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Florence and Galileo

FUA CONFERENCE Florence and Galileo

LEONARD BUNDU Interview with European box champion

INNER COSMOS Nicoletta Salomon Art Exhibition

FUA

ANNUAL

CONFERENCE

ELVIS ELLE ELLE Tuscan indie/rock artist on his new album

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ARTS

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L I T E R AT U R E

BATNA The latest collection mixing gothic with futuristic and underground with tribal

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COMMUNITY

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FA S H I O N & S T Y L E

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FOOD


Ar t s e h t of y t i s r nive G U e N I c n N e r R Fl o LE A

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s e i d u t S e r e h W to n i m r o f s Tran l-World ences i r e p Rea Ex

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GANZO* is a school but with non-traditional classrooms where the Apicius students and faculty develop seasonal menus and share them with the general public.

FLY* Fashion Loves You supports the FAST fashion academics and collaborates with emerging Italian designers.

INGORDA* The J School campus press creates books on gastronomy, design, travel, and lifestyle in collaboration with FUA students and faculty.

Via dei Macci 85r tel +39055241076

Borgo Pinti 21r tel +390550333174 y.fashionlovesyou.it

Corso Tintori 21 tel +390550332745 jschoolfua.com

* Ganzo, FLY and Ingorda are respectively the CEMI of the Apicius, FAST, J School academic divisions at FUA. CEMI stands for Community Engagement Member Institution, and represents integration projects that are a part of FUA’s academic campuses and open to the greater community. It is where students and faculty can put into practice and experiment with their academic coursework.


Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect intended us to forgot their use I wish, my dear Kepler, that we could have a good laugh together at the extraordinary stupidity of the mob The laws of Nature are written in the language of mathematics. the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures “EPpur si muove� And yet it moves

Galileo Galilei (Pisa 1564 - Arcetri, Florence 1642)


Blending Magazine is a semesterly publication produced by the students and faculty members of Florence University of the Arts, the academic member of Palazzi Florence Association for International Education. Semestrale / Semesterly Magazine Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 Anno 5 – Numero 1 – Autunno-Inverno 2014/15 Year 5 - Issue 1 – Fall-Winter 2014/15 Direttore Responsabile / Editor-in-chief Matteo Brogi Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh Coordinamento editoriale / Managing Editor Federico Cagnucci ++++++++++++ In redazione / Masthead Redazione / Copy Editors Lauren Fromin, Katryna Perera, Stephanie Fuchs Progetto grafico e impaginazione Graphic design and layout Federico Cagnucci Team di studenti / Student Magazine Teams led by Federico Cagnucci: Taylor Davis, Savannah Holzwarth, Kelly Alexandria Fulton, Margherita Innocenti, Kimberly Johnson, Antoinette Lavalle, Linh Hai Nguyen, Daniel O’Shea, Stephanie Saratani, Mariane Tambelini, Zhehui Zhang. Fotografi / Photographers Jacqueline Belker, Grace Bymark, Federico Cagnucci, Blake Detherage, Lauren Fromin, Savannah Holzwarth, Jerry Lee Ingram, Laura Magbee, Emily Madigan, Olga Makarova, Spencer Sisselman, Laura Varjabedian, Giulio Vinci, Blaine Weiss, David Weiss, Carla Williams. Illustratori / Illustrators Linh Hai Nguyen, Daniel O'Shea.

Photograph by Blake Detherage

Foto di copertina / Cover Photo By David Weiss Illustrazione retro copertina / Back Cover Illustration By Sadie Sullivan Pubblicità seconda e terza di copertina / Inside Front and Back Cover Advertisement Pages Concept and Design by Paola Carretero, Photographs by Thakorn Jantrachot ++++++++++++ Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Alfonso La Marmora, 39 50121 Firenze Sede editoriale / Editorial Headquarters Corso Tintori 21 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Stampa / Printer Grafiche Gelli s.r.l., via G. Leopardi, 11 - Calenzano (FI) Il numero è stato chiuso in redazione nel mese di gennaio 2015 This issue was completed in January 2015 Copyright © 2015 by Florence Campus, Firenze All rights reserved. ISSN 2284-063X


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FALL 2014 Letter from the Editor 5

fua annual conference

community Up Close with European Boxing Champion Leonard Bundu 41

Galileo and the Genius Loci of Florence 7

Photographing the Perli Family 45

Maps: Keepers of Memory 7

Globalization & Italian Youth 46 A Portrait for Life with Jerry Lee Ingram 48

Arts Inner Genius: New Art Exhibitions at FUA 13 Inner Cosmos - Nicoletta Salomon 13 Genius Loci: Florence and Galileo FUA Students 14 School of Fine Arts 15 Caravaggio’s Camera Obscura 16 Florence En Plein Air 18 Biennale di Architettura The Arsenale 18

fashion & style Elvis Elle Elle: He who does not Dream in Playback 51 Batna: Best Alternative to Nude Attitude 54 Pitti Modaprima 56 ViaJiyu: More than Shoes 57 La Serra MK Textile Atelier 58 Giulia Materia: Write It All Down 59 Alessandro Dari Jewels 59

Becoming Light 20 Speculating While Making Art 22

food literature

Breaking Bread in Florence 61

The Strength of Oriana Fallaci 27 Genius Libri 29

Zenzero: Delivering Organic Food in Tuscany 63

Literary Corner 30

Photograph by BLAKE DETHERAGE

FUA Faculty Research: Making the Cities Visible 36

o c f o e l b a t

s t n nte

Finding Yourself through... Music, Books, Movies 64


THIS ISSUE’S STUDENT EDITORIAL TEAM FROM FUA MAGAZINE COURSES* LINH NGUYEN Luther College, USA

DANNY O’SHEA University of Northern Iowa, USA I’m working on my degree in Graphic Design with an Art History minor. In my spare time I enjoy creating art, completing personal research, and relaxing with friends. I have really enjoyed my time in Florence and am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work on the production of this issue of Blending Magazine.

I am currently a senior majoring in Art and minoring in Asian Studies. My work focuses on Graphic Design (branding, graphic and layout design) and Fine Art mediums such as drawing, oil painting, and traditional printmaking. My other deep passion aside from art is travelling. I have lived and studied in Vietnam, India, the United States, and Italy. My art is enriched by my experiences abroad and vice versa. By understanding art, I also understand also the people and culture in a certain place. Every time I come to a new place, I am amazed by its unique nuance of traditions and aesthetic perspective.

KELLY FULTON Flint Hill School, USA Middle Tennessee State University I’m a Mass Communication Journalism senior. Writing is my passion, but I also enjoy photography, graphic design, painting, drawing, and videography. I want to be an author one day and breathe the air of wonderful places as well as work in book publishing, but as long as I am creating I will be happy. Creating and inspiring others to do so would be a wonderful path in life. “Happiness is a choice most people don’t realize they have the freedom to make.”

and also...

Photograph by BLAKE DETHERAGE

TAYLOR DAVIS I am interested in graphic design and computer science and some of my hobbies include tennis, drawing, and volunteering with dog rescue foundations. I had a lot of fun working on this magazine and hope that everyone enjoys it!

MARIANE TAMBELINI Brazil

SAVANNAH HOLZWARTH Hofra University, USA

MARGHERITA INNOCENTI Florence University of the Arts, Italy

KIMBERLY JOHNSON Central Michigan University, USA

ANTOINETTE LAVALLE

I’m currently studying journalism. Besides writing, I love everything about fashion and would like to mix both passions in the future. I’ve been writing on the subject for two years as a blogger. I can never get enough traveling, and always want to share new experiences with the world.

Fort Lewis College, USA

STEPHANIE SARATANI Brazil

ZHEHUI ZHANG University of Chicago, USA

* This issue is the final project of FUA courses: Lifestyle Magazine Project I (J School) and Magazine Editing and Publishing (DIVA).


Letter from the Editor

The FUA fall academic conference continues to provide our publication with rich theme suggestions, and the figure of Galileo Galilei is a conceptpual goldmine. History has recorded his worth as a philospher, scientist, inventor, and an explorer of the heavens. In this regard he proved to be an innovator, who was also persecuted and spent his final years under house arrest for upholding belief systems deemed pure heresy. The course of his life can thus define him, in a larger sense, as both a rebel and a visionary who saw beyond the shackles of the present, beyond the physical limitations of Earth. Thanks to the conference’s interdisciplinary interpretation of genius loci filtered through Galileo’s body of achievements, we can start to dig beneath his scientist’s role to imagine him in the roles of artist, writer, and intellectual thinker that he took on to illustrate and express his discoveries. “Genius loci” was coined during Roman times to indicate the distinctive atmosphere of a specific place. Galileo belongs to the genius loci of Renaissance Tuscany along with his great contemporaries, who were influenced by the unique environment brought about by the social, cultural, and political elements of the time. This issue of Blending Magazine examines Florence and Italy through the lens of genius loci, to uncover how small and big examples of contemporary genius can be generated through the hard work of creative individuals today, whether they top Italian indie charts (see Elvis Elle Elle) or complete in international boxing championships in Las Vegas (see Leonard Bundu). The current issue references many examples of projects and ideas that reflect the deep ties between people and place and how the two fuse into things of beauty that the world can benefit from. A Tuscan singlehandedly demonstrated that the Milky Way is a collection of stars and that Jupiter has four moons several hundred years ago. Florence today is undoubtedly a fortunate city for a strong presence of internationals. We can only imagine how the ensuing new perspectives can and will positively impact the city’s landscape now and in the future.

GRACE JOH & FEDERICO CAGNUCCI

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Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA

. Annual Conference F.UA.

GENIUS LOCI


galileo and THE genius loci OF FLORENCE

The 2014 annual academic conference co-hosted by FUA and SUNY Stony Brook University explored interdisciplinary themes through the innovative perspectives of Galileo Galilei. The conference inauguration took place at Florence’s Galileo Museum.

THOMAS BROWNLEES

Photographs by BLAKE DETHERAGE

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1. Tom Brownlees (Fua Conference Academic Coordinator) 2. Filippo Camerota (Vice President Galileo Museum) 3. Maria Federica Giuliani (President of the Cultural Commission for the City of Florence) 4. Mario Mignone (SBU Conference Academic Coordinator)

the interdisciplinary approach of Galileo Galilei represented the quintessential nature of the Florentine genius.

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t can be argued that there is a fundamental flaw in our educational system. The University is an educational model which pushed students to pick sides, to fragment and limit their spectrum of vision, enrolling in one or another department. This of course not only limits their spontaneous curiosity, but also blocks their natural inclination to reach beyond barriers and grasp a multidisciplinary understanding of contemporary issues. In fact we could even be more controversial by stating that there is socially accepted hierarchy in the way certain areas of research are considered mort important than the rest. On top of our imaginary pyramid we’d have the sciences, mathematics and quantitative research, right below we’d have the humanities and the arts at the very end. This is of course misleading, as students would learn to approach discoveries only through what they know and not what they can imagine. To this respect Galileo Galilei represented an example to follow, his interdisciplinary approach represented the quintessential na-

ture of the Florentine genius. He was able to gaze upon a starry night and draw sketches of the moon, and those drawings were nothing less than pieces of fine art. He was then able to study and reflect upon his representations, understating the mathematical rules that disciplined the behavior of celestial bodies. He understood the magnitude of his discoveries and shared his astonishment through the publication of best-selling volumes. He was a genius in his ability to cross over between the categories of contemporary academia, setting a precedent that has inspired generations of intellectuals. Florence University of the Arts shares this vision, and through the 6th annual conference, the institution created an environment embodying not only the philosophy of genius loci but also its physical premises – the campus itself became a form of genius loci, and all higher education institutions should to some degree become capable of being for its students what Florence has been for the rest of the world.

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EMILY PATE

maps keepers of memory

Photographs and composition by BLAKE DETHERAGE

The inspiration for this article comes in the forms of historic maps featured in two important locations in Florence - Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s city hall, and Museo Galileo, which is dedicated to the eponymous scientist and represents the tradition of scientific collecting initiated by the Medici and Lorraine families.

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n the flood of souvenirs brought back from vacations, maps feature prominently. Students, returning to their home universities from studying abroad, hang up depictions of the cities they have lived in. Travelers put pins into the cities they’ve been. In museum gift shops and tiny stationery stores alike, prints of maps both ancient and new are for sale, next to sketchbooks and journals that encourage travelers to press their own stories of Florence like dried flowers between covers that depict this city’s streets. Maps are keepers of memory, both personal and public. The history of a city is held in its layout, the history of a person in simply the sight of a familiar street. Marking a place on a map makes it real in a way that even going there doesn’t, transforming an object into something that can bring back memories from adventures that happened even decades before. Viewing maps is a way of being able to travel without truly leaving home, whether to a familiar place or somewhere completely new. Of course, it isn’t the same as breathing the air and meeting the people of other places, but it stills allows the mind to wander. It allows someone to take a virtual journey. In the map room of Palazzo Vecchio, the first thing tourists do, after gaping at the massive globe that dominates the center of the room, is to go to the list that gives the place names for the maps that cover the walls. Nearly every one of these travelers traces a finger down the list in an attempt to find the map that shows their own place of origin. The same is true for those that go to the Galileo Museum, where a large map from the 1450s hangs on the wall, surrounded by globes. This is a view of the world utterly different than the one that most modern people see. The Americas were not yet known to Europeans, and so the world is limited by what the cartographer knew of it. The oceans are regulated to the edges of the map, and Italy itself is upside down. This is a snapshot of a world no longer real, a representation of a view that no longer exists.

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And yet despite the differences to reality, despite the generations between the eyes that view the map now and those that saw it first, people still stand for long moments in front of it. They squint at it, tilt their heads to the side, all in the attempt to situate themselves within the view of the world so warped from the familiar. Where people place themselves in the universe is a definitive way of expressing the society that they come from. In the age before digital media, when the same map can be viewed by anyone in the world at the same time, maps were often altered significantly from country to country. The perspective of the world was shifted so that the country the map came from was central and the most prominent of the areas depicted. This is not only the case for maps of the earth, but of the universe as a whole. The earth was long thought to be the center around which everything else spun because of the view of human importance and the significance of what is personally experienced. Humans mapped the stars because they wished to understand where they were in the universe, the same instinct that sends us seeking familiar places on unfamiliar maps. Human beings as a whole are fascinated by our placement in the scope of reality. We use this fascination as fuel for discovery, both of the self and of the world around us. Devices for use in pursuing this understanding evolved as the desire to know more surged within the people of Italy. This is the reason for the many artifacts in the Galileo Museum, relics from a time when people sought to know more about what today we take for granted as truths. The art of navigation grew at many different stages for many different reasons. Commerce and conquest both depend on accurate depictions of the world. But in the Italy of the Renaissance, maps also became status symbols and decorations. They were hung on walls of Italy’s Palazzos, or even directly painted onto them, alongside the famous frescoes. As shown in the beauty of the globes and other maps in both the Galileo

Museum and Palazzo Vecchio, cartographers were often also artists, creativity often overcoming the search for total accuracy.1 People who now stand in front of centuries-old maps and try to find home are building connections, between the past and present, between different localities. Maps capture the soul of a place. They show its history, the shape that societies used to have still evident in the layout of a cities’ streets, in the traces of old city walls and squares.

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Klinghoffer, Arthur. The Power of Projections: How Maps Reflect Global Politics and History. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2006. 7.


F UA A N N UA L C O N F E R E N C E

Humans mapped the stars because they wished to understand where they were in the universe, the same instinct that sends us seeking familiar places on unfamiliar maps.

