In 2003 Pistoletto wrote The Third Paradise manifesto and drew its symbol. The basic idea of the Third Paradise is the overcoming of the current worldwide existing conflict between the two polarities of nature and artifice. The Third Paradise is symbolically represented by a reconfiguration of the mathematical infinity sign. In the symbol of the Third Paradise three circles are drawn: the two opposite circles signify nature and artifice; the middle one is the conjunction of the two and represents the generative womb of a new humanity.
In March 2004 the University of Turin granted Pistoletto an honorary degree in Political Science. On that occasion Pistoletto publicly announced that The Third Paradise would be the next phase of his work.
From this date onwards the Third Paradise has been the main driving force behind Michelangelo Pistoletto's as well as Cittadellarte's work. A work developed through building a growing network of relationships and collaborations with many different partners: individuals, associations and institutions active not only in the artistic field, but at every level and sphere of the social life, turning it into a big collective and participatory work of art.
Please see the website www.terzoparadiso.org and the book Michelangelo Pistoletto - Il Terzo Paradiso (published by Electa on the occasion of Pistoletto's exhibition Caracalla Paradiso Contemporaneo at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, October 2012 – January 2013) for a complete chronology of the Third Paradise events. Both the publication and the exhibition have been curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, the art critic and curator who has more constantly followed Pistoletto during this phase of his work since 2005, when the Third Paradise was presented at the 51st Venice Biennale at a special event entitled “Inner Island: Art of Survival - Michelangelo Pistoletto & Cittadellarte present the Third Paradise”. The event consisted of an exhibition, meetings and workshops on the Isle of San Servolo and in other places around the city of Venice, with the participation, among others, of Gilberto Gil in the double role of musician and Brazilian Culture Minister.
The year 2007 marks the beginning of the collaboration with the Italian musician Gianna Nannini, which culminated in the installation MAMA – Terzo Paradiso, presented between 2007 and 2009 in Milan, Moscow, Minsk and Bari, with the support of RAM–Radioartemobile, often in partnership with Michelangelo Pistoletto through the evolution of the Third Paradise.
Recycling and environmental sustainability are two recurrent and crucial issues in the development of the Third Paradise. They have been the first and foremost topics in the many workshops organized from 2005 onwards in collaboration with several partners, in particular with the Education Department of Castello di Rivoli - Museum of Contemporary Art. During these workshops and events the symbol of the Third Paradise has been realized on different sites and occasions, mainly using recyclable material like aluminium, supplied by CIAL – the national consortium for the salvage and recycling of aluminium packaging.
Since 2008 two of Cittadellarte's Uffizi have intensified their activities: the Architecture and the Fashion offices, both particularly active on the themes of recycling and sustainability. The former is called N.O.V.A.Civitas (acronym for Nuovi Organismi di Vita Abitativa – new organisms of housing life), whose aim is to promote a sustainable culture in the architectural and environmental sectors. The latter, Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T. (acronym for Bio Ethical Sustainable Trend), is a platform and creative workshop dedicated to the development of a bio ethical sustainability in the textile and fashion industries.
Also on the theme of recycling, two of Pistoletto's works are worth mentioning: in 2009, in collaboration with Ecodom (the Italian consortium for the salvage and recycling of electrical appliances), Pistoletto created the work I temp(l)i cambiano, entirely made of parts of discarded electric and electronic appliances: washing machine drums as columns, refrigerator coils as tympanum frieze; in 2012 he would then realize the work Italia Riciclata (Recycled Italy) within the Venice Architecture Biennale, using discarded material from the set up of the Biennale itself only, a work subsequently donated to the Tactile Museum Statale Omero in Ancona.
In 2010 Pistoletto realized a permanent work of land art: the symbol of the Third Paradise made of 160 olive trees in an accessible area of 3000 sq. m. within St. Francis Wood in Assisi, in collaboration with FAI – Fondo Ambientale Italiano (the National Trust of Italy). In the same year Pistoletto's essay Il Terzo Paradiso was published in Italian and in English by Marsilio, and later in French by Actes Sud and in German by Schlebrügge.
In 2011 Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux, asked Pistoletto and Cittadellarte to handle the artistic direction of EVENTO 2011 - L’art pour une ré-évolution urbaine. Resuming and developing the operative principle of the Creative Collaboration realized in Atlanta in 1979, Pistoletto invited artists and thinkers from different disciplines to work on the relationship between art and citizenship, through collective works and collaborative projects centred around “sites of shared knowledge”, workshops in public spaces where artists of different nationalities worked with associations, schools and local institutions.
