Paradoxes of a Diamond
150 vacuum packed bricks of dried alga from the Venice lagoon, Still Life (Winogradsky column of cultivating lagoon sediment), algal pigment on alga paper, peridotite stone, display cabinet with herbarium, illustrations, SEM photographs, prints of test results

Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it. A diamond, on the contrary, has scarce any value in use; but a very great quantity of other goods may frequently be had in exchange for it.

Paradoxes of a Diamond is a site-specific art project, which explores the history of Venice’s lagoon leading to a contemporary ecological perspective and uses the algae as a legitimate biological indicator à of the lagoon's environmental state. It investigates the heavy metal contamination level of three algae species (Gracilaria, Sargassum, Ulva), their accumulation of carbon dioxide and their “utility” as a Co2 reservoir.

Inspired by the Diamond - Water Paradox formulated by Adam Smith in 1776, in The Wealth of Nations, the project reflects on the economic concepts of use and exchange values, as well as on the marginal utility of an ecosystem. Paradoxes of a Diamond evokes the production of a diamond out of the carbon stored within the algae collected from the contaminated sediment in the central parts of the lagoon. After measuring the levels of carbon and heavy metals of a small sample of algae, 150kg of extra algae were collected to obtain the required quantity of carbon for the creation of a diamond, which unique coloration would be defined by the metal composition of the algae. The diamond, however, was not chemically synthesised, but are instead symbolically represented as a carbon "reservoir" and are thus maintained in a state of potentiality and in the making.

Paradoxes of a Diamond is developed with support of Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice. Conducted in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Sciences at University Ca' Foscari in Venice and the National Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics in Trieste. Thanks to the EM facility at the Univeristy of Studies of Trieste and Favini Srl for their support.

Installation view
Dimensions variable

Carbon Capture and Storage Proposal for an Indefinite Period
Wood shelves with vacuum packed bricks of dried algae
2pcs, 170x80x50cm

Carbon Capture and Storage Proposal for an Indefinite Period
150 vacuum packed bricks of dried alga species (Gracilaria, Sargassum, Ulva)

Still Life – Venice (Winogradsky column)
Lagoon sediment and water, plexiglass, steel, 180x43x8cm

apRed I, apBrown I, apGreen I
Algal pigment extracts, alga paper, wood, glass
3pcs, 100x11cm ø

Peridotite stone, wood, metal, 130x57x50cm

Display cabinet with various illustrations and artifacts
Dimensions variable (100x190x60cm)

Colour projection (Diamond)
Metal powder (Fe, Cr, Cu, Zn), glue on glass, 18x24x5cm

Analysis, organic carbon/heavy metal

Black and white SEM photographs

Map projection (Carbon)
Drawing, 40x50cm

Found research rapports