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GENIUS LOCI

MOON

Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA


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inner genius new art exhibitions at FUA

LILLIE STRUDTHOFF Photographs by GIULIO VINCI ( first row: event) and SPENCER SISSELMAN (second row: two paintings)

Two thought-provoking art exhibitions opened at FUA in Fall 2014 in conjunction with the academic conference that was hosted by FUA and Stony Brook University. The conference’s theme was Genius Loci: Florence and Galileo, and its exploration of the relationships between science, history, cultural context and the visual arts lent itself well to the development of two very diverse exhibitions.

INNER COSMOS NICOLETTA SALOMON The first exhibition, Inner Cosmos, featured the works of artist and FUA professor Nicoletta Salomon. Unlike the physical cosmos that Galileo Galilei surveyed, the cosmos that Salomon paints are of a far more philosophical nature. In the introduction of the exhibition catalogue, Salomon writes, “As a painter, the cosmos I speculate is the inner cosmos, which I find inhabited by different planets: the planet of emotions, the planet of feelings and the planet of thoughts. The planets attract and repel each other in an infinite series of forces and movements, and they seek harmony: a kosmos, the Greek term for ‘order.’” Salomon elaborated on these ideas as she led a tour of the exhibition on its opening night. With the assistance of one of her students, Jen-

nifer Hoskins, Salomon explained each abstract work, detailing her use of color and imagery. She discussed her unconventional method of simultaneously working on multiple paintings over an extended period of time, sometimes returning to a work years later to add new layers of paint to its canvas. Salomon explained the significance of this process, saying that for her, the paintings often represent a specific memory or the emotions that dominated a period of time in her life. As her memories change with time, the paintings must also be altered to reflect this mental shift. FUA has recently acquired Salomon’s Inner Cosmos paintings, which will remain permanently installed at the Corso Tintori campus.

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GENIUS LOCI: FLORENCE AND GALILEO FUA STUDENTS The second exhibition, which shared its name with the conference, presented varied interpretations of the theme. Comprised entirely of student works, the exhibition visually explored Florence’s genius loci, the collective creative spirit that is unique to the city. Students from four different courses thought about questions such as, “How can the traces of brilliance left behind by historical figures shape the character of a city and the creative pursuits of its inhabitants?” And, “How can one discover genius loci without merely seeing it as a fixed reflection of the past?” As they made Florence their temporary home and place of study, these students were interacting with Florence’s genius loci, and their creative pursuits allowed for them to experience and interpret this inspiration in individualistic ways. Each course took a unique approach to the topic. The artists from

Illustration and Cartooning Arts presented a satirical view of Galileo, incorporating recognizable icons and imagery to comment on Galileo’s work method and his contemporaries’ views of him. Career students from a course of Video Making visited sites such as the Casa di Galileo, Museo Galileo, and other important locations in which Galileo lived and worked within Florence and then used themes ranging from the trajectory of Galileo’s life and work to the ways in which modern technology inhibits our ability to recognize genius loci in their videos. Two students from Street Photography looked to the citizens of Florence for their portraits, respectively focusing on minority populations and workers. And finally, students of Interior Design used genius loci in a very practical application by redesigning rooms for a boutique hotel in Florence.

Brianna Greenwell Illustration and Cartooning Arts Georgetown, Texas, USA - Baylor University, USA

Chelsea Kozma

Chelsea Glynn

Illustration and Cartooning Arts

Intermediate Interior Design

Austin, Texas, USA - Clemson University, USA

Macedonia, Ohio, USA - Endicott College, USA

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Dacia Carter

Neal Johnson

Street Photography

Street Photography

Waterloo, Iowa, USA - University of Northern Iowa, USA

Wilton, Iowa, USA - University of Northern Iowa, USA

Amanda Ricciardi

Brian Potopowicz

Multimedia Studio I

Multimedia Studio I

Genius Loci (video)

Genius Loci Galileo (video)

Camden, New Jersey, USA Florence University of the Arts

New York City, NY, USA Florence University of the Arts

Both Inner Cosmos and Genius Loci: Florence and Galileo provided a unique glimpse into the artistic viewpoints of the people who are the heart of FUA: the students and the teachers. The international visitors participating in the conference, members of the Florentine community and the faculty and students of FUA who attended the exhibitions had the opportunity to explore complex emotions and the intangible spirit of a beloved city alongside the artists.

SCHOOL OF FINE ARTS STUDENTS Works have been selected by Professor Paride Moretti

Mackenzie Kolling Galileo the Visionary

Devin Culpepper Galileo

Sadie Sullivan Untitled

I wanted to incorporate Galileo’s contributions to astronomy. I created the work in a surrealist style taken from works done by Salvador Dali and focused on Galileo’s eye as the main subject. Within the eye, there are the four moons discovered by Galileo among a starry sky with a partially destroyed Leaning Tower of Pisa in the distance. His eye floats in a sort of dreamland, apart from time, conveying the lasting effects of his achievements and contributions.

ink and watercolor 30 x 40 cm

ink & pen, ink & water 29,7 x 42 cm A genius is known for what they discover. Using medical illustration, I wanted to depict Galileo’s mind discovering Jupiter’s moons through the telescope. Because Galileo was blind for the later years of his life I drew Saturn and its rings in his eyes to explain that it is not possible to stop a genius from discovering possibilities. FALL-WINTER 2014/15

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MEGAN SELDON Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA

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People who observe natural phenomena, trying to understand, recreate, and reproduce certain events are generally referred to as scientists, but throughout the Renaissance time period, artists were doing just the same.


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rt historian Roberta Lapucci claims that until Galileo, artists held a similar place in society as scientists, working as investigators of the natural world, trying to recreate it by applying laws of physics. Caravaggio was one of these artists. Recent research has indicated that his art is based off an efficient “camera obscura” system, potentially the first of its kind. While the idea of the camera obscura – the practice of projecting an image of well lit objects onto the oppositely facing surface of a dark space by allowing light through only one small hole – has been around since ancient China, and Leonardo Da Vinci even dedicated some pages of his notebooks to the device, the images created by the camera obscura process appear flipped both horizontally and vertically and are not naturally in focus. Caravaggio’s use of the camera obscura is fairly evident given descriptions of his studio with darkened and sealed windows, illuminated with “lighting from one source only,” but whether he created a system precise enough for the rendering of a painting onto a canvas where the light from the camera obscura was directly projecting the image had not been considered until the recent research by Lapucci. It is evident that Caravaggio had access to the theory that using a biconvex lens and concave mirror would solve many of the issues of distortion and clarity that was pub-

lished by Giovan Battista della Porta in a time contemporaneous with a young Caravaggio. The proof however of his accomplishment of such a system is the subjective study of Caravaggio’s paintings and their subject matter. For example the composition of Caravaggio’s Uffizi Bacchus, shows the Bacchus holding a glass of wine in his left hand rather than his right even though the subject was not left handed as if in the mirrored way the image would appear after being projected by della Porta’s model of a camera obscura. Other paintings with similar effects include Caravaggio’s Concert in which the camera obscura could have been used to illustrate four men with only two models and his Conversion of the Magdalene who holds the sword in her left hand, like the subject of the Uffizi Bacchus. Regardless of whether Caravaggio succeeded at creating this advancement in optics prior to Galileo himself, the mastery of either the optics or painting is evident in his works.

CARAVAGGIO’S

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LAURA MAGBEE

florence en plein air

Photographs by the author

When I made the decision to study abroad, I had hopes that I would enrich my artistic ability through my courses as well as through the process of adapting to a new culture and way of life.

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knew I would be experiencing and discovering more than I could predict. What I didn’t consider was how much I was going to learn and discover about myself. Near the end of my first month in Florence, I found myself struggling to keep my emotions in line. I was confused why I couldn’t stay positive; I was surrounded by beauty and incredible art, in one of the most artistically renowned cities in the world. Being sad wasn’t something I expected to feel in Florence, especially so early on. I began to paint more, the nights I couldn’t sleep well, I’d go to the Ponte Santa Trinita bridge. Facing the Ponte Vecchio, I’d sit down on the protruding triangle and paint until the sun rose. The still serenity of the early morning, the break of the sun behind the bridge, gave me an inexplicable feeling of contentment. In that moment with my back against the bridge, I discovered what I loved most in the world. I discovered where my heart will always reside. I felt so complete, safe, alone with the canvas. It is a memory I will never forget. My thoughts continued to spring from my sleep-deprived head, “This is all I will ever need in my life to be happy, a canvas and some paint. Put me in front of something beautiful or inspiring, I’ll be even more happy.” As the weeks have passed, I’ve made plein air painting my first priority. Before coming to Italy, I didn’t realize how much my friends and family contributed to my happiness. They as well with my routine allowed me to feel sufficient, happy and fulfilled. I’ve always been easily pleased and amused but also easily displeased and hurt. My past has enabled me to learn the best way to cope with pain and discomfort – through my art. I’ve always enjoyed using subjects or issues in my life that have caused me pain. I enjoyed making something beautiful from something bad. I resorted to art when I needed it, art allowed me to shine light on my fears and doubts. It never failed me, it never hurt me and I knew it would never leave me. The most apparent discovery I’ve made about myself abroad is my high level of sensitivity. People, places, and experiences incline me to feel an array of emotions, it’s inevitable and inconsistent. Art is the only place I can fully heighten my sensitivity and make use of it. Without coming abroad I’m not sure if I would have ever had this affirmation. I’ve now reached a level of happiness I never thought feasible alone.

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Photographs by the author

BIENNALE DI ARCHITETTURA THE ARSENALE

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s a student of design, being able to attend the 14th annual architecture exhibition held in Venice was a truly remarkable and fulfilling experience. I was overwhelmed with excitement to realize just how vast and complex the layout of the event was to take place, and how many people would be in attendance. Separated into two components, the Giardini and Arsenale, the exhibitions were organized under the guidance and creative mind of established architect, theorist, and urbanist Rem Koolhaas. The first exhibits we visited were located in the Arsenale, which was composed of and supportive of the underlying theme Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014, dedicated to capturing and presenting the development and impact that modernism has had on Italian history, and international history, throughout the past century. I was immediately astounded upon entering the dim interior of the Arsenale to be surrounded by architectural projects, case studies, interactive models, notes, and more. I found myself speechless, completely immersed in a rich presentation of history and art, with so much desire to read and learn all that I could. The first project that caught my eye was a study of the design history of the Greek amphitheaters and its relation to the political development of democracy, entitled Theatres of Democracy. Each exhibit was preceded by a wall-mounted description, which gave a basic outline of the study or project, its contributors, and its focus. As I read the information about the historic significance and gazed intently at the collection of sketches and ink prints on the panel, I noticed a portion of the project allowed for users to view through small holes in an interactive wall and observe the different adaptations and designs of this common design that had began from ancient

LAURA VARJABEDIAN

Greek. After an initial curiosity to this exhibit, I was interested to see what else the biennale would present throughout my stay. I navigated my way through numerous spaces, large and small, reading, analyzing, and absorbing all I could from such a large display of history material. All throughout the Arsenale were large, ceiling mounted screens, showing a range of film clips, commercials, advertisements, and other bits of historic modernity. There were viewing rooms showing longer clips, with places to sit and listen. The beginning of the exhibit was dedicated to the progression of modernism solely in Italy, and as I continued on I was able to see this transition and its effects in various other countries (66 to be exact), including Latvia, Portugal, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and many more. Exhibits and studies I took a particular interest and liking to included: Countryside Worship, Z! Zingonia, Mon Amour, Nightswimming: Discoteques in Italy from the 1960s until Now, and the exhibits of the United Arab Emirates and Mozambique. Rich in informative studies and visually pleasing aesthetics, the exhibits from the Biennale Architettura were inspiring and career motivating for me as an individual. I not only gained insight on the history of modernism in Italian and European architecture in the past 100 years, but an appreciation for the concentration and importance of the past. Overall, I am extremely thankful that I was able to attend and experience the exhibitions in Venice, I only wish that I could have increased my stay so I was able to see more of it, one day was not nearly enough! As with the entire experience of studying Interior Design and living here in Florence, I am learning and advancing my techniques as a designer, but also in ways that are enriching my love for the industry.

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everyone becomes light thanks to his or her ability to become a physical and gestural presence, the bearer of expression and communication. - Kinkaleri

Becoming Light Kinkaleri Someone In Hell Loves You | All!, 2013

Kinkaleri Ascesa & Caduta, 2010

photo by Ilaria Costanzo

photo by Kinkaleri

Kinkaleri <OTTO>, 2002

Kinkaleri WEST (New York), 2007

photo by Kinkaleri

video still by Kinkaleri

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Photographs by the author

SAVANNAH HOLZWARTH

Kinkaleri, Everyone Gets Lighter | All!, 2014 photo by Jacopo Jenna

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n their recent Palazzo Strozzi performance, Everyone Gets Lighter, Kinkaleri proves not everything is black and white. The company, established in 1995, uses theater and dance to explore complex, often abstract, ideas. “Our work, in a way, is very scientific because we work a lot with the concept,” explains founding member Marco Mazzoni. “There is always a concept, then it gives us the rules that we have to respect. If you give yourself a frame, then it’s easy to stay inside or even to break it.” For this particular installation, a solo performance by Mazzoni, Kinkaleri created a gestural alphabet by assigning a movement to each letter. The program notes, written in both Italian and English, include a series of illustrations providing the audience all tools necessary to understand and participate in the new language. As with any written language, there is room for both a surface level interpretation and a deeper understanding. The word “light,” which can be used to describe the agent which stimulates our sense of sight or a description of physical weight, carries with it connotations of goodness or spiritual enlightenment. “The title suggests the idea that everyone can get lighter, can invent himself. He can be bright. There is this kind of double meaning,” Mazzoni says. “On one side we want to be clear, but on the other we try to work with people to let them feel free.” Prior to setting the piece, Kinkaleri researched poetry from the 1960s, citing the likes of William Barrows and John Giorno. “More or less they were doing exactly what dance most of the time is: freedom,” Mazzoni explains. “You don’t have to get the meaning all of the time, you can just listen to the sounds.” Mazzoni’s movements, though simple, are aesthetically pleasing enough to be considered solely in terms of shape and form, but by creating a codified language Kinkaleri clarifies the very basic meaning behind each movement. Audience members are then offered the freedom to investigate and explore at will, drawing their own conclusions and interpretations. “It’s really about language and the different possibilities within a language,” says Mazzoni. By expanding language to include more universal mediums such as illustration or dance, Kinkaleri crosses the boundaries typically created by verbal communication and inspires a new range of possibilities for the expression and exchange of ideas. The company hopes the gestural language will be used as “a new tool for relating and debating – in both poetic and political terms.”

