To Search the Secret
of the Forest
In Nepal there is a village called Tangia Basti where humans live in symbiosis with a sprawling forest, against the backdrop of ancient traditions, cultural beliefs, and mysterious rituals. For more than 25 years the community has been faced with the proposed construction of an airport that would involve displacement and deforestation. Tangia Basti has no electricity or telephone connection, but has always resisted, building roads and schools, creating a lively existence. Through photographs of life in the village, Pietro Lo Casto shares his growth as an artist and as an investigator of reality. The decision to leave a chaotic and consumeristic lifestyle leads Pietro to pursue a journey that sees photography as a major tool of investigation and To Search the Secret of the Forest as the first attempt to find that connection with nature which allows man to find his whole, to find himself as a single, complete being.
With the advent of industrialisation and capitalism, nature has slowly lost its symbolic implications and humans have turned it into a commodity to exploit limitless growth and productivity. No river contains a spirit anymore, no tree is the principle of man, no mountain cave the home of a great demon. As an ethical obligation to engage with the materiality of the necropolitics of our times and the perpetuation of structural injustice toward the earth, Pietro begun collecting objects of pollution lying on the banks of holy rivers such as the Bagmati in Kathmandu and Chao Phraya in Bangkok. Referencing Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”, these items are taken out of their context, immersed in an aquarium and photographed underwater to create a godly atmosphere. New Gods is an attempt to reflect on human’s loss of spiritual connection with nature. But also on the excess of the Capitalocene, which threatens the sustainability of our planet as a whole.