The installation Diplomazija Astuta created by Arcangelo Sassolino for the Malta Pavilion of the Venice Biennale 2022 is the first Carbon Neutral artwork

A new aware and virtuous approach to art, that rethinks its role in order to reduce the environmental impact and CO2 emissions, to face the current environmental crisis and climate.

Above all, this was discussed on the occasion of the round table For responsible art, which took place on October 21 at the Teatro Piccolo in the Arsenale in Venice to present the case history Diplomazija astuta , the first certified art installation Carbon Neutral, on display at the Venice Biennale, scheduled until November 27, 2022.

See also: the Venice Biennale: the pavilions not to be missed


A powerful reinterpretation of Caravaggios canvas

The evocative installation Diplomazija astuta, conceived by the Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino for the Maltese Pavilion reinterprets The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, the masterpiece by Caravaggio kept in the Co-Cathedral of Valletta with a an innovative technology that uses the principle of induction to transform almost two hundred kilos of steel into liquid per day.

Orange drops of molten steel fall from the ceiling, cleaving the darkness, illuminated by the same dramatic light of Caravaggio's canvases, to finally extinguish in seven pools of water.

The powerful suggestions are amplified by the percussive music created by the Maltese composer Brian Schembri and by the engraving by Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci.

Read also: The 2022 Art Biennale: what to see and how to visit it

The first carbon neutral certification of a work of art

With the urgency of the climate and environmental crisis at heart, Arcangelo Sassolino worked together with his team to reduce the impact of Diplomazija Astuta on the environment.

The installation is in fact one of the very first cases in the world of carbon neutral certification, according to the international standard ISO 14067:2018, for a work of art, through which the CO2 emissions produced during its certification construction and its preparation, with the verification of a third party body, compensating then the equivalent emissions through a project that involves and supports local communities in the protection of forest reserves in Tanzania.

Specific and specialized interventions

Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced, mitigated or avoided thanks to specific interventions implemented during the process of creating, preparing and setting up the opera.

The artists and curators, acutely aware of the'impact of the art world'environmental, collaborated with a team technician and other experts on sustainability and climate strategy to define a roadmap that would reduce the climate impact of Diplomazija Astuta: a roadmap virtuosity that had never been applied in the cultural sector before.


The roadmap – virtuous carbon neutrality

In collaboration with Susanna Sieff, sustainability expert and consultant for national and international companies and events, a series of actions have been identified to preventively reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from the work of art. The interventions envisaged the use of renewable energy for the entire duration of the Biennale and the full recovery of the steel used, which will be melted down and recycled at a nearby site.

Residual emissions were calculated with the help by Tetis Institute and independently verified by the international certification body DNV. Once certified, the residual emissions were offset using certified carbon credits with the support of Carbonsink, together with South Pole, the largest global supplier of strategies and solutions for the reduction of emissions.

A project in Tanzania that fights the climate crisis and social inequality

The carbon credits used to offset the 81 tonnes of residual emissions of Diplomazija Astuta were generated by the Ntakata Mountains REDD project, launched in 2017 in the district of Tanganyika, in western Tanzania, to involve and support communities in local forest conservation activities.

This project, strongly supported by the' Arts Council Malta, was specially chosen by Arcangelo Sassolino as in line with the message of work.

Working with local communities in vulnerable ecosystems, the Ntakata Mountains Project combines actions that contrast both the climate crisis and social inequality, helping to achieve 11 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).


Commissioners: Arts Council Malta, under the auspices of the Ministry of National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government.

Project Leader on behalf of Arts Council Malta: Dr Romina Delia

Curators: Keith Sciberras (Malta) and Jeffrey Uslip (USA)

Artists: Arcangelo Sassolino (Italy), Giuseppe Schembri Bonaci (Malta), composer Brian Schembri (Malta)