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FUA ART THERAPY STUDENTS

speculating while making art

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s visual artists seeking for an encounter between the visible world shaped by lines, forms, volumes, and colors, and the inner world made of memories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, we need to improve our skills of focusing on both the conscious and the unconscious sides of the long process of generating a work of art. We get aware of the fact that the visible world as we see it is not just the world as shaped by the mirror of our eye system: it is shaped by an inner eye as well, one that is affected by our moods, states of mind, recollection of experiences, and ideas. The way we feel the world, the way we think about the world, and the perspectives through which we were thought to watch it are all systems at work when speculating about the world, and they are as powerful as our optic system: since they interplay and affect each other, they need to be delved, known, understood by artists. This is what I seek to do with my art students: to become more and more aware of the complex relationships as built up by the different tools of the artist. I believe artists can be aware of the processes implied in their art-making: they can "know what they do" as long as they develop the philosophical, psychological, and historical knowledge of what art is. The method for this research is both theoretical and empiric. We speculate (speculum, mirror) about emotions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, and memories as planets (etymologically, "wandering"): we try to shape a kosmos, an orderly setting of their

Photos courtesy of NICOLETTA SALOMON

mutual relationships, a pulsing and changing one, since they are in perpetual and unpredictable wandering. We seek for multiple ways of expressing those relationships and movements visually, through lines, colors, brush strokes, and handwriting. We monitor the process bit by bit, we share and write for present and future aims. And, most of all, we do this for the pure sake of endless research. We meet the wonder of discovering that the more we speculate in depth, the more our perspective enlarges and changes, while raising heuristic analogies between the physical and sensorial world and the symbolic and imaginary one. Through deep observation, while involving psychological, philosophical, and artistic skills, each planet unexpectedly reveals itself as a constellation made by an infinite number of other components. We discover that the more we dig and know about this kosmos, the more it reveals itself as a growing and living being, like the cosmos as speculated by scientists; they both create the space they fill up. We can carry this research individually and as a group, share it in infinite and diverse ways, and express it artistically: the artistic gesture is the most well-suited to do this because it is as deep as the kosmos it regenerates. The texts presented reveal a portion of the research started during the FUA Fall Semester, from the inner individual and group observatory as set at FUA. I hope that all the researchers that participated in the project will continue speculating about what they just discovered. NICOLETTA SALOMON FUA Fine Arts Professor

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Art therapy had no meaning to me before I took the FUA course; as far as I was concerned it was used as a therapy technique for children through which they would be able to scribble and draw out their emotions as they are too young to express them in words. However, the farther I have come in this class, the better understanding of art therapy I have gained for it is actually a tool used for all ages; and although it is mostly used for therapeutic means, it does not always have to be. At first, art therapy seems almost childish in a way, but that is only until you start to reap the benefits of taking time for yourself and letting your emotions flow onto paper through any form of art you choose. Through art therapy we are learning to get in touch with our inner emotions and create a dialogue with ourselves. Through lessons and hands on experiences our class has become more in touch with the artist inside us and this artist is something that some of us didn’t even know we had. We have experimented with different art materials such as paints, oil pastels and colored pencils as well as mind-body exercises and simply touching objects of different sizes, shapes and textures. These experiences have brought us back to how we used to learn things about the world, when we were at a simple stage - our childhood. One of my favorite activities we have done so far in class was when we used a canvas and acrylic paint to “paint our lives in colors.” At first I sat there and stared at a blank white canvas for what seemed like forever. How can you put your whole life in simple colors? As I thought about it more though I got an idea of where to begin and the rest just flowed naturally. When I finished my painting I sat there and thought about what each color meant to me and why I placed things on the canvas the way I did. It all made perfect sense when I was finished, even though while I was painting I didn’t see how it was going to come together. This is the great thing about art therapy and art in general—there is no right or wrong way of doing things, you just let your hands take over and see where you end up. There was one section of my canvas that really caught my eye and it represented where I am now in life. It was a whole bunch of mixed colors in dots and thick lines. This section was very simple, yet very powerful to me and I realized that all sorts of emotions lie behind the simple colors in this section of my artwork. This class taught me to never overlook the little details in my artwork because everything that flows onto paper came out for a reason and it also taught me to always appreciate other’s work for you never know what meaning lies behind a simple canvas for its artist.

PAINTING OUR LI V E S IN C OLOR S JADYN WEIBEL

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GEN L A ON ER S P THE

IUS

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STEPHANIE ENOCH HOME IN ME

We dedicated a few classes to discussing an element of psychology known as the “Transitional Object,” which is an object that serves as a comfort to children who are starting to develop their sense of COLLAGING MYSELF MY WAY After I had collected a good stack of cut pieces, all in self-independence while still havdifferent shapes and sizes, some the same, I began lay- ing the object as a physical con- Back home, the accepted concept used in ing them out on the paper in order to find a place for nection to their mother. There is dealing with situations or solving probeach individual piece. Once I finally decided I had fin- something therapeutic in remem- lems is to approach the solution using ished the collage, I allowed myself just to look at it, and bering the past, and in achieving the so-called left-brain skills by being shortly after I initiated a dialog with the collage. My an awareness of elements relat- logical, rational and analytical. Growing first question was “Why did I use so many red and pink ed to the younger self that has up, I strongly disagreed with this concolors?” This is completely opposite of what I would made you who you are today. cept simply because it didn’t work for me. Being dyslexic, I see the world differentnormally do. I realized that the warm colors in this ly than most others. Everything we do, piece were the comforting coziness of finding my new home in Firenno matter how small or insignificant, ze. The warm colors are for the most part covering – layed over – the reflects a creative idea. In the way I live cool colors, as if saying that, as Firenze becomes more of a home to my life, in each and every step I take, I me, the daunting feeling of being alone in a new place is going away. am creative. I had never before considered myself a creative person until now.

CLARA KINNEY

GINA LAFF

KRISTEN BOYLE

THE MANDALA We explored the use of the mandala. In art therapy, it is used as a tool for self-reflection. /S It is a way to see a self-portrait of one’s current PAINT YOUR LIFE THROUGH COLORS S R O inner emotional state. The mandala itself is We learned about the separation between mother and child, COL an intricately designed circular pattern. It and expressed it through drawing. In my response, I drew grows outward from a small circular center a round shape, in soft yellows, pinks, and oranges. I started to a larger outer circle. This same concept with a blending of these colors because I was attracted to is often observed in nature with the center how they mixed. As the piece progresses, the colors gradualcircle growing larger. The earth is a part of ly change and end in a dark purple. As all young adolescents, the celestial mandala that is our solar sysI learned while growing up about the horrors and terrors on tem within the spiraling Milky Way galaxy. this earth. Despite the beauty and happiness in the world, We reflected on what feelings we each associatthere is a darker side as well. There is still so much more for ed with different colors, me to explore and discover, not only about the world around and which we liked best me but about myself, which is why I left most canvas blank. or worst. Subsequently, we were able to reflect COLOR upon why we chose the Have we ever stopped and thought about why we are C SI colors we did when cre- drawn to certain colors or explore the feelings that arise MU ating our mandalas. when we look at one in particular? Color does something to the brain, it has the power to recall memories, provoke feelings, and create emotion through the subconscious. I had never thought about using color to ROADS: CHANGING express feeling. It was more difficult then I imagined. PERSPECTIVES There is a distinction between simply working with noise and actually working to music. By this I mean you paint to the fluctuations in the tempo, feel the PAINTING WITH MUSIC EXPERIENCE mood changes, and often discover someI often listen to music when I paint. However the thing within the work and within yourpurpose of such a practice has been to fill the deafself. Originally I detested the piece from ening void of silence. The new practice of paying MIND MAP this exercise. The entirety of it left special attention to the emotions and feelings that OF CREATIVITY me feeling hopeless and lost. I felt that a constant stream of music itself incites is one that I hadn’t yet experiThere is turmoil and confumusic flowing through my ears enced prior to studying art therapy. When I began sion displayed, but there and my hands gave me a better to connect the two mediums together, I immediis also vibrancy and life. image of what I was feeling. I was ately saw the music as lines and colors, and the This is real and raw maable to use my senses in unison lines and colors as rhythmic dancers on the canvas. terial. Maybe this is why for an extended amount of time. I As a piano player, I have always considered the two I was uncomfortable beloved this application. By not stop- mediums of music and painting to be equally excause it was showing me ping to write or to switch songs, I pressive, yet I have never before experienced such something that I was not ready was able to maintain my train of a closeness in their communicative properties. to agree with. It is an abstract work, but thought and emotion. For the genit is also a portrait, it is a landscape, re, I picked contemporary Christian music. I was it is the music, it is me, and it is life. filled with religious joy while listening, which led me to creating a picture of a cross. I felt like God’s hand was inside mine while making this painting.

RACHEL MAY

ES HAP

DEVIN CULPEPPER

ANDRA GUZZO

KAELYNN MALONEY

MARINA BOMMARITO

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COURTNEY WILSON

THE CREATIVE PROCESS: COLLAGING, DISCOVERING

Art therapy is an experience of inner discovery. It is dedicated to the goal of receiving a relationship with both yourself and others with a variety of elements connected to the common goal of comfortability. With art therapy comes emotions, memories and experiences. We as humans need an outer source to connect to our inner and to many that can be through the therapeutic process of art making. Society trains humans to restrain from showing their emotions as it is a “dog eat dog” world. We are told to focus on the measure of success and wealth but there is no level past that exterior outlook. We are creation and because of that we strive to be creative whether it is through the way we dress, act, or speak. We need to find our individuality, and because of our structured society, it is sometimes hard to discover; we may become caught up in who we need to be and never fully understand who we are inside and art therapy can be a method of finding that inner self and finding who you truly are in this world. Art therapy is a creative process of revealing the unconscious. Collaging is one way to discover inner thoughts or feelings that one may have regressed in their life and it is simple as there are no rules and no right or wrongs. The key is to make the collage with no connection to any of the material and trust the process. Trusting the process means to not overthink your actions and to trust that this treatment will work. Many may feel that the end result is the key to the therapy, however, the process of making the collage is just as important. To make a collage one must gather a surface to collage on, scissors, glue, magazines, papers, and any other material they might want to use on their piece. These materials are your tools to explore; use them however you would like. When cutting or ripping out pieces of paper and magazines keep in mind that it is not necessary to have a theme to work off of. Focus on picking out images that have some sort of interest to you. Do not question the meaning, just cut and paste. You may continue this process until you feel you

a r e finished and once it is complete it is important to look at the piece as a whole. Having a dialogue with the piece is the next step to understanding the deeper meaning of your piece. It may not come right away so you can take a look at some of the common images, colors, or words that came up in your piece or some of the thoughts that ran through your mind while making the collage. What emotions do you feel now after looking at the collage? Any of these answers may be the meaning behind your work and a connection to an inner regressed thought you may have stored. I recently did a collage of my own and I used this process to find things that stood out to me and paste them on the page. It was a calming experience and helped me relax in the making process. When I finished, I started a dialogue and discovered many of my thoughts that I push back. I discovered through the collage how important human interaction and connection are to me through the common theme of human faces and facial features I added to my collage. I not only cut out faces and glued them on the page, but I ended up collaging different people’s facial features over the original face of the other person. Having a dialogue with that idea of layering different faces was the discovery of need for individuality. A blending of different faces to me meant having a lot of different people not being authentic. I believe the message was my search for the understanding of who I am. The next thing I noticed was the colors I used in the piece. I had a variety of lights and darks. It is important to notice color and feelings associated with them because they are essential to understanding the emotions you feel. I noticed through mine an intense range of lights and darks and I realized this may be the depth that is perceived in life, being that there are many happy moments and also many sad ones. However, these levels of moments portray the depth in life and just like a painting, you cannot have just lights, you need dark areas too to create space. Collaging is a way to better understand yourself and what you need to receive from the world. It is a simple process, but it can mean a lot if you let yourself discover.

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MERCURY

Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA

Literature

GENIUS LOCI


L I T E R AT U R E

ThE Strength OF Oriana Fallaci JOSLYN MATTHEWS & DEBORAH GALASSO Illustration by LINH NGUYEN Photograph by FEDERICO CAGNUCCI

Italian writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci was born in Florence on June 29, 1930. As a teenager, she studied at Galileo high school and then attended the University of Florence.

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allaci’s legacy as a Florentine is linked to the city. Like many great writers, Fallaci started her craft at the young age of nine creating the kind of stories any child would. When she was 16, she became a reporter and published her first article in the Florentine newspaper “La Mattina del Centro Italia” and in 1954 she moved to Rome to continue her career. Fallaci was not one to let the standard of objectivity in journalism dictate how she reported on her subjects and her personality would not allow that either. In an interview that Fallaci did with Rolling Stone magazine in 1976 she said, “I am the judge. I am the one who decides. Listen: if I am a painter and I do your portrait, have I or haven’t I the right to paint you as I want?” It was by words like these that Fallaci lived her life and she believed that the way she approached her subjects was the way to get an honest story. Her strength was indicative of the country and time period that she was born in. As a child, Fallaci was influenced by her family, particularly her father who was a part of the anti-Fascist movement in Italy during World War II. It was during this time that Benito Mussolini rose to power. At the age of 13 years old, a young Fallaci was a member of the Corps of Volunteers for Freedom, an underground movement that fought against Nazi occupation. When she was 14, she was honorably discharged from the Italian army. Being raised during such a time of conflict can explain the position she often took against world leaders who she felt abused their power. Among the many famous names she interviewed there was Muhammad al-Gaddafi, Henry Kissinger and Yasir Arafat. As a fiction writer, Fallaci often focused on themes of life and death that were also reflective of the time she spent in war zones such as in Vietnam. In an interview with Charlie Rose in 1992, she likened journalism to writing with handcuffs on. Literature, she said, “universalizes the truth” because that way it becomes a story that people can relate to. Fallaci was a woman whose words incited emotions that sometimes came at the expense of her safety. The last few years of her life was spent receiving protection from the police because of the hundreds of death threats sent to her after she published her thoughts on Islam in several books. These books were bestsellers in Italy and all over Europe and have also been translated into a number of languages. The Rage and the Pride, The Force of Reason

and The Apocalypse are three books she published after the events of September 11, 2011 where she describes in controversial terms the issues she has with Islam. It was because of her opinion on this subject that Fallaci was both praised and spurned by her fellow countrymen. Those who criticized her viewed her books as too harsh in its generalization of Islam. Others applauded her bravery for speaking out on a topic that many, even today, are weary about confronting out loud. If anything, Fallaci’s last few books were representations of her nationalistic spirit and love of her home country. She saw her opposition towards the spread of Islam in Italy and in Europe as a way to preserve her nation’s identity that she was so proud of. The last few books she wrote were not only to voice her concern about America’s relationship with Islam, but to take a stand on the issues that are center stage in her own country when it comes to tolerance of religion. In 2005, Fallaci met with Pope Benedict XVI, despite being an atheist. She was nearing the end of her life and her health was fragile and she requested and was granted a private meeting with the pope. Fallaci said that she respected him because they shared similar ideologies. It was during this time that Fallaci received several awards in recognition of her service to her country. In 2005, she received a gold medal for her contributions to culture from Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, the former President of Italy. That year, she also received the “Ambrogino d’oro” award, the highest honor to be given in Milan. Upon receiving the award, Fallaci wrote, “This gold medal moves me because it gratifies my efforts as a writer and journalist, my commitment to the defense of our culture, my love for my country and for freedom.” Both of these awards were met with some protest by those who believed that her controversial view of Islam left her undeserving cultural recognition. However those who defended her felt her life’s works was worth being celebrated and although arguable, her opinions represented the mindset of some Italians. With a style of writing that was a clear look into the heart of its writer, Fallaci did not hold back on her beliefs. She worked her way into an industry that was at the time unfriendly to women and came out at the top. Fallaci died September 15, 2006 from breast cancer and was buried in Florence.

I am the judge. I am the one who decides.

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GRACE BYMARK

genius libri

Photographs by the author

Each morning, he rolls up the gate then sweeps the sidewalk in front of his shop as the first of the shoppers trickle out into town. Before opening the door for the day, he looks over each shelf and each stack, aligning and adjusting the books into the correct order and category.

