The Green City

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The Green City is a photographic work realised in Abu Dhabi during the fourth step of the project. The final works are composed by photos on alluminium and mirror engraved with extract of poems of the Arabic poets who signed the Manifesto.

"...I am delighted to stop in  Abu Dhabi with Maria Rebecca Ballestra and share with her this fourth step, this “maqâm”  in her journey into fragility. The Maqâm is a concept deeply anchored in arab collective consciousness. The arab word for “Step” or Station is « Maqâm » a transcending stop in a trip, in a journey. Maria Rebecca, then, reminds me of the book written by Abu Muhammad al Qasim ibn Ali al-Hariri (1054-1122), titled «Al-Maqamat”, plural of “Maqam», fifty steps, “stations” for his fifty short stories related each one to a city in the Muslim world of that time. Then Maria Rebecca’s steps or stations in, Madagascar, Switzerland, Ghana, Abu Dhabi, are the post  modern “Maqâmats” that testify of our footprint on mother Earth. Transmission, memory, prejudice to earth and sometimes caring  “ex. of Masdar City”  combined with new technologies will be shown in Maria’s  journey into fragility project."

The West started to consider that water was about to become a scarce resource and that it could make sense to launch actions towards its conservation. Very rapidly, this move spread to other parts of their daily life and it was the starting point of the ecologist or so called « green » activities. In parallel, it happened that western Europe experienced a deficit in rains or unexpected heat periods to which they were not prepared. The level of table waters started to shrink, rivers would become empty so that the availability of water became a strategic issue. This were the times where some people considered towing icebergs from the poles to those regions in order to cope with the water demand!

But basically, something new had happened, which had never been on the agenda of the fathers in Europe : desertification , limited access to water ! We all know the subsequent developments with a green sensitivity and particular attention to the management of nature resources. In governments, we saw the creation of Ministries for the Environment. In the public, associations like Green Peace came to the forefront of our attention and actually influenced the decisions of governments. This is where Masdar enters the world stage and deserves its full legitimacy. Is there any other part of the world where it would make more sense for such an initiative? The source of water obviously, but also the source of all efforts that our fathers have taught to us in order to preserve the nature in a harsh environment. We are the heirs of generations who have been living in sandy places with large quantities of salty or brackish waters – nothing to secure their survival! Therefore we are prepared to understand the value of a drop of water on a leaf at dawn, and it is our heritage to draw the attention of the world on these wealths. That’s why Maria Rebecca Ballestra ‘s project has all its significance.

This is why we have to support Masdar’s endeavours, and this is the ideal place where the artists will play a significant role. We expect them to extract from our complicated daily life the signals that new behaviours are mandatory. The orchards are mature and we all know that the most important is the friend who will accompany us in this journey. Let’s have Masdar as this friend !  (Mamia Bretesche)