on places that preserve a certain ‘liminal’ quality: they are reachable, yet at the furthest edge of inaccessible areas; they contain visible signs of anthropization, yet remain mostly unexplored.
How is fieldwork part of your research and/or work?
Fieldwork is the main practice at the basis the Wilderness Archive. All those who contribute to the production of records live and work for extended periods of time in each selected location.
How would you describe your fieldwork activity?
It is generally non-extractive. Observation and the use of simple recording technologies (photography, drawing, film, field recording) is combined with interviews and research of local archives.
Wilderness Archive, current
The Wilderness Archive functions as a proto-library/museum that defies traditional methods of classification and exhibition of wilderness in urban institutional archives and its representation in popular culture. The project activates multiple strands of interdisciplinary research in remote areas commonly perceived as ‘untouched’, with the aim to reveal hidden layers of interconnectedness between human activity and the wider ecosystem impacted by it. Through text, images, found objects and audio-visual material as well as curated selections of pre-existing local archives, the Wilderness Archive builds a collection of records that tells the untold stories of each location in which it is situated.
The Wilderness Archive is a collaborative initiative founded by independent researcher and maker Carlo Rizzo. The first Archive has been produced in partnership with the Fundación Mar Adentro and is hosted by the Foundation in Bosque Pehuén, a private conservation area in the Araucanía region of Chile. A selection of records from the Bosque Peuhén Archive was exhibited at the Centro Cultural la Moneda in Santiago, Chile, from October 2020 to May 2021. The second Archive is currently under development in the Tusheti region of Georgia, in collaboration with the Aqtushetii residency and the Tbilisi Photography Museum.
Field Research, Exhibition and Archive