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e brings the rack with 1e books out to the front stoop of the shop and dusts off what can be seen off the tabletop. Finally, the shop is ready and he puts a stopper in the door, leaving it open to welcome in his customers. This is the morning routine of Marco Agnusdei. Whether his sales are up or down, whether he is busy or not, he relishes and remembers each day the shop’s door is open for business as well as every book he sells. Marco is the guardian spirit of this shop he has managed for the past 16 years. His character embodies the nature of his shop, for though it is now his, he was not the first man to sell books from this store. Years ago he took over for his friend and neighbor after she became too frail to run the shop herself and Marco left his job as a librarian and brought along his love for literature. Stepping into the small store, there is little that seems special about the place at first glance. The walls are lined with books of every kind; cookbooks, history books, mythology books, poetry books, fiction books,

nonfiction books – the list goes on. In the middle of the shop there is a table for six, minus the chairs, piled high with books about religion, prayer, and religious figures. Aside from the overwhelming assembly of spines, both upright and horizontal, and the heavy scent of decaying paper, it might appear that there is little experience to be had, however, those who frequent bookstores are familiar with the enchanting quality of a room filled with printed thoughts, words, and ideas of those who have the courage to write. Marco always smiles at his customers when they walk in his shop. He lets them walk around, where they are immersed in the smell of old used books, and he allows them to choose their treasure, patiently waiting until they need him for advice or to make a purchase. Marco is the genius loci of his shop; he understands what it is to be surrounded by so much knowledge and he is brimming with a fair share of his own. Additionally he takes it upon himself to provide the best sources he can find. Twice a week, during his break,

Marco will scavenge through the other local used book stands and the antique market in Piazza Del Ciompi in search of the right gems for his collection and once a month he will make it to the big market in Lastra a Signa where he excavates the used books to uncover something good enough for his customers. It is a small and simple mission Marco leads, but one he finds to have a worthy cause: a happy customer. The cliché does not escape him - a merchant aiming to please the consumer - but Marco is not in it for the recognition or the money. He is sharing the old with the new, in hopes of inspiring thoughts and sharing his love of the written word and he is sending these bundles off to be loved again. Like the buildings that fill Florence, each of Marco’s books has been previously occupied by its owner; lived in for a while and then sold or lent to the next tenant. And while neither he nor his bookshop stand out flashily, Marco is a solid part of the harmony of Florence for he plays a part that supports the theme in the composition of this historical city.

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LITERARY CORNER

Illustrations by Linh Nguyen

As FUA’s writer-in-residence, I had the pleasure of working with 7 students on fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry for Blending’s literary section. Drawing inspiration from Galileo, the notion of Genius Loci, and their time in Florence, these writers explore the city through new lenses and from new perspectives— from under bridges, between buildings, and through half-hidden windows. They find in the winding streets and surrounding countryside the layered language of nature, the navigational coordinates of memory, and the shifting edges of truth. The process of discovery is not only one of looking outward but of looking inward, and so as these writers explore the world around them, they also discover new landscapes within.

Devour

— JESSIE CHAFFEE Fulbright Scholar and FUA writer-in-residence

TAYLOR DAVIS I craved a world. I craved a world distant from me. Shrouded in the echoes of past lives. Lands not unlike my own yet people so different than I. Exuberance wild and genuine and passionate wanderings of a slower pace. Words rolling from tongues. Cuisine embodying a cinematic love story— pastries baked with culture and history, ambrosial caffeine, pastas flavored with pearl and crimson. Frizzante rosso falling into glass as if it had finally found a home. I craved a sense of understanding. Of the world. Of humanity. Of myself. Self-discovery was inevitable and I welcomed it. It was strange. And beautiful. And terrifying. I clutched the camera to my face and through my lens I saw the Universe. I saw myself. My pen carried the essence of me recorded on pages of a tiny black book. I gazed before realizing my words gazed back at me. I looked and wondered and lived.

La Cité Libreria TAYLOR DAVIS I found happiness in a Florentine coffee shop. Tables collaged with art and words. Scarlet walls. Tunes foreign and familiar. Trumpets, saxophones, pianos. And the aroma of creativity— A subtle prickling beyond the mind’s eye. It smelled savory, tempting me to step beyond the boundaries I’d unnoticeably placed. It was sinful, this gravitation I craved. And once I tasted it, addiction was inevitable. Inspiration. Hope. Happiness. The intrinsic glimmer of myself to the world; My words. I fell madly for this café. And it both pleases and pains me that I will leave a part of me here when I go.

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Red Pencil Minutes EMILY PATE The sky is a jagged slice of whitewash clouds caught between the rooftops of the narrow street. Where it runs into a piazza like a tributary into the sea, two boys sit on the curb next to the river, knees tight against their chests, and pass a cigarette between them. They wear twin hungers, clutched like that cigarette between their fingers, caught in the corners of their eyes as they watch tourists and I watch them. Time tangles in my fingers like the yarn that hangs in the window across the street. I tug at the threads and the piazza becomes the flap of a pigeon’s wings against my head, the downward rush of wind on my shoulders. Time presses up against windows, peering out at a street gone grey with rain, at the plaster that peels away from brickwork bone. Quiet collapses like my umbrella as I enter the museum, slips from my hands with the euros for the ticket. Time is caught here in the gold blades of astrolabes and the careful lines of faded maps that make me think of my father’s hands, salt worn and sea stained, drawing lines across the ocean with a red pencil that looks so fragile in his fingers.

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Alone But Not Lonely

PAOLO ROSEN

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t was raining the first time I noticed the banks under the Ponte Vespucci. Florence is better in the rain. In the rain the city is stripped of the hapless tourists and the overeager restaurateurs who usually stand at the stoops, ready to snatch up anyone foolish enough to allow their gaze to linger. When it rains everyone has a purpose; everyone has direction except for the most stubborn wanderers. I had come out in the rain with my camera so that I might return home with pictures of something besides beautiful sunshine. Walking along the river, the noise was almost deafening. Between the cascading Arno and the tires on wet asphalt, I could hardly hear myself think. I was sitting on a bench alongside the spillway waterfall, considering crossing over into Oltrarno, when I saw a mismatched group taking refuge from the storm under the Ponte Vespucci. When I got under the bridge, I found that it wasn’t one group, but two, if not more. There were some dark-skinned men smoking hookah and teenagers sharing a cigarette. The city is set high above the banks. Down here the walls were covered in graffiti and the water filled with litter. I didn’t immediately recognize what was so special about this group of people, and the place they chose to assemble. It wasn’t until I came back one night a week later that I realized what I had found: home. Chicago has always been my home, but it can be a nasty place. It is difficult to find peace in the city and, for years, I have relied on the same spot to calm my mind when it feels like there’s a tornado in it. On nights when I couldn’t find sleep, I would bike one mile east to Pratt Beach and walk out onto the long cement pier. Every step I took changed my view: first I’d see the beach apartments, then the condos, then the fancy houses in Lakeview, and then suddenly I’d be blinded by lights as the entire city appeared. From here I could see stars east over the lake and the light of the buildings to the south. Living in a city is living in compromise: even from the pier, the stars were barely visible, and I never go past the lighthouse at the end of the pier to where the view would be better because people who do are asking for trouble. Still, despite my compromises, I could fool myself that I was looking at the best view in the world. The second time I climbed under the Ponte Vespucci it was late. I was surprised when a dog off-leash greeted me as I approached. The dog ran in circles around me until I passed his master in

the shadows of the bridge. The man was painting on the wall with a brush and pallet; I had never seen someone make graffiti that way. The man didn’t look up and I decided to keep walking. As I left the shadows under the bridge, I realized there was a riverside cement pathway. There were two more people painting; neither looked up at me. The path ended at the four-foot wall of the spillway that created the waterfall; when I reached it, I climbed up on top, where I noticed there were at least thirty other people gathered, looking out along the water. Nobody looked at me as I passed; I caught pieces of conversations, heard the clink of glass bottles and the sharp inhales followed by clouds of smoke. Just before the spillway turns into the waterfall there sat a huge piece of a tree; bolted to it was a life-sized stag made of branches. The stag was looking in the same direction as everyone else and I followed his gaze. The sight greeted me with a sort of alienated majesty. I was back on the pier at Pratt Beach but everything was so different this time. Florence shone as bright as a star, perfect in the moment. I stood there with the stag watching over the city for a long time before I remembered I wasn’t alone. Suddenly I was back at Grant Park in Chicago, waiting for the fireworks. For some reason, Grant Park used to have fireworks on the 3rd of July, until the city ran out of money. Everyone would sit in their groups looking out over the water. They launched the fireworks from a boat. I used to be terrified of them; the sound rattled me and I always thought the fire would reach land. Everyone would arrive in groups and make little islands with their picnic blankets, getting louder as they drank more and the show grew nearer. Under the bridge and on the spillway everyone looked out over the Arno at the lights of the city. It felt like everyone was waiting for the show to begin, or maybe it already had. They didn’t seem impatient, just happy to be there with whomever they had the privilege of being with. That’s when I realized what was so different about this place. This was the first time in Italy I’d found myself among strangers who all kept to themselves, but it wasn’t like home, where a stranger’s presence could be intimidating. It was as if there was an understanding, a contract we had all signed, and everyone was welcomed. I was looking at the city lights back at Pratt Beach; I was a little boy on a picnic blanket waiting for fireworks again. It was like we were alone together. I was alone but not lonely.

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Past Teachings Shed Light on the Present STEPHANIE FUCHS

“See now the power of truth; the same experiment which at first glance seemed to show one thing, when more carefully examined, assures us of the contrary.” Galileo Galilei Discourse and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences

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lthough Galileo spoke these words in the 16th century, they still apply today. How? In the pursuit of passion. In finding oneself. In life. And now as a student in Florence, these words resonate with me. Italy, and Florence in particular, is a beautiful fusion of tradition and novelty—the birthplace of both Amerigo Vespucci and Guccio Gucci and home to passionate locals, expatriates and visitors who value traveling, living abroad, experiencing new cultures, discovering new passions, and searching for answers to one of life’s most difficult questions: who am I? Living in Florence, surrounded by the ideals of the present and the impressive Renaissance art and culture of the past, has made me reflect on my own life and inspired a dramatic and permanent change in me. From age 8 until I finished college at 22, I devoted my time to only three things: school, competitive tennis and my family. I fell asleep each night with clear goals and woke up in the morning full of renewed motivation, dedication and commitment to accomplishing these goals. Now, however, I realize there is a different way to approach life—a new recipe for living. And the Italians have discovered the special ingredient: balance. In Italy I have observed an emphasis on a work-life balance that starts with viewing work as a means to an end. Rather than working excessively and single-mindedly, Italians dedicate a portion of their time to work and a separate—but equally important—part to enjoying life and relationships. Once the work shifts are over, Florence becomes a sea of contagious energy and activity. People spend their free time cheering on the Florentine soccer team, running in the Cascine Park, attending food festivals, shopping at the Mercato di San Lorenzo, or spending countless hours (sometimes into the wee hours of the morning) with family and friends. This energy and thirst for life has inspired me to make time for old passions—writing, attending sporting events, traveling, trying new food—and to discover new ones—architecture, photography, history, opera, and the Italian language. In addition to practicing my own work-life balance and pursuing my passions, I have been inspired by two words: travel and languages. For Italians and the international community that chooses to live in Florence, it is a priority to travel and learn new languages. These activities are not seen as frivolous or intimidating, but imperative and liberating. At FUA alone, I have formed

friendships with people from all over the world: the United States, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Greece, Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, Taiwan, China and Kyrgyzstan. In addition to traveling extensively, several of my friends have mastered four languages a piece! Being a part of this international community has motivated me to explore every corner of the world (i.e., in January, my sister and I are flying to Thailand!) and I am determined to be able to one day add the words “speaks multiple languages” to my resume. Although traveling the world and learning numerous languages are vital goals for me, they are by no means simple or easy to attain. They are big goals. In the past, I would have dedicated myself solely to accomplishing these larger goals. However, my time in Italy has changed my perception. Rather than focusing on only one or two major goals, I have challenged myself to adopt the philosophy that one of my Italian professors at FUA taught me: to constantly pursue little goals and dreams so you can relish the process of accomplishment and remain happy and fulfilled. In other words, it is essential to keep learning, achieving and dreaming because life is not meant to be stagnant or boring. Equipped with this new mindset, I no longer discount dreams that may seem either unattainable or unrelated to my larger goals. In fact, I have begun writing the book I have always dreamt of publishing; I researched and made a concrete plan to hike the Camino del Inca path to Machu Picchu; and I signed up for a cooking class in Thailand so that I can discover how to make Pad Thai, one of my favorite dishes. Through the pursuit of my dreams and of multiple goals, I have learned more about life and myself. Living in Italy has broadened my perspective and changed my former stagnant life into one that is enlightened, inspired and forever changed. I feel motivated, exhilarated and revitalized by my new sense of “truth” and “life.” As Galileo eloquently stated, the “truth” may at first appear straightforward. However, it can and will change with experience and a newfound perspective. After a change in countries, culture, language and ideals, I have uncovered new aspects of myself and new truths in life. Life is not black and white; it is a blank canvas full of possibilities, waiting for people to paint their own masterpieces. As I continue to pursue my dreams and passions, and explore and challenge perceived “truths” about life, the question is not whether my canvas will change, but how often.

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Araneae BLAINE WEISS

Nature’s Layers

You asked me of my favorite bird. The question left unanswered. How is one to know? You take your time with life. An American Kestrel, you say. Why, I wonder, May I say one with wings?

FELICIA A. KALIL

I Untitled BLAINE WEISS A footprint to the past Tires burning of secrets A drive is no more a walk— a fly no more a still. A tear shred A water fall The trail spoiled soon— I sail to the moon The night will fall The sun may rise Hike your heart— crack the disguise.

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taly is a place with hidden layers that are revealed if you take the time to stay still in the moment, to observe nature as it unfolds before your eyes, and to experience the connection between yourself and nature. Each moment has its own sound, each bird its own home. You experience these layers piece by piece, and each one encompasses a lesson in a way of being. Each one reveals something new about your own nature. I have felt my nature shifting and my perceptions of life changing after observing the vast beauty of Italy. Here, the setting sun seems so much brighter than before and I see everything in this new light. Each day now there is a new sun rising and setting inside my soul. I walk slowly alongside the Arno and my mind drifts in sync with the current. I see the reflection of myself on the river’s surface. I see its flowing waters, and they flow right through me. This nature moves within me and it fills me with flight. I become a painting filled with all the colors I have observed here. I have the sense that I am expanding, just as the landscapes go on and on. There is a certain immediate quality to life and its lessons. Here in the layers of Italy, in her nature, I learned to see myself beyond a mirror. I saw myself reflected back in the mountains and the water. I discovered how deep my soul goes when I gazed out the window of an Italian train at the vast dark blue sea stretched out to the horizon. I saw the beauty of a woman and all her curves in the rolling hills. Those hills became the explanation of the earth’s beauty and of my own beauty. Now, at the end of my journey, I look back and see myself in this nature, its hidden beauty revealed by observation and experience. There has been a change in my personal nature that I never would have grasped had I not taken the time to peel back the layers, to observe the world and to see the world observing me in all my nature.


