For an anti-speciesist landscape

Romina Anna Pia Totaro

Romina Anna Pia Totaro is from a small sea city in the south of Italy. She studied Architecture at Politecnico of Milano, with an exchange experience at the Universidad Pontificia de Santiago de Chile. After her graduation in 2019, she worked as part of the editorial team of domusweb, and now she’s continuing to work for them as contributor. At the moment she’s also working for an architecture office in Paris.

Anthropocene is the proposed name for a geological epoch in which the main factor in determining Earth’s livability is humans. Currently the rate of biological extinction is several hundred times beyond its historical levels, and most of Earth’s biodiversity may not survive the 21st century. We need to re-learn lost forms of curiosity, such as accepting the multi-species interweaving and complexity that surrounds us: accepting our response-ability, taking care. Donna Haraway describes this practice as generating kin, “practice necessary for learning to live and die well, with each other, in such a dense present.”

Landscape, specifically, enacts rhythms that are not only human. Over the past two centuries, some ties have been severed at a dizzying pace. We have deforested, drilled, mined, fertilized, excavated, deposited radioactive particles. An awakening to reality is urgently needed, and a collective effort is urgently needed to repair not only the links, but also our view of the position of human beings in the universe. Because, as Paola Antonelli would say, “our only chance of survival is to design our own extinction, elegantly”.

Design remains an important repair tool. To follow these rhythms, we need new histories and new definitions, where architecture can no longer claim to work in isolation. Interdisciplinarity and the fading of boundaries between specific knowledge – scientific and humanistic – is now a necessity.

This research aims to find, through physical examples or speculative fabula, possible ways of dialogue and collaboration between species. Starting from ecological corridors, exploring the collaborative survival of matsutake fungi, up to dealing with practices of unconscious cooperation, the aim is to outline a first dialogue map of the topic. 

 Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm                Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm                 Assume There’s a Landscape is a collective work investigating the non-urban realm