The Cooling Solution is a scientific project that uses photography to investigate how people of different socioeconomic backgrounds around the world adapt to high temperatures and humidity. It combines scientific findings with personal stories, offering a visual journey through people’s lived experiences of ineffective and inefficient cooling, hypercooling, heat dumping, vernacular architecture, and cutting-edge cooling technologies in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Italy.
The Cooling Solution is a scientific project that uses photography to investigate how people of different socioeconomic backgrounds around the world adapt to high temperatures and humidity. Beginning with the title, the term solution is meant to call this adaptation paradigm into question. The project examines the phenomenon of rising AC demand in its various facets, addressing its numerous shortcomings and drawbacks, as well as the reasons underlying its use, which are often related to the necessity of protecting the most fragile members of society from health hazards. It is within this context that. According to the report of the International Environmental Agency, “The Future of Cooling”, published in 2018, 10 new AC units will be sold every second for the next 30 years, bringing the number of installed cooling units worldwide to 5.6 billion by 2050.
The Cooling Solution combines scientific research, photography, and storytelling to investigate people’s lived experiences as they deal with thermal discomfort in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Italy. The project brings together the scientific results of the 5-year-long European research project ENERGYA with personal stories about everyday strategies to cope with heat, as influenced by socioeconomic conditions, demographics, urbanization, and culture. The goal is to use photography’s communicative power to make academic knowledge accessible to the wider public.
As AC becomes cheaper and more efficient, it may end up being used in places where heat stress could instead be adequately tackled by passive cooling solutions. As a result, humanity is facing the risk of being trapped in a new, vicious cycle created by consolidated behaviors and urban environments shaped by the ubiquity of AC. It is now clear that the era of energy-intensive material comfort must come to an end. What is perhaps less clear is that sacrificing this way of living doesn’t mean sacrificing thermal comfort, a concept whose parameters are determined not only by climate, but also by habits, culture, and society.
This exhibition is a journey through human experiences in Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Italy that focuses on cases of hyper cooling, heat dumping, lack of cooling, traditional cooling and cutting-edge technologies. While these countries, however different, are following a similar trend driving them towards a homogenized notion of thermal comfort, The Cooling Solution also examines vernacular architecture, alternative cooling methods, innovation, and dedicated research efforts. No doubt we will live on a warmer planet, and no doubt AC can and will save lives. However, there is also a great richness in the diversity of cooling methods available that are waiting to be re-discovered, re-visited, and scaled-up.
The Cooling Solution
Photographic exhibition May 19 - July 31, 2023
Photography by Gaia Squarci, research by the ENERGYA team at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, led by prof. Enrica De Cian, Ca' Foscari University of Venice and Fondazione CMCC, curation by Kublaiklan, project coordination by Elementsix.
Outdoors: Cortile Grande, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Dorsoduro 3246, Venice
Cortile Grande, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Monday through Friday: 8am-6pm Saturdays: 8am-1pm Free entry; June 2nd and 3rd closed for holidays
Tesa 1, Ca' Foscari Zattere
Monday through Saturday: 10am-6pm Sunday 3pm-6pm Free entry; June 2nd and 3rd closed for holidays
VERNISSAGE May 19, 2023 - 5pm - Cortile Grande, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Dorsoduro 3246
Introduction by Cristina Baldacci from THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities, followed by a guided tour of the Zattere Cultural Flow Zone by photographer Gaia Squarci, scientific coordinator Enrica De Cian, curator Kublaiklan, and project coordinator Elementsix.
May 19 2023, 9AM, Aula Baratto, Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Dorsoduro 3246, Venice
On the morning of May 19, 2023, a scientific workshop will take place in the historic Aula Baratto of the Ca' Foscari University of Venice, where renowned international experts will discuss the expected boom in air conditioning adoption over the next 20 years, together with some of the possible alternatives.
The agenda of the workshop can be found in the press kit, to register for the workshop, fill out the form
The exhibition, curated by Kublaiklan, would not have been possible without the economic research led by Enrica De Cian and her ENERGYA team, the ethnographic research conducted by Antonella Mazzone, the policy research carried out by Marinella Davide, and the photography of Gaia Squarci, all of which were coordinated by Elementsix.
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (Grant agreement No 756194), and has received contributions from the Fondazione CMCC and the ACTION Marie Curie project led by Marinella Davide (grant agreement No 841291). It is jointly organized by the Department of Economics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and THE NEW INSTITUTE Centre for Environmental Humanities.
WEBSITE AND CATALOG
The project will also be available for consultation at thecoolingsolution.com, a custom website launching on May 19, 2023, where it will also be possible to buy a paper version of the catalog.
The exhibition and catalog, curated by Kublaiklan, would not have been possible without the economic research led by Enrica De Cian and her ENERGYA team, the ethnographic research conducted by Antonella Mazzone, the policy research carried out by Marinella Davide, and the photographic reportage by Gaia Squarci, all of which were coordinated by Elementsix.
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