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A Window in the Middle of Florence JOSLYN MATTHEWS

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nna only had a few nights left in the city and she was hoping to see them again. “See them.” As if it were an accident or a stroke of luck. No, after that first night in the sticky blaze of August three months ago, Anna had made frequent trips out to the balcony with a cracked, yellow mug of wine, bought cheap from the market, and a freshly lit cigarette. Anna gazed out at the city directly in front of her, the view of a church dome partially obstructed by scaffolding. Then she leaned her body over the cold metal balcony, as she always did, to look with forced, casual indifference at the window of the apartment next door. The clay statute of a man was propped up near the window on the building’s roof. She never liked that statue; out of the corner of her eye, it always seemed like a real person, standing there watching her over the potted flowers. In the window beyond, shadows floated behind sheer white curtains. A family, she imagined. That window, even when unoccupied by figures, emitted the soft golden glow of a home well-lived in. Anna would stare, transfixed, as she sipped her wine and the family went about their lives. Ignorant of the outsider who observed them. It was quite unlike the apartment she came home to each day in Florence. She would arrive warm from the long walk up the stairs, then slowly grow chilled to match the unforgiving November air that had arrived suddenly with the rain. Her apartment was only a comfort in that there was nowhere else to go. This had been home for the past three months and it would continue to be until she left. If Anna listened closely to the tip of her cigarette, she could hear it crackling, burning its way through tobacco, eager to make her move on to the next one. Anna took one last drag. The shadows had gone four minutes ago and it didn’t look like they were coming back, not tonight. The clock was ticking down on her time here, and there were days when she wished it would tick faster. Time moved oddly in this city. Across uneven roofs tiled copper red, Anna listened to the sound of a bell echoing. Then she turned her back on her view of Florence and went inside.

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FUA ACADEMIC RESEARCH

MAKING THE CITIES VISIBLE: PREMISES FOR AN INTERDISCIPLINARY APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF ITALO CALVINO’S “INVISIBLE CITIES” SIMONETTA FERRINI Faculty member Simonetta Ferrini is FUA's first candidate of the institution's research initiative. Ferrini focuses on the interdisciplinary interpretation of Italo Calvino's famed novel Invisible Cities, and the research project will be presented as an academic publication in 2015. The volume will contain a collective review of the novel and the parallel production of a photography series that serves as a complementary visual commentary of the review, which as a whole can be utilized as a "manual" by both Calvino students and appreciators alike.

Artwork by FUA Digital Photography students

«In short, what I tend toward, the only thing I would like to be able to teach is a way of looking, in other words a way of being in the world. In the end literature cannot teach anything else.»1

CALVINO AS A VISUAL AUTHOR In Italo Calvino’s works the art of seeing, in its various shades of awareness — watching, observing, staring — is revealed as the most precious tool in the author’s everlasting attempt to describe and know the world. For Calvino, the experience of literary creation can never be separated from an original visual source from which it seems to directly stem, an ideal Platonic blueprint that comes to life in the immanent concreteness of the written word. “In devising a story [...] the first thing that comes to my mind is an image that for some reason strikes me as charged with meaning...”2 he writes in Six Memos For The Next Millennium. The act of reading as well is always followed by the formation of images into the reader’s mind, «...according to the greater or lesser effectiveness of the text, we are brought to witness the scene as if it were taking place before our eyes...»3. From the highly, visually charged grotesque symbolism of The Cloven Viscount and The Non-Existent Knight to the obsessive attention to details found in characters such as Marcovaldo and Palomar, from the intricate imaginary explorations of Marco Polo in Invisible Cities to the powerful metaphors hidden in the Tarot cards of The Castle of Crossed Destinies, Calvino’s writing contains an explicit invitation to his readers to look at and into things, to establish a connection with the kaleidoscopic complexity of reality and become aware of its multiple twists. After several years spent teaching Invisible Cities to undergraduate students in my Contemporary Italian Literature course at Florence University of the Arts, I have come to the realization that an interdisciplinary approach to the book could be deeply beneficial for the students and help them familiarize with the working method of the writer, his vision and beliefs. My proposal for an interdisciplinary approach to Invisible Cities is intended as a collaboration between two classes, a Literature and a Digital Photography one, in which students will interact for a semester working, respectively, on the literary analysis and critical evaluation of the work, and on the possible rendering of the book through images. The final objective will be the production of a collective review of the book and the parallel production of a series of photographs that will serve as a complementary commentary for the review. In the following paragraphs I will explain the premises that have inspired my work and research and my choice of photography as the medium that would be most suitable for a project involving both students of the literature and visual arts departments. The complete project, meant as a helpful teaching tool for other instructors who use Invisible Cities in their classes, will be presented in a publication that will be released in 2015 by Florence University of the Arts.

INVISIBLE CITIES AS A MAP OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE In Invisible Cities, one of the most visual works ever written by Calvino, published in 1972, fifty-five imaginary cities (each one identified by a female name) unfold in front of the reader’s eyes, through the visionary, fragmented narration of Venetian explorer Marco Polo to the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan. Subdivided into eleven thematic categories, the cities are ordered according to a rigorous mathematical progression and inserted into a larger narrative frame that contains the dialogues between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. A complex wonderland, filled with surrealistic atmospheres, (improbable) futuristic buildings, mysterious, elusive characters and any sort of unsual objects; a labyrinth which readers are invited to enter and lose themselves in, in order to undertake their interior journey through the most hidden recesses of the human experience, individual

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Cities & desire 4 Fedora

and collective. A fabulous blend of philosophical introspection and pure imagination in which the ordinary and extra-ordinary levels of reality continuously alternate. The cities explore a wide range of themes, interwined with each other like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle: the subtle mental mechanisms that underlie and regulate perception, the silent, invisible presence of death in our lives, the human wish to establish a connection with the Unknown, the human striving for perfection, the emergence of new forms of communication, the overwhelming presence of signs (images) and the loss of cultural identity in a fast-growing globalized world. The two characters Kublai Khan and Marco Polo become ideal guides through the intricate labyrinth of the cities, mirroring the two conflicting sides of the author himself: eager, the first one, to know and possess the totality of his empire (reality) and to believe in its crystalline and immutable perfection, provocative, the latter, in assessing all the cracks and imperfections of Kublai’s crumbling empire. I believe that the elaborate narrative structure, the wide range of themes explored, and its highly visionary nature make of Invisible Cities the most eligible among Calvino’s works to be used in this project, holding in itself an immense potential in fuelling the students’ capacity of critical analysis, inner reflection and artistic creativity.

CALVINO’S INTERDISCIPLINARITY As seen above, the necessity of blending a traditional literary approach to Calvino’s works — involving textual and content analysis and the decoding of symbols and metaphors — to one involving the exploration of other communicative codes seems to be suggested by the author himself. As explained by Marco Belpoliti in L’occhio di Calvino: «Il compito che Calvino assegnava alla letteratura è proprio quello di “stare in mezzo ai linguaggi diversi” allo scopo di tenere viva la comunicazione tra essi.»4 His interests spanned a wide range of disciplines, including both scientific ones — such as mathematics, physics, cybernetics — and artistic ones, such as painting, drawing and photography; he was convinced that in the post-modern era human values should be reassessed in the face of the new scientific discoveries, and that the humanistic perspective should find a way to engage in dialogue with other fields of knowledge: In an effort to come to terms with the empasse caused by old literary ideals being no longer viable in the political and social climate at this ‘trapasso d’epoca’, while simultaneously being unwilling to accept the new perspectives offered by the new avant-gardes, Calvino declared the need for an interdisciplinary dialogue.5 In a world that was rapidly changing in many unpredictable ways, Calvino understood the central role literature could have as a tool to explore and question the challenges posed by the post-modern lifestyle; in his works he was able to predict the dangers of globalization, the threats posed by consumerism and advertising controlling social behaviours, and extensively commented on the pervasive presence of image-oriented forms of communication in contemporary society. In “La follia del mirino” (“The viewfinder frenzy”), an article published in 1955 on the magazine “Il Contemporaneo”6, Calvino ironically discusses the new obsessive trend of taking photographs which was spreading among the Italian population. Why do so many people seem to be mesmerized by photography? Is it a desperate attempt to stop for a few seconds the incessant flow of time? Is it the desire to grasp the essence of someone or something? Or is it the dream of cataloguing every single instant of life? The underlying question being: can photography (or other disciplines) compete with literature in achieving those seemingly impossible tasks?

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Continuous cities 1 Leonia

Cities & Memory 5 Maurilia

Cities & the dead 5 Laudomia

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CALVINO’S INTEREST IN PHOTOGRAPHY As noted by Belpoliti, Calvino is one of the most “visual” authors of Italian literature, a true “cacciatore di immagini” (hunter of images)7: exactly like the protagonist of his short story The adventure of a photographer (included in the collection Difficult Loves), Antonino Paraggi, who becomes obsessed with the idea of capturing the essence of existence through his camera lenses: «... by mental attitude, he was a philosopher, and he devoted all his thoroughness to grasping the significance of even the events most remote from his own experience.»8 In Antonino’s endless efforts of investigation into the invisible recesseses of the human soul we recognize Calvino’s own endless attempts to give order and meaning to what is apparently chaotic, to map the labyrinth of reality, to find the Ur-story/image that might contain all the other possible stories/images. Photography, thus, like writing, has a fundamental objective: to capture the fleeting moment, grasp the inneffable and reveal it through images. Calvino’s fascination with the photographic medium stemmed greatly from his admiration towards one of the most influential books ever written about photography: Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida9. In 1980, shocked by Barthes’ sudden death, Calvino wrote an article in his memory in which he discusses the most enlightening points of the book that, he says, he felt impelled to reread. The writer seems to find in Barthes’ own response to photography the answer he had been searching for throughout his work: «Roland Barthes cultivated the science of the uniqueness of every object, in a way that combined a scientist’s ability to produce general rules with a poet’s attention for what is singular and unique.»10 In that sense photography differs greatly from literature, being always related to a specific time and place in the past, thus establishing a close connection between the contingency of a specific moment in which the photo (a particular person, object, landscape) was taken to the infinite possibilities for it to be brought back to life through the gaze of a potential onlooker.

JERRY UELSMANN’S WORK AS A SOURCE TO INTERPRET “INVISIBLE CITIES” The photography students involved in this project will be invited to refer to the work of American photographer Jerry Uelsmann11 — whose work most closely echoes the surrealistic atmosphere that pervades Invisibile Cities and Calvino’s own visionary imagination — as their source of inspiration for the production of their own images. Born in Detroit in 1934, Uelsmann was a forerunner of photomontage since the Sixties; he created images by assembling multiple negatives in up to seven different enlargers to expose a single print, decades before photoshop would even be a notion. His vision can be summarized in the following statements: «If I have an agenda, it’s to amaze myself» and «The camera is essentially a license to explore»12. Through his black and white creations Uelsmann tries to explore and give shape to the intangible, to establish a connection between spirit and matter, ordinary and extra-ordinary, conscious and unconscious. In the introductory essay to Uelsmann Untitled, Carol McCusker writes: His photographs are maps of the human heart ... they are multi- and nondirectional all at once. Through these organic, often enigmatic photographs, the author engages viewers in a conversation about life, the universe, and the universal.13 As discussed above, this is exactly the ideal purpose that Calvino himself envisioned for his own work and for literature as a whole, and that he effectively tried to achieve in Invisible Cities. In conclusion, Calvino’s own belief in an interdisciplinary exchange between literature and other disciplines, his numerous statements about the importance of images in the process of literary creation, his own deep interest in the ontological aspects of photography and, last but not least, the deeply visionary nature of Invisible Cities are the premises that have inspired me in devising this project. I believe that a combined literary-visual approach to Calvino’s masterpiece will immensely benefit the students, inviting them to not only reflect on the boundless creative inputs contained in the text, but in a wider sense to become aware of the deep interdependence existing among the different forms of artistic creation.

ENDNOTES 1.

Wood M. (a cura di), Italo Calvino: Letters 1941-1985, Princeton University Press, 2013, Letter written to his French editor, François Wahl, dated Turin,1 December 1960, p. 210. 2. Calvino Italo, Six Memos for the Next Millenium, Vintage Books, 1993, “Visibility”, pp. 88-89. Translation from the original Lezioni Americane: Sei proposte per il prossimo millennio, published by Garzanti, Milan, 1988. 3. Ibidem, p. 83. 4. Belpoliti Marco, L’occhio di Calvino, Piccola Biblioteca Einaudi [1996], Nuova edizione ampliata, 2006, Prefazione, p.XIII. «The task that Calvino assigned to literature was that of “being the go-between between different languages” in order to keep communication alive among them.» (my translation) 5. Pilz Kerstin, Mapping complexity - Literature and Science in the Works of Italo Calvino, Troubador Publishing, University of Leicester, UK, 2005, p. 14. 6. The article appeared in the issue of 30 April, 1955. 7. Belpoliti Marco, L’occhio di Calvino, Prefazione, p. XIV. 8. Calvino Italo, Difficult Loves, Vintage Classics, London, 1999, pp. 40-41. Translation from the original Gli amori difficili, Einaudi, Turin, 1970. 9. Barthes Roland, Camera Lucida - Reflections on Photography, Vintage Books, 1993. Originally published in French as La Chambre Claire by Editions de Seuil, 1980. 10. Calvino Italo, “In Memory of Roland Barthes”, contained in Collection of Sand, Mariner Books, 2014, p. 75. Originally published on La Repubblica, 9 April 1980 and later republished in Collezione di Sabbia, Garzanti, Milan, 1984. 11. I am indebted to Prof. David Weiss, Chair of the Photography Department at DIVA (The School of Digital Imaging and Visual Arts), who is collaborating with me at this project, for suggesting the work of Jerry Uelsmann as an inspirational model for the students. 12. Further information about the biography and work of Jerry Uelsmann can be found on his official website: www.uelsmann.net 13. McCusker Carol, “Primal Scene” in Uelsmann Untitled - A Retrospective, University Press of Florida, 2014, p. 9.

