The Planetary Almanac

Fondazione smART presents Planetary Almanac, a new chapter of Marvels and Catastrophes (M&C), a series of workshops curated by Peter Lang, focusing on contemporary issues such as climate change, sustainability and development through critical design, performative actions and creative prototypes. The workshop is open to international advanced professionals and post-graduates from a range of professional backgrounds and interests in the fields of arts, design, architecture, urban culture, humanities and curatorial studies.

Dates: 5 sessions from Monday November 8th Time: 6.00 – 7.30 PM Language: English, Italian optional Location: Fondazione smART – Piazza Crati 7 (near Villa Ada).

Zoom remote attendance optional Economics: €90 per person for 5 sessions

For further information and to register click HERE.

Why Marvels and Catastrophes Roma?

Marvels and Catastrophes:

The creative act and the question of destiny in the era of Covid and climate change.


What kind of future awaits us as the world as we know it becomes increasingly unstable? Can contemporary global society adjust to these dramatic transformations in our planetary environment?

What can we hold on to? What can we let go of? But just as importantly, what can we still think of, create or design that could help make sense of this extended global crisis are now going through?

Marvels and Catastrophes is a project about the future that builds on the past and inhabits the present, a program promoting critical ideas and creative actions that addresses the urgent challenges we face today. Marvels and Catastrophes will bring together individuals from different backgrounds and professional interests, in the visual arts, design, architecture, urban culture and curatorial studies to promote an open discursive environment in which to reflect on the coming decades. The goal is to go public, to engage the broader community with critical concepts, performative actions and creative prototypes that mediate between the familiar and the unknown.

Statement: Rome Why Here and Now?

Ancient romans were capable of cutting through mountains, changing the flow of rivers, building extensive networks of roadways and aqueducts, just as they were proficient at dominating populations and enforcing economic dominion over vast territories. But beyond threats of invasion, Rome’s long reign was marked by many severe challenges that imperilled the city’s survival, including extreme climatic changes, unpredictable natural disasters and pandemics.

Like most early civilisations, belief in the supranatural underpinned the customs and rituals of daily life. Roman religious beliefs, superstitions, and their veneration of votives demonstrated their steadfast reverence of the intangible, the force of nature and divine providence. It is the combination of these two worldviews that built Roman culture and rests at the heart of this current research.

Just as compelling are the effects of time on shaping the city’s layered histories and tangled futures. Today Rome is a landscape of ruins and monuments, crisscrossed by high speed highways and rail lines, with neighbourhoods both overbuilt and abandoned. The capital is home to diverse populations, as often united as they stand divided. High tech space agencies along with ancient cuisines, theatres along with the latest cinemax; religious leaders, government bureaucrats and hardcore political activists all cohabit these extensive urban landscapes.

Set this coming year in Rome, the Marvels and Catastrophes program intends to survey the city’s storied past and continue the focus right up to the present. It’s a timeline that is greatly relevant to what we are experiencing now with the recent global crises. Strong and prescient visions of new worlds emerge out these juxtaposed cultures, as transmitted through the arts, literature, cinema, design and performance.  Marvels and Catastrophes is about mediating between the tangible and the intangible, the past and the present. We seek to discover new artistic trends and cultural movements that might help, in these extreme times, to overcome the fears and anxieties that are overwhelming many individuals and communities not just in Rome…

Peter Lang standing next to the “Vero Sasso di Dante (the true stone of Dante) in Florence, 6 November, 2021.

PETER LANG BIO: I am from New York and I now reside in Rome Italy. I studied architecture at Syracuse University and completed a PhD in urban studies and Italian history at NYU. I held the position of Professor at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in Architectural Theory and History from 2013 to 2019. Previously, I held the position of Associate Professor at Texas A&M School of Architecture. Currently, I am curator for “Dante’s Gaze,” a multimedia exhibition promoted by the Italian Ministry of Culture’s National archive for photography, (ICCD) and sponsored by the Società Dante. In 2016 while at the Royal Institute of Art I founded R-lab, a public platform for critical research and creative practice. Subsequently I developed the program Marvels and Catastrophes, a collective initiative leading to investigative and performative inquiries into the culture of disaster. Marvels and Catastrophes was first launched at the Istanbul Design Biennial in 2018 and has subsequently travelled to the Pogon Gallery in Zagreb and in 2021 was included in the Lyssna/Listen program at Färgfabriken Konsthall in Stockholm. I am also a visual artist, critic and writer, and have been a member of the Rome based civic arts group Stalker since 1997.




M&C Walking Sticks

M&C Diagrams

M&C Utopias

Critical Thinking, Critical Making

Open Studio

To join our first Open Studio Workshop, PLANETARY ALMANAC please click on Link HERE.

General Information

Marvels and Catastrophes Roma take the big picture






Fondazione smART – polo per l’arte | Piazza Crati, 6/7 – 00199 Roma


Giorgia Rissone