The World Food Forum 2024: Good food for all, for today and tomorrow.

On the rocks (Unearthing Life) by Marco Cesari

On the rocks (Unearthing Life) by Marco Cesari

This year’s atrium centerpiece consists of a Ginseng Bonsai, or ficus microcarpa, nurtured and grown by the artist over the past two years in such a way that its roots have developed and clung to the underlying volcanic rock, adapting to its irregularities. The plant, periodically sprayed by mist, loses the soil present on its roots, revealing the mutable and temporary nature of the process. Below it, an iron platform hosts small floating plants that purify the water that accumulates after misting. According to the Marco, this installation is strongly linked to the flood that occurred during 2023 in Emilia Romagna, Italy his home region.

Emilia Romagna is currently one of Italy's most involved regions in the agricultural sector, both in terms of cultivated land and technological development and innovation. It is therefore of fundamental importance in the country’s agrifood system. The flooding was caused by heavy rainfall and rising sea levels, which resulted in the overflowing of more than 20 watercourses. Additionally, the soil had become impermeable due to the drought in the preceding months, and certain geographic areas were heavily urbanized, completely devoid of trees and roots, which are essential for keeping the soil compact and preventing it from eroding.

In the installation, the roots metaphorically take on the meaning of origin as well as belonging, of what is firm and strong. Underground spectators of life, they reveal themselves to the public, displaying their sinuous and never predictable forms. Moreover, they can grow above a material considered naturally arid, such as rock, from which they seem to sprout and continue to flourish. The water jets, simulating innovative systems built by humans, such as those used in hydroponic and aquaponic agriculture, encourage reflections and questions about contemporary innovations related to profit-oriented logics that are not always environmentally and human-friendly.

The resilience of this species of ficus is of great importance for the meaning of the artwork and what the artist wishes to communicate, inviting spectators to consider new innovative ways of responding to the revolution of agrifood systems toward increasingly sustainable solutions. The bonsai itself, a product of human effort, and its fusion with the rock symbolizes the indissoluble connection between humans and nature, a partnership that is necessary today to build a sustainable future.

About Marco Cesari

Marco Cesari was born in Ferrara, Italy in 1993 and focuses his artistic practice on the world of plants and the re-development of the environments dedicated to hosting them. His interest in the plant world developed from his studies in agriculture, later enriched by experience as a green architect in Australia: a fundamental moment for his path. On the oceanic continent, Marco found himself dealing with very different plant species, but above all coming into contact with an "other" new nature, imbued with a mysticism previously unknown to him, which shapes him and pushes him to deepen his knowledge of the continent's different ecosystems. Cesari also engages in relational projects with local groups and communities, raising awareness and engaging in activities to restore flora suitable for enriching biodiversity.

Curated by innesto | spazi di ricerca and Tramandars



This installation was made possible by the support of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA). They are an inclusive, voluntary and action-oriented multi-stakeholder platform with a vision to improve food security, nutrition and resilience in the face of climate change. GACSA aims to catalyze and help create transformational partnerships to encourage actions that reflect an integrated approach to the three pillars of climate smart agriculture.

Recognizing the importance of empowering farmers, GACSA facilitates dialogue, knowledge exchange and partnerships through an open, diverse and inclusive multi-stakeholder platform, to catalyze actions on enhancing agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries practices and systems that increase productivity in a sustainable way, improve resilience and adaptation and reduce/sequester emissions.