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GENIUS LOCI

URANUS

Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA


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UP CLOSE WITH EUROPEAN BOXING CHAMPION

LEONARD BUNDU MATTHEW SHEGOG Photographs by DAVID WEISS

I honestly can’t remember if I was more intimidated or excited at the time when I found out that I was going to meet and chat with Italian professional boxer Leonard Bundu. Even though I only knew of him through name alone and photographer David Weiss’ work, I still wasn’t sure of what to expect. FALL-WINTER 2014/15

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t the end of it all, it was an amazing experience. On the surface you have a man who is paid to fight for a living, but you then learn that there is much, much more to him. For those who aren’t as lucky as I have been to meet the man behind the gloves in person, David Weiss’s photographic work provide a raw and uncut behind the scenes look at the current European Welterweight Champion and Commonwealth Champ. He recently boxed against Keith Thurman (USA) in Las Vegas in December 2014 for the WBA title, which he unfortunately lost to Thurman. For our readers who don't know you, can you tell us a little about who you are and where you are from? My name is Leonard Bundu, and I'm from Sierra Leone. My dad is from Sierra Leone and my mom is Italian. At the age of 16 I was living in Sierra Leone and I came over to Italy to continue my studies [he pauses, then laughs], which I didn't end up completing. Anyway, I thought that it would be a good idea to go to a gym as a way to meet people. So I lived just around the corner over from the gym here. I was a bit of a wild child in Sierra Leone and I had always wanted to do some sort of contact-heavy sport. At the age of 16 I thought, “This is a nice age, I’ll start boxing, make some new friends, and do what I like.” Who did you admire in boxing while coming up? Everyone looks up to Muhammad Ali. When I around 15-16 years old, there was Mike Tyson. And I should mention that when I started boxing I admired guys like Roy Jones Jr., and he was still boxing at the age 45. He was one of the best, who knows if he should've quit earlier, but in any case he was really good and I loved the way he fought. What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you are today? Many. I was the wild child from Sierra Leone. Florence is a nice city but there were some racial issues, though not excessively so. Being a wild child also meant not always being “in place.” What does an average day look like when you are preparing for a fight? I get up in the morning, not too early like you see in the movies at 6am [laughs]. I'm a boxer, full-time. In Italy, boxing isn’t a major sport so it’s hard to make a living. I’m one


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of the few boxers in Italy able to do so. I wake up around between 8 to 9am and always have breakfast. Always, because in boxing you have to make weight. I’m already short for my weight category so I tend to eat more. But then I love eating, so I'm often overweight [laughs] and have to be very active. My nutritionist and dietician monitor me; I have to constantly watch my weight, jog or run, and train at the gym with my fitness coach. I’ll rest a bit, then head back to train for a few hours in the evening. On certain days like today, I return early to train because there may be someone from out of town to spar. What drives you, what's your motivating force? I have always loved the sport from the beginning. As time passes, I wonder if I really wanted this career. Before I turned pro, I was boxing with the Italian national team and making some money but I wasn’t necessarily thinking about the future or starting a family. After I turned pro, I met my wife and had kids. I’ve been boxing my entire life and now I have a family, so ultimately my family is the motivating force. When I think about my family, I think about providing for them. After all of the sacrifices that I’ve made and the hard work I’ve dedicated, [pauses] I sometimes think that all of the time spent was both wasted and not wasted, if that makes any sense. Perhaps there’s the fact that all of your hard work lead to this? Yeah, so in the end I decided that this is what I want to do. I have to reach the top, the highest level that I can obtain, and try to make a living through my job. I’m always thinking about my family. This is basically everything I know. When I was a kid, I used to say that I wanted to be a pilot, or this, or that… We all do that, say 20-30 different things, and then we become something else. True. But sometimes when I’m in the ring I ask myself, “What am I doing here?” Sometimes I think, “I could’ve been…” Flying on a plane towards an international match, for example? Yeah, and what did the opponent ever do to me? [Laughs]. I do what I have to do and in some way I’m always attracted to the sport so I keep going.

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You've gotten a lot of victories over the years, which one stands out as the most defining? The most important title I’ve won is the European title. There are four different belts representing weight categories in the world championships and four different individuals win them. But in the European championship, it’s a single title, one winner. I knew this going into the fight, and it got me really motivated. Once I won, I could finally say that my name would enter history. I’d already won other belts but the European title was a big moment. On the other hand, when I started boxing as an amateur, I fought at my first Italian championship as a junior amateur. I’d say that this was the most touching moment of my career because I was able to tell myself, “I can do this. I have talent.” It’s less important as a category but I remember it with the greatest pleasure. Is there anyone that you are looking forward to fighting in the future? Oh yeah. I want to fight, actually everybody wants to fight, Mayweather! Well that was an easy choice. Yeah, it was, but I’m also being realistic. The guy I fought in Las Vegas, Keith Thurman, is one of the most promising prospects out there and everyone’s avoiding him. Even Mayweather, so I hear through the grapevine. Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the world. He is [some fans come up to Leonard and ask for a photo] an athlete who hits hard. He knows how to box. When I heard that I had the chance to go up against Thurman in Vegas I accepted immediately. Plus, Vegas is the capital of boxing matches. You just can't say no to that. I couldn’t. I’d been there previously to watch Mayweather’s match. It was incredible, and being able to box in Vegas myself was a dream come true.

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EMILY MADIGAN

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PHOTOGRAPHING THE PERLI FAMILY

came to Italy wanting to photograph and experience my travel but what I didn’t expect was to meet and fall in love with a family. I chose to be a part of FUA’s Italian Family Club, meaning I would be paired with a local Italian family for a semester. I knew I wanted to do a photo project and hoped my surrogate family would be willing. And when I met the Perli family from Terranuova for the first time I was overwhelmed with their energy for life. I chose to connect with the family and lay some ground before shooting but I ended up jumping right into it because they were so comfortable with the camera. The

three girls, Emma, Marta, and Guilia are the center of this project and the parents Lara and Francesco are the important beams that hold everything together. My photos convey the sense of place and the atmosphere that the parents create for their children and also how the children react in that place. My time with them was split between house life and social life. The girls are portrayed as full of life, curious and eye-catching, and my message through this project is to exemplify a family with high values and a dynamic that represents a modern-day Italian family.

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Globalization &Italian Youth JOSLYN MATTHEWS & DEBORAH GALASSO Photograph by DAVID WEISS

The concept of globalization is a new one. It is a term born out of the increasing interconnectedness between the nations of this world, whether it be through technology or ease of travel and trade. The exchanging of cultures and ideas, in theory, seems like an experience that can make positive changes on the global community. However, some would argue it is something that has caused more harm than good.

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We usually embrace the new and a certain level of Globalization... our parents don’t.

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ll over the world, societies are characterized by a gap between an older generation, made up of parents and grandparents, and a younger generation. Italy is no exception. Italian society is composed of those who take a stand on the conservative side of politics and have the ruling voice, followed by another group who has been dubbed by mass media as the millennials (1725 years old). This difference is the norm and occurs when two generations are raised under completely different circumstances. The result is: a country divided on major issues. Religion, for example, is a topic of controversy in Italy. A large majority of the country’s population is Catholic with the shadow of the Vatican looming above them. Ilatia Bertusi is a student at Università degli Studi di Firenze (UNIFI) and she views this as a big issue. Her generation tends to be indifferent when it comes to practicing religion and the parents of students like her fall in the middle while grandparents insist on practicing. “The only way religion affects our lives is in politics, even though we are a secular state, the Vatican influences the government,” Bertusi said. From religion stems a number of different discussions in the Italian community. The debate surrounding rights for LGBT Italian citizens is an example of the generational divide and it is an issue that the media has only recently begun acknowledging. Because of the strong influence of the Church, progress for the LGBT community is often held back by organizations that have opposing beliefs. “Social issues are different,” Bertusi said. “We usually embrace the new and a certain level of globalization...our parents don’t.” There is little doubt that the technological revolution has influenced young Florentines. But there is concern that the outside influence of certain types of music and television programs corrupts the youth. Chiara Gambini studies fashion at UNIFI and prefers the practices of traditional Italy. Although she believes that the technology available to people today is important, Gambini is convinced that the people in her generation are “slaves to technology.” On the other hand, Julia Coppini, a biology student at Siena University, believes that the change in the world of communication has influenced the minds of the people and has brought improvement to Italian society. Having access to a variety of information leads to innovation in Italy, she said.

In response to the demands of the Italian job market, Italy has hopes to begin a process of educational innovation in line with reforms within universities. This began in 2001 and allows students to become involved with extracurricular activities, including projects and event management. DAMS and Progreas, for example, are programs related to art, music and the humanities and lead students to learn about different sectors. These degree courses also let students come into contact with experienced individuals in the workforce, helping them make connections early on and lessen the burden of finding a job after school. History has often seen a divide between young and old. And although it may seem to some that young Florentines are caught up in unimportant things, they too have aspirations for their future and the future of Italy. Gambini does not plan on leaving once she graduates. Instead, she wants to stay in Italy to change and positively influence her country. Bertusi hopes to find a teaching opportunity abroad when she finishes school and also wants to see many changes in her country starting with the behavior of politicians. “We have many problems starting with social issues [and] ending with transportation and work,” she said. It is her hope, along with that of other students, that Italy continues on the right path when it comes to making social and political reforms. “I would also like to see more investment in culture and schools,” Bertusi said. “Universities are offering very low programs right now because of the lack of money, but the educational system should be one of the priorities for the future of our nation.” Although this is a serious concern, Florence offers its citizens many opportunities to become involved. A quick look at the city’s website shows what programs are available. For example, the National Civil Service lets Italian citizens between the ages of 18 and 28 work up to one year as a volunteer in the non-profit sector. Opportunities include tutoring minors or working in museums, among many others. The Youth Portal, which is also set up on the Florence city website, uses technology to spread information about jobs, volunteering and other recreational activities for young people. Despite the obstacles and a need for improvement in certain areas, Florence is making strides toward modernization. As this generation ages, perhaps their vision of change and growth will be recognized in Italy.

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COMMUNITY

a portrait for life with jerry lee ingram ESTEFANIA PEREZ

Per Koldrup

Photographs by JERRY LEE INGRAM

“A Portrait for Life” is a fundraising collaboration coordinated by FUA faculty member and fashion photographer Jerry Lee Ingram. The aim of the project, as Jerry Lee Ingram explains, is to help raise funds to provide clean water to persons in countries that do not have it, by donating all of the charity drive’s auctiongenerated proceeds to an organization known as Water.org.

n addition to building safe community water wells and systems, Water.org provides funding and assistance in the form of hygiene and sanitation education. Since the project was conceived, Jerry Lee has  donated  much of  his  time and  energy to  produce the celebrity portrait image series with much enthusiasm, while contacting celebrity participants, organizing and completing the photo sessions both in the Italy and the US.  The portrait images are all to be eventually sold for benefit proceeds during a future silent auction event. Other talented volunteer photographers who have recently joined  the Portrait for Life's team are  FUA faculty staff members David Weiss and Gildardo Gallo, who plan to donate their time and efforts to produce portrait images  for the collaboration.  Nathan Reed, a  San Diego-based photographer and FUA alumni, has also aligned with Jerry Lee Ingram and is offering his dedication to the cause as well. 

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Nikki Reed

Jackson Rathbone

Leonard Bundu DJ Qualls

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What is the contribution of the celebrity participants in 'A Portrait for Life' and who are the celebrities? JLI: The celebrities who I have invited to participate in the project are asked to contribute their image and a small amount of time for a photo session to create a "Portrait for Life” portrait. So far I've photographed celebrity participants ranging from cinema and television personalities, sports figures, fashion designers, musicians, and other public figures. Nikki Reed, DJ Qualls, Paul McDonald, and Jackson Rathbone are some of the most recent participants to join in the support of 'A Portrait for Life'. I would like to express my gratitude for their contribution of time to the collaboration as well as UXE Studios in Los Angeles. I am also thankful for all of the other personalities that have so far dedicated a portrait to the project. What was the inspiration behind the decision of making the project about celebrity portraits and why Water.org? JLI: Water.org was chosen as our benefactor, as its cause is one that impacts all of us. Astonishing facts noted by Water.org on their website, such as “more than 2.5x more people lack water than live in the US” or “that every minute a child dies of a water related disease” were more than convincing to me, to help join in the efforts to aid in the search of long term solutions to this problem. A problem that affects each and every one of us on the planet in some way. The idea of doing the portraits came to me as an obvious direction for assembling the project.  The notoriety of celebrity personalities sensitive to this issue would bring the attention needed from the public to the project and give it flight.     What is watergate.org and how will “A Portrait for Life” help the organization? JLI: Water.org  was co-founded by Matt Damon and Gary White. Their thought is that the indigenous people within each community know better than anyone else how to solve their own prob-


COMMUNITY

Nick Verreos - David Paul

Carla Gozzi

Walter Nudo

lems. Before carrying out any water project, Water. org partners with other local organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Partnership organizations are carefully screened and chosen, and once approved for, Water.org provides financial support and assistance in the forms of hygiene, sanitation, and education, in addition to the construction of safe community systems and water wells. Through the Water Credit Initiative, a small loan program, communities are enabled to in part fund their own project, therefore claiming ownership and increasing the probability of long-term success. “A Portrait for Life” will be able to aid in Water.org efforts by donating all eventual proceeds raised by the auctioned portraits to the cause. How can people get involved and be part of the project? JLI: If others would like to contribute in some way to the supporting project “A Portrait For Life,” I recommend that they contact me through our

Emilio Cavallini

page http://aportraitforlife.tumblr.com for more information, or otherwise they can also visit the Water.org website. From you personal experience what is the best part of making “A Portrait for Life” become a reality? JLI: I feel that making this a reality is doing my very small part to help my Brothers and Sisters wherever they live, and in some way contributing to our global family with the means that are available to me. That's the best part for me. How can "A Portrait for Life" be seen from the Genuis Loci perspective? JLI: Florence, where the “Portrait For Life” was initiated, in my opinion, is a place where cultures mix, meet, and share. In the spirit of Genius Loci, a “Portrait for Life” reflects its origins in its essence mixing different societal realms, cultures and in the same way is an international collaboration of sharing.

Althea Harper

Paul McDonald

Enzo Miccio

Susan Nevelson

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GENIUS LOCI

VENUS

Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA


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Photographs by JERRY LEE INGRAM Giant Bubbles by artist FEDERICO CAMMILLI

ELVIS ELLE ELLE HYLOZOIC*A

HE WHO DOES NOT DREAM IN PLAYBACK

Elvis Elle Elle, is a model, singer and author of the single “Cinecittà,” which topped the Italian indie charts in 2014. In December 2014, his EP was released, which will be followed by a full album. Elvis is a little shy on the phone but has a pleasant voice marked by a strong Livorno accent. We had already met at the photo shoot with FUA professor Jerry Lee Ingram, a few months prior, and we were struck by his sincerity and humility. FALL-WINTER 2014/15

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People think it is okay to be “a particular character”, but not too much, just enough to stand out.

Let’s start with “Cinecittà,” the album cover. We already know you’re a model-singer, and the cover of your album is in fact taken from a photo shoot with Jerry Lee Ingram at the studio DIVA of FUA. How did this project start? EEE: At first it was a professional interest. Jerry contacted me via Facebook, thanks to a mutual friend. I was very impressed by his photos and asked him to cooperate. He was also interested, but for one reason or another we always had to postpone until we had the opportunity to take some photos together for one of Jerry’s personal projects. Initially, it was supposed to be a series of nude photos, with these big soap bubbles. I had never posed nude, and I was a bit embarrassed, but Jerry has very good taste and I knew I could trust him. The shoot has taken another turn, halfway between portrait and fashion. When I saw the photos I was very impressed. I am usually very self-critical, but this time I liked the photos very much: the attitude, style, colors; I immediately asked Jerry if I could use the images for my single and he agreed with enthusiasm. The shoot, as you said, is not nude but leaves little to the imagination. You are also covered with colors: you’re full of tattoos, and very unique ones. Do they have a special meaning? EEE: Yes, all of them do. For example, the Kinder [chocolate] egg is a childhood memory of my grandfather, who always bought me some; the shell is a symbol of ambiguity, because it has always seemed that everyone was more interested in my sex life than my mind. The symbol of Ghostbusters, a stop in front of a ghost, I got that one at twenty-five, when I thought I was already old,

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having to make a choice of life and put my head in place, giving up dreams like music. “Cinecittà” has topped the Italian indie music charts. Tell us about the video. EEE: I wrote it together with a middle school friend who has now graduated from the School of Cinematography. The video and the song are reflections on the meaning of success, the desire to achieve it, the pleasure of sharing its art and the frustration of not being understood, but also on the value of music and cinema, the “art in general.” This is a topic that seems to interest you much, even from a personal point of view. EEE: Yes, I suffer from the judgment of others. Also my life as model has been difficult. I’m afraid of not being able to express myself if I want to succeed. I’m afraid of not being accepted, as when I was a kid. I have ideas on many topics that could be considered contrary to common sense. People think it is okay to be “a particular character,” but not too much, just enough to stand out. Let’s go back a little, back to the boy you were. Where did you grow up? EEE: I grew up in Piombino, a city divided between tourism and industry. On one side the crisis, the cash integration. There was talk of layoffs, suicides; just outside Piombino on the other hand, on the tourist part of the coast, life instead seemed to be about wealth and fun. This bipolar situation has influenced my character, the way I see the world. I have always been melancholy, inclined towards solitude and reflection. I decided to enroll


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at the Art Institute in Pisa, not only because I liked the classes, but also for the bullying that I was the victim of and the difficulty to integrate myself. I wanted to leave. In Pisa, many of the students were more open, had fewer prejudices. I started to write, sing, compare myself with my mates. So it was in high school that you started with music. How did you take your first steps? And when did the work as a model arrive? EEE: Yes, at the age of 15, I founded a group with classmates. We played punk, Placebo, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins. Then I moved to Turin to study photography and I abandoned music. During my studies, I had worked hard on my physique. When I moved to Milan to introduce myself to agencies as a photographer, I was asked to start working as a model so I entered the Beatrice agency. With music, however, it was not a definitive stop. Between 2005 and 2008, I lived between Florence and Milan, and had abandoned music though in Turin I had approached electronic and dance music. In 2008 I decided to present a solo project at the summer festival of the song in Piombino. The song was titled “La Nana” and I was presenting as Juda. I won the festival and I started to be known at a local level. I worked hard to promote the single, to be broadcasted by regional radio, and to launch “Tredici Strani Personaggi.” The conceptual album featured 13 different parts of me and my character, including “La Nana.” Unfortunately, the project was not successful and I took up the life of the model, dividing myself between Milan and London. I had not given up the music though. I continued to write, to brainstorm material. From Juda’s “Tredici Strani Personaggi,” to Elvis Elle Elle’s “Cinecittà”.

