Exhibit in Venice: The Cooling Solution

Exhibit in Venice: The Cooling Solution

Photographic & Scientific exhibition in Venice – May 19th, 2023

Climate journalist David Wallace-Wells, author of the book ”The Uninhabitable Earth”, recently noted in the New York Times that the deadly heat waves which currently endanger the health and survival of three quarters of the world population cannot be called “extreme” events, because they are not rare anymore. In this scenario, The Cooling Solution examines the rush of almost every household on the planet to buy an AC unit as soon as it can afford one. According to IEA, 10 new AC units will be sold every second for the next 30 years, bringing the number of installed cooling units to 5.6 billion globally by 2050.

In the last decades, air conditioning has established itself as the main, and nearly only intensely advertised, strategy to cope with extreme heat in different parts of the globe. The global consequence of such a boom is the buildup of huge amounts of energy demand and emissions, as the result of millions of people’s individual actions in different parts of the world.

These massive but complex impacts easily go unnoticed, together with the increased discomfort of millions who cannot afford AC. The Cooling Solution is a photographic and scientific project showing how people adapt to heat across a diverse and broad range of socio-economic, demographic, and geographic conditions.

Combining scientific data with a visual approach to people’s experience in their daily lives, the project intends to make academic knowledge easier to understand and relate to, using art’s communicative power to make science accessible to a wider public. Starting from the title, whose ironic term “solution” is meant to call the idea into question, the project examines the phenomenon of the rising demand of air conditioning in its various facets, stressing this technology’s numerous shortcomings as well as emphasizing its necessity when the goal is to protect the most fragile members of society.

Working in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Italy, four case studies of a European Research Council grant project, the exhibit will bring together scientific projections and personal stories while focusing on a variety of topics showing how climate, affluence, demographic characteristics, urbanization, and culture play out in people’s cooling decisions.

A man looks across its doorstep through a network of illegal connections to the electric network in Dharavi, Mumbai, Delhi.
November 23, 2019_6:30PM_34°C_55% Humidity

The exhibition will be curated by Kublaiklan but it is indeed a collaborative initiative as it will be drawing on the findings of the Energya research project and on the photographic reportage across 3 continents by Gaia Squarci, under the supervision of element6.eu who will also set up a web platform to expand from a photographic and data-driven point of view on each of the stories represented in the exhibition.

A detail of the Seghal Foundation in Gurgao, India, an efficient building
which uses limited amounts of AC thanks to its several shading and ventilating features.
November 23, 2019_6:30PM_34°C_55% Humidity


This exhibition is funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement No 756194 and is jointly organised by Ca’ Foscari University, Fondazione CMCC, and the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford.

The exhibition will run from May 19th 2023 till July 31st 2023 at Cortile Grande Ca’ Foscari & CFZ in Venice and will be accessible free of charge. If you want to know more about the vernissage, please write us an email at info@thecoolingsolution.com

The Flamengo neighborhood is seen from the Pão de Açúcar, Rio de Janeiro. Flamengo is a middle and upper-middle-class residential area characterized by low urban temperatures thanks to its closeness to the Tijuca forest.
March 23, 2022_18:30_28.1°C_55% Humidity


  • Gaia Squarci is a photographer and videographer who divides her time between Milan and New York City, where she teaches Digital Storytelling at ICP. Gaia is a contributor of Prospekt, an IWMF fellow and National Geographic grantee. With a background in Art History and Photojournalism, she leans toward a personal approach that moves away from the descriptive narrative tradition in documentary photography and video. Her work is focused on themes linked to the relationship between human beings and the environment, disability, aging and family relationships. Her project “Ashes and Autumn Flowers” was nominated for the Prix Pictet in 2020 and the Leica Oskar Barnack award in 2022. POYi awarded her cinematography and photography work respectively in 2014 and 2017, and her installation Broken Screen has been selected for the exhibition reGeneration3 at Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne in 2015. Clients include the New York Times, the New Yorker, Time Magazine, Vogue, Il Corriere della Sera, D di Repubblica, Marie Claire Italia, among others.
  • Enrica De Cian is professor in environmental economics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, research scientist at Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici and at European Institute on Economics and the Environment, and member of the scientific committee at the New Institute Center for Environmental Humanities. She is the recipient of an ERC Starting Grant for the project ENERGYA – Energy use for Adaptation, the results of which will be summarized during the exhibition. She coordinates Ca’ Foscari’s PhD in Science and
    Management of Climate Change.
  • Antonella Mazzone is a Research Associate at the Centre for the Environment (University of Oxford) and a fellow at Oxford Martin School, with a background in humanities and social science. Her current work focuses on the interplay between gender, cultures, and indigenous knowledge in energy studies.
  • Elementsix is a web agency specialized in providing dissemination and dissemination services to researchers and academics with the most diverse backgrounds. Elementsix has supervised together with Gaia Squarci the curation of photographic shoots and associated stories and will coordinate the scientific dissemination scheduled around this exhibition.
  • Kublaiklan explores widely accessible ways of interacting with photography by designing exhibiting and educational projects for non-profit organizations, institutions and individuals. At the same time, it investigates contemporary visual culture through research projects aiming at building awareness and promoting a conscious use of photography as a language.