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Cultivate the City with Michele Savorgnano and Lorenzo Basadonna Scarpa, Ortofoto

Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century


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Available on Ocean Archive, SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes and Google Podcast.

In the sixth episode of Nowtilus. Stories from an urban lagoon in the 21st century, we go on an adventure to discover the green spaces of Venice, looking not only for plants and trees, but also for spaces and ideas that promote a new way of cultivating this city. Joining us on this journey are Michele Savorgnano, founder of the F.U.D. (Fattoria Urbana Diffusa/Popular Urban Farm) project, and Lorenzo Basadonna Scarpa, co-creator of the Ortofoto project, along with Giovanni Dal Sasso and Lucrezia Lamera (mapsontheluum). Michele Savorgnano will be talking to us about permaculture, community vegetable gardens and hidden gardens, while Lorenzo Basadonna Scarpa will take us on a journey to discover the solitary trees that populate Venice, reconstructing their significance and their importance in the ambitious project of classification and mapping instigated by Ortofoto.

Episode available on Ocean Archive, SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes and Google Podcast.

Music: Chateau Rouge by Christian Fennesz, taken from the album “Venice" (2004), and extracts from Écouter le monde (2017) by Riccardo Sellan.

Michele Savorgnano – Fattoria Urbana Diffusa

Born and raised in the Bassa Friulana area, he learned to love the land from his grandparents, who were farmers. He moved to Venice as an adult, and for many years he didn’t realize that there was something important missing in his life, the countryside. With some of his friends, he decided to look for a green space where they could start a community vegetable garden. In 2009 he founded SpiazziVerdi, on the island of Giudecca, which was the first community vegetable garden in the city (and one of the first in Italy), and they immediately started to experiment with various horticultural techniques, dealing with themes relating to new lifestyles, declining population, and other economies, so in other words, more than just the soil.

In the same year he started a journey with the Italian Academy of Permaculture, and the principles of David Holmgren would then be applied to the garden on Giudecca, transforming it into something more than just a garden: a friendly open-air meeting place where people go to work the land, eat the fruits of their labor, and dream about the future of their city. He began a training course with the Experiential Travelling School of Organic Agriculture.

For many years he has designed vegetable gardens and “edible” gardens, and he undertakes teaching and consultancy work relating to permaculture and social agriculture. In 2013 he founded F.U.D. which became an association in December 2017.

Lorenzo Basadonna Scarpa – Ortofoto

An orthophoto is an aerial photograph, or a satellite image, that has been geometrically corrected. In this way, the scale is uniform, and the picture can be considered equivalent to a geographical map.
The concept of orthophoto is the point of departure for the project here presented, a detailed itinerary that immortalises the public trees handled by Venice's city administration.

In contrast to the real meaning of the name 'ortofoto' (that translates literally as 'vegetable garden-photo' in Italian), this project focuses on views of public green spaces observed during a series of walks around the streets and squares of Venice. A meticulous examination of the sites in the city where trees become protagonists, in an artificial context, just like the city that hosts them.
Trees of different dimensions and forms, trees that give comfort and protection, trees that provide a meeting point in public spaces, trees that are often hardly even observed or are taken for granted.

Using creative methods to represent the Geo-localization and objective use of photography, the trees of Venice are given new prominence.
Each photo is given a title that reports its geographic coordinates, rather than the place where it can be found; On the map, instead, the areas where photos were taken are indicated, but without marking the precise spot where to see trees.
This means that the spectator is encouraged to examine the map, to find routes through the streets of Venice and to re-live our own walks in order to discover the city's green spaces.

Ortofoto is an ongoing exhibition project that completes from edition to edition, to continue the story of the Venetian public green. The map itself will be in the making, as a tangible record of previous editions and of Venice’s places that we testified.