How was this new name created and, if we may ask, this new identity? EEE: It was the nickname I used on Facebook. It combines the name of my idol with the initials of my second name. I abandoned the identity of Juda because it was too personal and not commercial and adopted this new one, with which I was already known. It’s an easier character easier to accept, less gloomy, more politically correct. The lyrics and the sound of “Cinecittà” are more simple and enjoyable than “Tredici Strani Personaggi.” I learned, due to my work experience, to present myself in a more pleasant way, and to soften the harsher sides of my character. Back to “Cinecittà.” Let’s talk about the what’s been happening with your music. EEE: This past Christmas an EP with five songs was released, each accompanied by a video: it has become essential to be always present on YouTube with the pace that world of music has taken now. I will complete the album, where there will also be a couple of songs from “Tredici Strani Personaggi,” including “Nana,” which I am still very fond of. If we have enough commercial success, as well as on iTunes, the album will also be released on CD.

About the author Hylozoic*A is a young stylist/designer studio. The team works develops, plans, and produces photo shoots and costumes for video and theater. Based in Florence, Hylozoic*A travels often for projects but is deeply tied to the Florentine territory thanks to its network of collaborating locations, artists, and professionals. The group hopes to increase the diversity of its future projects and seeks to work with brands, young stylists, and artisans in the local landscape, because “Florence is the city that has given us the opportunity to meet and give life to this project.”

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BATNA LAUREN FROMIN Photographs by OLGA MAKAROVA

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Individuality. Geometry. Art. Expression. Performance. Few words can accurately sum up what exactly BATNA is. A collective, born in Turin in 2011, this team of designers and artists goes beyond creating ready-to-wear and couture pieces - they extend their abilities into the arena of performance art to accompany their garments bridging the gap between the catwalk and conceptual art. Mixing gothic with futuristic and underground with tribal, BATNA seamlessly merges opposing aesthetics to create artistic constructions. Here you will find photos showcasing BATNA’s two latest collections. The New Middle Ages features black and white designs recalling the obscurity of the times by blending bold, solid shapes and metropolitan, humanistic patterns to present geometry as a new religion. The studio’s newest collection, BATNAK portrays the collaboration between BATNA and Turin based street artist AK. BATNAK unites the exchange of ideas between two diverse forms of expression from the streets to the body and represents the mutual knowledge and techniques within the designs. www.batna.it

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LAUREN FROMIN

pitti’s modaprima

Photographs by the author

An inside look at one of fashion’s most important expos for ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.

FASHION COMES FIRST AT MODAPRIMA 77

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e are all too familiar with each new season’s catwalks, featuring the latest designs from some of fashion’s largest labels, showcasing trends that will be seen on the streets the following season. But off the runway is where the real business begins. With Italy’s reputation as one of the world leaders in fashion, it is no surprise that thousands of brands flock to Florence each season to offer their collections to buyers looking to stock clothing store shelves. Last summer’s expo saw 1,700 buyers descend up Stazione Leopolda - more than 800 coming from 50 different countries - to preview 150 collections of some of the most popular fashion labels from Italy and beyond. These collections featured both clothing and accessories for women and men. With the success of the previous season’s expo, ModaPrima 77 once again took over the unique location debuting the fall/winter 2015-2016 collections. ModaPrima is noted as one of the international market’s most important fairs for medium and large fashion retailers.

FLORENCE’S MARK ON FASHION AND BEYOND

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odaPrima is an extension of the renowned Italian organization Pitti Immagine. Does the name Pitti ring a bell? Pitti, as in Pitti Palace, was where some of the first fashion runway shows took place in Italy. Located in the Sala Bianca, these 1950s shows marked the beginning of the internationally acclaimed concept “Made in Italy.” Leveraging the roots of Italy’s emergence into the global fashion scene, the organization acquired the name Pitti Immagine in 1988. It “focuses on international fairs and promotional events in all areas of fashion.” Today Pitti Immagine includes food, wine, home, and fragrances among its fashion expos. These seasonal events drive international buyers, sellers, and even tourists to the city of Florence to explore and discover innovative, high-quality products showcasing their social and cultural relevance. Florence lends its history as a focal point for cultural importance with roots in art, gastronomy, fashion, craftsmanship, and beyond. With organizations such as Pitti Immagine putting on expos like ModaPrima, Florence is sure to remain a leader for industries that shape the cultures of generations to come. www.pittimmagine.com

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FA S H I O N & S T Y L E

VIAJIYU: MORE THAN SHOES

JACQUELINE BELKER Photograph by the author

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hether you are a big shopper or a college senior about to graduate like me, who risked spending all her money studying abroad, you probably found yourself at least once walking the street Via de’ Tornabuoni past stores such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany and Co., Emilio Pucci, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, and Hermes to name a few. Personally, I would look at the beautiful window displays and dream of someday strolling the streets in a nice pair of Ferragamo shoes. Then one day on my way back home, while weaving from small street to street, I stumbled upon the most eye-catching store. VIAJIYU is a shoe store on Borgo SS Apostoli with big window decals that read, “#NoHighHeels, #MadeInItaly, #MadeToOrder. This immediately caught my attention. Thoughts instantly flooded my head I’m tall, my boyfriend’s my height, I’m an athlete, I never make it to the end of a night in heels and love flats. Considering the big name designer stores surrounding VIAJIYU, I thought I couldn’t afford it. So I never went in. However, after that day I walked by the store countless times and fell in love every time. One day I checked the store website, and that’s when I fell in love with the movement VIAJIYU. I knew I had to go back to the store – actually go in, that is – and buy a pair of Florentine leather flats. So, that’s exactly what I did. “Blaze a trail in shoes designed by you.” This is the catchy phrase coined by Nicole Still, one of Florence’s young innovative minds. Born in Loveland, Ohio, Still is a high heel gal and a world traveler who often visited Japan for work. During one such trip to Japan, she made the mistake of wearing heels. This error, coupled with the unpredictability of Google Maps (which left her a little lost), caused her feet much pain. “It’s impossible to take the road less traveled in a pair of high heels…Now, I don’t travel anywhere without flats on my feet and high heels in my bag,” says Still in her bio on the VIAJIYU website. The rest is pretty much history. Still realized at that moment that stylish, modern women need a pair of flats to see the world. “So this is the story behind the creation of a luxury, Italian flats brand, where East meets West, old meets new and trailblazing women can design something one of a kind.” Via is the Italian word for ‘road’ and Jiyu is the Japanese word for “freedom.” Together, the two words not only make a brand they make a movement for women, “The Freedom Road”. Nicole Still is an empowering woman. Not only is she the founder of VIAJIYU, but she is also the co-founder of The Balmain Boat Company and founder of Drink Digital. This gal has got it going on. An inspiration to all women around the world, Still brought her idea

to Florence and used the global concept Italians pride themselves on, “Made in Italy.” It’s genius women like Nicole Still who make me want to be something more than I am right now. I want to make a difference, build a better global perspective for people, empower other women and wear a pair of fabulous shoes while doing so. VIAJIYU is for the women who “are doers and creators and most of all travelers. The woman who travels for work and play, who conceives businesses, as well as, children. Who’s sometimes a global nomad after a broken heart or between jobs or just because she can.” Is this not exactly the woman we all aspire to be? In today’s society a lot of people see confidence and self-love as something to frown upon. We gossip with our girlfriends and call her narcissistic. That is not what being a woman of modern society should be. It’s about knowing your own worth. It’s not about if someone falls in love with you at first sight, if you can afford to buy the big name clothing brands, or if you become the next Top Model; it’s all about your self worth. Your worth is very high. Empowerment comes from the inside. It’s how you view the world from whatever stage of life you currently find yourself in. It’s about your ability to be great and do great things. Once you do that you will know your strength and then it’s your chance to share it with the rest of the world. Nicole Still recognized this problem of wearing heels to feel confident, look great and be great and she realized you can do just that through being a trailblazer, wearing awesome flats. If you like how you look today, then say it. If people ask how you are doing, tell them you are doing great - brag about yourself! If anyone sees you as something less tell them to go talk to Nicole Still at VIAJIYU and simply tell them how to be an empowering women with a awesome pair of flats. VIAJIYU is a store after my own heart. It is a creative place that allows you, the customer, the opportunity to go in and pick the style of flat that is made for you, whether that’s the Torino flat with ankle strap, the pointed toe Como, or the Verona penny loafer. There is a shoe for every personality. If you don’t immediately walk into the store and find the perfect shoe in your size and favorite color, sit down with one of the incredible girls working there and start the design process. This shoe is yours; make it reflect your personality and be everything you want and more. A local shoe store with an innovative mission, much like Italian historic figure and top mastermind, Galileo, VIAJIYU is one-of-a-kind for all of us oneof-a-kind women. viajiyu.com

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LA SERRA MK TEXTILE ATELIER

QUINCY KISSACK Photos courtesy of MARGHERITA PANDOLFINI

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own Via San Gallo, just beyond the Galleria dell’Accademia, sits a brown stone building concealing a gemstone. The Palazzo Pandolfini, a rather unassuming structure in itself, offers few clues about what is inside except for occasional glimpses into a greenery-filled courtyard garden through the barred windows. This plain exterior blends seamlessly into the surrounding architecture, hiding the gem inside: La Serra MK Textile Atelier. If you are one of the lucky few to go beyond the façade, you will find a sunshine-soaked greenhouse. Once in disrepair, designers Margherita Pandolfini and her business partner Karl Jorns have fixed up the place to serve as a fresh and exciting textile studio. The two joined forces because of their mutual passion for color, and that is evident in their work. The courtyard filled with shades of emerald is not the only shade to be seen. Inside the glass structure, paints spill across the tables. Papers splattered with multicolored ideas and meticulously random patterns as well as a variety of inspirations are tacked along the walls, while works-in-progress cover the countertops. These products are clearly inspired by their surroundings in the greenhouse itself as well as Florence and Tuscany. The artists use a mix of screen, hand, and block printing to create their masterpieces, which range from “abstract geometrical” to “organic and natural” as Pandolfini stated in a recent interview for Meet the Designer. Examples of their work include a print with bold layers of red, blue, and

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yellow rectangles to pastel prints of dragonflies and dandelion seeds. Prints such as these adorn household items such as tea towels, aprons, table runners, and tote bags. “They sell very well as they are all useful products and the designs are colorful and fun,” notes Pandolfini in her interview. They’re durable too - their website notes that they only use non-toxic pigments and the highest quality fabric. This is clear through their Instagram, @mktextileatelier. Pandolfini posts close-up pictures of their colorful work on countless fabrics, including leather and suede, and even the first step in the creation process: simple paper. Pandolfini described their process in the Meet the Designer interview, noting that they had to begin the pattern on paper and in black and white so it could be transcribed to the screens. They then manipulate some patterns with Photoshop and leave others hand drawn, then expose them to the screens with a UV light. After that they prepare the fabrics, cut them out, and ready the colors. That is when the magic happens: they begin printing. From there it is a game of luck, with plenty of mistakes made along the way, and then the product is constructed. If paints and fabrics are stars, Pandolfini and Jorns are the ones that fathom them into constellations. Unafraid to make colorful mistakes, the two are bold pioneers in the design world.


FA S H I O N & S T Y L E

GIULIA MATERIA: WRITE IT ALL DOWN

BRITTANY HERNANDEZ Photograph by DAVID WEISS

I

was in a terrible predicament, running low on pages in my journal, in search of the perfect journal to resume the tales of my time abroad. However, much like any devout diary author, I could not just waltz into any of the multitude of paper stores throughout Florence to buy a journal. My journals must inspire me to some extent and must be unique. I had been keeping an eye out for the journal that was calling me to put pen to paper. I found the winning journal at Giulia Materia. Well, actually, I stumbled upon it by complete accident- much like most of my favorite purchases here in Florence. What drew me into this little shop on Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti was the vibrant, psychedelic colors that spill out and pull the eye’s attention like a magnet. I walked in and was ecstatic to have found a hardback, lined journal that came in a variety of colors, patterns and sizes. Lucky for me, I was able to pick the cover I wanted and watched as it was www.giuliamateria.com bound right on the spot for me. I walked away a very happy journalist, if you will, that day. Being the curious individual that I am - and after realizing that I have a few individuals in my life who would appreciate these journals/sketchbooks - I went back to inquire about the mastermind behind the journals. I was greeted kindly by Enzo, one of the shop owners, who gave me the inside scoop on how these journals came to be. As it turns out, Enzo’s girlfriend Giulia was studying product design in Germany when she learned how to bind books. She had the idea of using wallpaper as a book cover and

ALESSANDRO DARI JEWELS

was intrigued by German wallpaper from the 70s; this became her first line of journals when she returned to Florence. The brand, Giulia Materia, began five years ago, but the shop has been around for a mere two years. Once Enzo and Giulia met and he became involved in the brand, he took over the production of journals to allow Giulia more time to focus on designing. Not only does she sketch doodle-like cartoons that are transferred onto journal covers, but she also designs clothing items. Her inspiration? Children’s clothes, the simple lines and the ease that comes in wearing it. She began the clothing for herself, until she saw that people were taking an interest in her clothes. They are now partnered with a local tailor to produce the garments and bags that they sell. As you would expect from this youthful brand, the clothes are playful with their bright, bold, and patterned motif translating into the fabrics they use. The most exciting part for this young couple and their young brand is that they have the time to discover and to be inspired by the world around them. As for now, they will continue preparing their line of journals for their collaboration with Armani. This not only marks their step into the spotlight, as their journals are released as gifts to journalists, but it also marks their first time producing journals with fabric covers. I see this brand growing and thriving; I feel lucky to have my very own journal to fill with memories and desire that their journals hold many memories to come.

