by Roberto Razeto
It was the period in-between the two World Wars in northern Switzerland, where one of the artistic movements that characterized the turning point of the classical conception of art took off: Dadaism. With its anti-war rigour and its desire to break away from the aesthetic canons and classical paradigms, through those two syllables full of meaning and information, DaDa, but imbued with a communicational meaninglessness, Dadaism was a reflection of a time that chased what culture was already transforming.
The movement was born after millions of deaths and clashes, as a balance sheet of what had emerged at different times around the world, which found itself at the same point and at the same time drawing sums. That super densification of what man had done and thought up to that moment, his cultures and ideas that were expressed in the great arrays of conflicts of the twentieth century, all this had been condensed in DaDa, which, rejecting reason and logic, promoted chaos and excess. In fact, according to the Dadaists themselves, Dadaism was anti-art and set out to distort everything that had gone before. For the first time, it was the same dominant culture to generate the virus that would change the canons of reference.
Even today we can speak of a virus, given the pandemic that has struck the planet, but the key to interpretation is the glitch, that is a defect, a distortion in the regularity of an electronic system. This distortion has forced reflection and analysis of what has been done so far in terms of economic systems, social prevention and sustainability.
In this sense, Greta's Bla Bla can be seen as the legacy of DaDa, two syllables of rupture from previous canons. Dada, the anti-war response against all nineteenth-century culture. Blabla, the thundering response against governmental immobility and climate urgency.
Greta Thunberg, in fact, by addressing the negotiators and politicians, has effectively annulled the meaning of words, and has created a break between the negotiating institutions of yesterday and those of today. Representing the demands of many, Greta has annihilated the statements of the most powerful on earth who still have much to do to offer clear and structured solutions to activate, in a meaningful way, what we commonly call "ecological transition" and slow down climate change, mitigating its effects.
Classic diplomacy has always relied on words, very often complicated and enigmatic, to resolve major issues between states. The end of wars in Europe and the Far East is a significant victory for diplomacy and the United Nations, which was born first and foremost as a peacekeeping table.
The issue of climate change, however, does not follow the known paradigms and becomes the first major diplomatic issue that dismantles diplomacy itself. Mediation was the basis of negotiations, but BlaBla breaks the terms of negotiation and demands new patterns, words, rules. In particular, it calls for a real change of pace in the use of resources and a rethinking of lifestyles.
How, then, can diplomacy use old words for a new challenge?
Negotiations change, thus communication must also change, in order to provide more clarity on climate change data and not to scatter all the scientific research capital developed over the years.
During the Pre COP, in Milan, and COP26, in Glasgow, many declarations have been made and Greta's BlaBla has also served as a warning that words should be matched by concrete actions, that diplomacy should play its role as an action of peace. Ecological transition should be acted as a transition from a period of war between us and our planet to a moment of peace, synergy and mutual nourishment.