In 2003 Pistoletto writes The Third Paradise manifesto and draws 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 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 drive 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 domain, but at every level and sphere of social life. For a chronological reconstruction of the Third Paradise events, see the book Michelangelo Pistoletto - Il Terzo Paradiso (published by Electa on the occasion of Pistoletto's exhibition Caracalla Paradiso Contemporaneo at the Terme di Caracalla in Rome, October 2012 – January 2013). 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 presentano il Terzo Paradiso”. 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.
In 2007 the collaboration with the Italian musician Gianna Nannini starts, which culminated in the installation MAMA – Terzo Paradiso, presented between 2007 and 2009 in Milan, Moscow, Minsk and Bari, with the support of Zerynthia – RAM Radio Arte Mobile, often in partnership with Michelangelo Pistoletto through the evolution of the Third Paradise.
Two recurrent and crucial issues in the development of the Third Paradise are recycling and environmental sustainability. This has been the case first and foremost 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.
Between 2008 and 2009 two of Cittadellarte's Uffizi intensified their activities: the Architecture and the Fashion office, particularly active on the themes of recycling and sustainability. The first 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 sector. The second, 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 industry.
In 2009 from the collaboration with Ecodom (the Italian consortium for the salvage and recycling of electrical appliances), Pistoletto creates 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 2010 Pistoletto realizes 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 of Assisi's wood, in collaboration with FAI – Fondo Ambientale Italiano (the fund for the Italian environment). In the same year Pistoletto's essay Il Terzo Paradiso is 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 and former French Culture Minister, asks 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 invites artists and thinkers from different disciplines to work on the relationship between art and citizenship, through collective works and collaborative projects centered around “shared knowledge sites”, workshops in public spaces where artists of different nationalities work with associations, schools and local institutions. For details of the extensive and complex event programme please see the website http://evento2011.com
In 2012 Pistoletto realizes the work Italia Riciclata (Recycled Italy) within the Venice Architecture Biennale, using discarded material from the set up of the Biennale itself only.
On 21st 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 Museum in Paris from April to September 2013.