BLAINE WEISS Photograph by the author

I

got lost today. As I traveled down an unexplored street, Via S. Niccolò, I stopped for a quick break at a curious door. Little did I know that this door was a passageway into another world. Using my curiosity as an excuse for a longer break, I stepped inside Bottega Orafa, the home of Alessandro Dari’s jewelry masterpieces. The trance of classical music wove through my ears as my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room. Collections of beautifully crafted rings aligned the sides of the shop and glistened in their glass display light. These rings are so much more than a band of gold. They are original, handcrafted works of art. I am metamorphosed by the perfection and detail of each individual piece. My favorite collection on display is the “Keeper of the Soul.” The collection is composed of castle rings, they are extravagant and royal, but what I like best about the collection is that the exterior extravagant castle is a simple representation of the body. The castle is a protective shell of the internal courtyard — as body is to soul. Another favorite piece of mine would be the “Twin Roses.” This piece is a representation of the Twin Towers. I love this ring because the designer made something tragic look effortlessly beautiful. Alessandro Dari is a Florentine master goldsmith and sculptor. Every piece of his jewelry is a piece of his life. He sits quietly and focused in the corner of his workshop; the site is humbling. His workshop is dark and clustered; chaos is inevitable. Everything, even the plastic water bottle atop the windowsill, is a treasure. Butterflies stir inside of me because I’m numb with emotions. The museum-workshop is a holy, passionate, witch-like dream. A world within a world, the workshop is Dari’s, but welcomed to all. Photographs of his family hang on the walls above him; they keep him sane as he works endless days crafting. I had the opportunity to talk with Leonardo, Dari’s twenty-two year old son, about his father’s work and inspiration. Dari was sixteen when he start-

ed working on his art. He grew up in Siena and told his son that his inspiration came from a golden snake he saw on the floor one afternoon. The smoothness and movement of his artwork has a correlation with his inspiration of a snake. He started crafting snakes which then transformed into his jewelry, “just a hobby,” Dari told his son, but a hobby that has since become his life. Dari moved to Florence after discovering his passion and opened up his museum-workshop in 1997 in the Nasi-Quaratesi palace, built during the Renaissance. What struck me most from my conversation with Leonardo is that Dari is self-taught and has created over nine hundred pieces since the 80’s subdivided into different collections. His work is based on his constant spiritual quest within personal experiences and is greatly inspired by gothic art, castles, music, alchemy, and sacred art. His works are on display at the Museo degli Argenti of the Palazzo Pitti and the Museum of the Cathedral of Fiesole. He was awarded Perseus prize for best artist of the city, and in 2006, he was the appointed artist chosen by the Vatican. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work. In the back of the museum-workshop there is a long table that has dozens of magazine and newspaper articles written about him accompanied by framed awards on the wall. It’s no doubt that his work is worthy of such reward, but it’s refreshing to know that he doesn’t work for the rewards, but for himself. “He believes that art is art. I am a musician and him a jeweler and we are both artists,” Leonardo told me. Alessandro Dari’s museum-workshop is a new and different world. I walked out of it, back into reality, with a refreshing energy, full of fervor and creativity. I would encourage all to visit his workshop because it’s a twist of genuineness. From being lost in direction to lost in imagination, that curious door on Via San Niccolò was worth running into. www.alessandrodari.com / info@alessandrodari.com

FALL-WINTER 2014/15

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GENIUS LOCI

JUPITER

Illustration by DANNY O’SHEA


FOOD

79.904

35

-1 +1 +5

BR eaking

FLORENTINE ARTISANAL TRADITIONS

2-8-18-7

BREAD

LAUREN FROMIN

IN FIRENZE

Photographs by CARLA WILLIAMS

Transitioning to a life in Florence has been a fascinating experience. Even after being here for nearly a year and a half, I find myself learning and exploring more and more as time goes by. One of the most unique aspects about the city of Florence is its nature, characteristically speaking. Though some would consider Florence small, everything you could need or want is all within walking distance.

P

articularly, specialty shops. I come from a city that offered gigantic stores of warehouse proportions, providing more than my heart could ever desire, all under the same roof. If I needed school supplies, I could find them three aisles down from the bathroom products, or four aisles across from the sporting goods. If I needed tires for my car, I could find them parallel to the vegetable section...on the other side of the building. Thanks to industrialized operations, all my food needs could be found within aisles of each other - all with an expiration date and funny-sounding package. So imagine my surprise, once I arrived in Florence, to find that I could go specifically to a bakery (panificio or forno) just to buy bread. After the initial shock of having to seek out individual stores for various needs, I started to realize this is a delightful difference to embrace as opposed to frustration over lack of convenience. Speciality, another word for specialty, is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “A pursuit, area of study, or skill to which someone has devoted much time and effort and in which they are expert.” Read that last sentence one more time. Once this concept ingrains itself in your mind, you will start to hope all your needs could be found in a specialty shop. The tradition of specializing has been carried on for centuries in Italy, remember the guilds? The ability to experience something as basic as bread that has been made in-house with seasonal, local ingredients in the year 2014 is foreign to me, yet truly a wonderful thing. Fortunately, Florence offers many specialty bakeries spread out within the historic center. Each is as good as the next and all for its own reasons. The following bakeries are some of the most well-known within the city, all offering traditionally baked, in-house goods. Remember, most of these bakeries are closed on Sunday, so be sure to get your bread needs fulfilled before then.

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FOOD

Cantinetta dei Verrazzano

Forno Sartoni

VIA DEI TAVOLINI, 18/R

VIA DEI CERCHI, 34/R

For those with expensive tastes, Castello di Verrazzano of Chianti offers a cantinetta with an attached forno. Essentially a cafe, off the main shopping street of Calzaiuoli, you can find some of Florence’s most traditional recipes and fresh baked bread for serving. The bakery that is on one side of the cafe was originally the Semellino bakery and became Cantinetta dei Verrazzano by the Cappellini family (owners of the Verrazzano winery) with intentions to maintain its tradition of local recipes and quality ingredients. An old baker’s oven stands 15 feet high and Piansa coffee, a famous blend, is also served along with biscuits, pastries, and other fresh baked goods. On the opposite side of the bakery, you can enjoy a higher-end sit down lunch in the marble and walnut-furnished cafe, which serves typical Tuscan cuisine and wine from Castello di Verrazzano that can also be purchased by the bottle. This location definitely provides a finer atmosphere coupled with traditional practices that would make for a wonderful place to impress visitors looking to experience quality offerings.

Yet another famous location, since 1933, Forno Sartoni is the perfect lunch spot with baked goods as your base. Need a slice or two of pizza? They bake it fresh each morning. Craving a panino? This forno offers its traditionally baked bread stuffed with local meats and cheeses. Don’t forget the sweet treat with pastries and cakes offered in various flavors. Everything is made in-house with local ingredients and this location is available for parties and events services. No doubt a popular spot among locals, there was hardly room to make it to the counter to decide what to get. I finally settled for a mini calzone. This bakery does a wonderful job with quick, friendly service and makes sure all customers receive what they need in a timely manner. The calzone was fluffy and tasty with just the right amount of sauce on top and the perfect portions of ham and cheese baked inside.

Pugi

Panificio Brunori

PIAZZA SAN MARCO, 9/B

BORGO PINTI, 16

With multiple locations in Florence, Pugi has been baking with tradition since 1925. Focusing on seasonal and quality products, this focacceria offers both sweet and savory options including classic and flatbread pizza, bread of almost every kind (ciabatta, grissini, pane toscano, and most famously, schiacciata), as well as a homemade cake selection. The atmosphere of this bakery is very energetic with locals pouring in from the piazza. At first sight, you may find yourself overwhelmed with so many fresh baked goods and the powerful scent of bread baking in the oven. However, my eyes immediately set upon the flat bread pizza stuffed with warm stracchino cheese and prosciutto cotto. Cut by the slice of your choosing, this thin layered, warm creation was one of the most delicious things I have tried in Florence. There was so much flavor in the crust of the slice, and though not thick, between the ham and cheese inside, I was left satisfied upon the last bite. I highly recommend Pugi for anyone in need of a light lunch and even breakfast options. Not to mention, the fresh baked cookies and pastries make for a wonderful gift for friends and family.

After more than a year flying by, and hearing from locals all about the unmarked panificio sitting on Borgo Pinti, I finally made my way to the masters of pizzette. Walking into the shop was sort of intimidating at first, because this is definitely a place that caters to locals. Not much if any English is spoken, providing the perfect opportunity to practice my Italian. Immediately to the left you will notice the glass display housing every sort of pizzette you could imagine. From margherita, to grilled peppers, pate, roasted potatoes and prosciutto with mozzarella - just to name a few - Panificio Brunori bakes some of the most flavorful snacks you can find in Florence, all made in-house. The pizzette are slightly crispy on the outer layers as you bite into them and as soon as the bite hits your tongue, the texture becomes soft and chewy, alternating between the perfect burst of olive oil and flavor of its topping. Almost like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, one is not enough and they only get better with each bite. Even better than the pizzette are the made-to-order panini, using the fresh, daily baked bread. Most days around lunchtime the bakery is packed with locals, lined up inside waiting to get one of these. Fresh cornetti (croissants) and pastries are also available. Be sure to stop by this amazing shop the next time you are hungry or are in need of fresh baked bread.

As you might notice from the descriptions of the bakeries listed, emphasis is placed on the care and quality of the products offered at these specialty shops. Only through the continued practice and importance placed on artisan baking and traditional recipes will residents and visitors to the city of Florence be able to experience what those in the past enjoyed. One thing is for sure, I am so thankful for the nature of such traditions and if I ever end up back in a city where I can find my baked goods within a warehouse, you sure can bet I will go the distance to seek out a bakery attempting to do what so many of the shops in Florence have mastered. I cannot thank the bread makers in Florence enough for devoting their time and traditions to offer some of the best pizza, pastries and sandwiches I have ever experienced. The importance placed on maintaining quality techniques has opened my world to desire more productions of this nature. I will never forget Florence for being the city that has given me this outlook and I could only hope others get to experience the city’s nature as well.

62 *

FALL-WINTER 2014/15


FOOD

ZENZERO: DELIVERING ORGANIC FOOD TO TUSCANY

MICHAEL MASCIADRELLI Photos courtesy of Zenzero

H

idden in the streets of Florence resides an authentic Italian catering business that only produces organic food. Since 2008, Zenzero has been selected to cater many different types of events, such as weddings and business lunches, helping them gradually become more well-known in the community. While much of the food in Italy is organic, Zenzero uses special care in both the way they craft and deliver their organic Italian food to the Tuscany region. Zenzero is organized as a cooperative, where multiple people lead the company. Co-founder, Leila, works diligently behind the scenes in this rising catering business. She spends much of her time in their media department, building stronger relationships with potential clients, updating their website and organizing the influx of the local, organic products needed in their kitchen. Despite frequently creating different types of recipes, Zenzero follows strict measures regarding what foods are used. “We are creative, but very strict when it comes to seasonal ingredients,” said Leila. “If you want a wedding in March you will have foods that match that season. If you want a wedding in December, the food served will be completely different.” Weddings, banquets, anniversaries and birthday parties make up most of the private events Zenzero caters. They also cater to the public, such as business lunches and special events. “Last year there was the world championship of cycling and we decided to make breakfast for the “real” cyclists; the ones who deal with the rain, the chaos of Florence, and use the bicycle to go to work. On the first morning of the world championships at 8 a.m. (before those competing were there), we went on the red bike path along the river and set up a table with breakfast, cakes and fruit juice, and we gave items away for free. Many people couldn’t understand it, but they were so happy.” Zenzero has become one with the community. They’ve voluntarily been catering to kindergartens in the region. Every weekday, Zenzero cooks approximately 200 lunches for the local kindergartens. The only month Zenzero is off from making the lunches is in August when the children are on summer break. Couscous with eggs, beans and seasonal vegetables is one of the meals they’ve sent to them, but they are constantly changing the menu to give the kids different foods to try. Leila feels it’s important for the children to eat healthy meals early on in their lives. “We prepare the meals in the morning and it has to arrive before noon to get to them in time for lunch. It’s really good no? It’s the first things they are eating. Many kids may not get the opportunity to eat these sorts of foods so it’s good for them to have them at the lunches. It has

a lot of variety. We can make stuff that was more different for them.” Zenzero’s newly opened Gastronomia provides an opportunity for visitors to come try their organic food. During the week, they are open for lunch between 12-3 p.m., which includes a set menu based on the season. Some of the dishes on the current menu include: rice served with seasonal vegetables, local cheese with honey and jams and fresh fruit of the season. They also now host an aperitivo on Wednesday nights from 6:30-9:30 p.m. where anyone can come taste their organic food and pair it with a glass of wine or other preferred beverage. “Pasta fresca” on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., includes Zenzero’s chefs crafting an assortment of pastas, including ravioli and tagliatelle. “These events are not set but are done at random. We did some aperitivo events during the World Cup in July so we could watch the games together. Even when the Italian team was out of the running, it gave us a chance to stay together and enjoy summer.” With Leila setting out a few of the main goals for the company, Zenzero’s future looks strong. “We are a dream in the drawer, as we would say in Italy. We want to give work to more people since worldwide jobs are tough. We also want to be the catering company for the first gay marriage in Italy. It’s something we believe in.” For Leila, there are three reasons she loves her job at Zenzero. “Everyday is different where I never get bored. It’s always a different place, different menu and different clients. It allows me to express myself on the Internet with social media and the website. And thirdly, this work gives me the freedom to decide to do events for free if we find it important, such as when we did the Christmas lunch for a female sector in Florence.” Why does Zenzero only distribute organic foods? Leila has the answer. “It’s for the environment and health reasons and also allows us to work with small communities and support the local farms of Tuscany. An example of the environment’s importance is the use of tap water at all times inside our kitchen. It’s simple, it’s basic, and it’s our mindset.” This mindset sets the tone for a successful future for the company. Leila hopes this company will last but doesn’t get too wrapped up in the future. “We think about the future but in a different, practical way, like the planned weddings that are ahead of us. “ Zenzero is all about local Florentines working with local produce in a local setting. It is a valuable part of Florence’s culture and has all the ingredients of a successful local business. zenzerocooperativa.it

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STEPHANIE SARATANI

finding yourself... ...THROUGH MUSIC

Gravity | John Mayer Spaceship | Kanye West Talking To The Moon | Bruno Mars Bohemian Rhapsody | The Queen Counting Stars | OneRepublic Space Oddity | David Bowie Man On The Moon | REM Sky Full Of Stars | Coldplay Here Comes The Sun | The Beatles I’m The Cosmos | Chris Bell Celeste | Laura Pausini Galileo | Indigo Girls

You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.

...THROUGH books

...THROUGH

MOVIES

Sidereus Nuncius Galileo Galilei The Crime Of Galileo Giorgio de Santillana The Fault In Our Stars John Green Galileo’s Daughter Dava Sobel

A Trip to The Moon (1902) Georges Meliès Galileo (1975) Joseph Losey Apollo 13 (1995) Ron Howard Hubble (2011) Toni Myers Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014) James Gunn Interstellar (2014) Christopher Nolan


Florence University of the Arts

encourages students

to keep

a MIND & BODY

balance.

LA PALESTRA OFFERS FREE CLASSES WITH GYM EQUIPMENT/MACHINES FOR STUDENTS

LA PALESTRA - FUA Corso Tintori 21 - FLORENCE contact sld@fua.it


Illustration by Sadie Sullivan

Profile for J SCHOOL - Journalism, Communication and Publishing

Blending Magazine Fall-Winter 2014/15  

The semesterly publication of Florence University of the Arts

Blending Magazine Fall-Winter 2014/15  

The semesterly publication of Florence University of the Arts

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