On 21 December 2012 the first celebration of the Third Paradise, Rebirth-day: prima giornata mondiale della rinascita (the First Worldwide Day of Rebirth) is simultaneously marked in different countries and locations. The documentation of this shared event is presented in Pistoletto's exhibition Année un – Le paradis sur terre, held at the Louvre in Paris from April to September 2013.
Still in 2012, Pistoletto published the first version of the manifesto Ominiteismo e Demopraxia (Hominitheism and Demopraxy) - originally called Omniteismo e Democrazia (Omniteism and Democracy), an important theoretical reflection in which the instances of the Third Paradise are analysed in depth, a manifesto he would revise in the following years, and which would then be published, at different stages of elaboration, in English, French and Spanish.
Starting from 2012, the Rebirth-day has become a yearly occurrence, generating a great number of events and a dense network of relations which has brought to life the Embassies and the Ambassadors of the Third Paradise, individuals representing and promoting the Third Paradise on their territories. Please see the Third Paradise website for an updated list of the embassies.
On 16 December 2014, Cuba’s embassy created an event of high symbolic relevance: a few fishermen’s boats, coordinated by the artist Alexis Leiva Kcho and Galleria Continua, arranged as to form the shape of the Third Paradise in the sea in front of Havana. The following day, the agreement between Cuba and the Unites States to resume relations was officially announced. This meaningful coincidence set the premises for the realization, in November 2015 in Havana, of the First Rebirth Forum, called Geographies of Transformation, a big working site of art and politics involving citizens, associations and institutions which will have a further development in November 2016 with the reopening of the working site and a retrospective exhibition of Pistoletto’s works at the Museo National de Bellas Artes in Havana.
The dialogue between art and politics promoted by the Third Paradise is also embodied in two other events: the installation in 2014 of the symbol of the Third Paradise at the Palace of the European Council in Brussels on the occasion of the Semester of Italian Presidency, and the realization in 2015 of Rebirth, a permanent work situated in the park of the Palace of Nations in Geneva, composed of 193 stones, one for each member of the United Nations, arranged to form the symbol of the Third Paradise.
Also in 2015 is the opening of the Permanent Seat of the Third Paradise at Cittadellarte, in Biella, promoted by the “Biellesi for the Third Paradise Committee”.
2015 and 2016 have also seen a few important moments of presentation of another of Pistoletto’s work: The Reintegrated Apple. “The symbol of the reintegrated apple represents the reconstitution of opposite elements: nature and artifice. The apple denotes nature; the bite of the apple denotes artifice, as we see it in a globally widespread computer logo set as the emblem of a technology wholly replacing nature. With The Reintegrated Apple, artifice assumes the task of resewing the part removed by the bite and rejoining mankind to nature, instead of keeping driving it away from it.” (Michelangelo Pistoletto). The first Reintegrated Apple was realized in 2007, covered in wool and displayed for the first time that same year at the GAMeC in La Spezia, on the occasion of the exhibition Cittadellarte. Pistoletto and the Third Paradise.
The Reintegrated Apple installed in May 2015 in Milan’s Piazza Duomo was covered in grass instead. Subsequently temporarily relocated in Parco Sempione in front of the headquarters of FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano (the National Trust of Italy), the institution involved in the realization of the event, in 2016 the work was permanently moved to Piazza Duca d’Aosta in front of Milan’s Central Station, its surface this time covered in white clay plaster mixed with marble powder. Also in 2016 a Reintegrated Apple carved in a block of pure white Carrara marble was placed in the basement of the Baths of Caracalla, in Rome, complementing another of Pistoletto’s works already permanently present in the archaeological site: the symbol of the Third Paradise realized in 2012 using fragments of marbles and mosaics from the site itself.
The Reintegrated Apple is also the title given to the Second Rebirth Forum, which took place at the Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milan in March 2016, three working days opening a year long working site.
In 2017, a re-elaboration of the symbol of the Third Paradise developed by ESA (European Space Agency) for ASI (the Italian Space Agency) was chosen as the central element of the official logo for the international space mission VITA, organized by ESA, with the ASI astronaut Paolo Nespoli as protagonist. In the left side circle is a strand of DNA recalling life and science, in the right one a book, representing culture and education, while the central circle contains an image of Planet Earth, to represent the whole of humanity. Thanks to an app called SPAC3, developed by ESA together with RAM Radioartemobile and with the collaboration of Cittadellarte and ASI, users can combine pictures taken by the astronaut Paolo Nespoli with their own images within the symbol of the Third Paradise and formulate a message linked to the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, this way contributing to a collective and participative planetary artwork.
In 2017, the book Ominiteismo e Demopraxia. Manifesto per una rigenerazione della società, a further development of his previous text Omnitheism and Democracy (2012-2016), was published.