Maldivian Coconut (Capriccio)
Wooloo has moved a crop of fresh Maldivian coconuts from a local palm tree to the canals of Venice. Each of the palm’s twelve coconuts will be placed in a distinct site determined by twelve classical “Vedutismo” paintings of the Venetian cityscape. During the biennial, the coconuts will spread throughout the city on the currents of the water, noticed only by passers by who stumble across them. A small, out‐of‐place element inserted into one sinking civilization from another, the coconuts serve as a reminder of both the resilience and fragility of nature. Featured on the nation’s official Emblem, as well as on countless guidebook covers, hotel brochures, and tourist photographs, the coconut palm is not only the National Tree of the Maldives, but a major element of the island nation’s visual culture. The coconut and Maldivian life is essentially inseparable. Yet the image of coconuts in the water is also an image of destruction: following the last tsunami to hit the Maldives, the vast number of coconuts floating in the water was a major sign of ruin. When rising seas eventually submerge the Maldives, its coconuts will bear witness to its last days. Floating away like pieces of memory, the DNA of an extinct time.