The unFallen Trees of Certosa (21 Jul)

I went to Certosa Island to visit the foundation Vento di Venezia. Over the course of 20 years they had recovered the abandoned Certosa Island into an active marina to house those world-tripping sailors, a restaurant and a growing collection of artworks. Previously it had held a monastery which once looted by Napoleon was then ordered destroyed. It is unable to be restored because the ruin stands upon older Roman ruins, which once surveyed were reburied for the sake of the future. The island held a munitions factory which left its products scattered throughout it. During that time no one could walk on the ground, which then grew into a forest, rare for the area. 

Alberto Sonnino was a world-class sailor who returned to Venice to undertake this project. Upon arriving I jumped into his golf cart to visit the monastery ruins and Doug Aitken’s monumental mirrored runway created as a temporary structure for a Yves Saint Laurent show. From here, the island’s artistic producer Sara Caleghin gave me a full tour. A highlight on this tour were a set of special trees. They had fallen in wind storms but had never been cleared. Given time they refused to die. Instead they began to grow horizontally rather than vertically—their lives preserved the cataclysmic wind that gave them this form.

Contributed by: Haseeb Ahmed