THE SEMESTERLY MAGAZINE OF FUA-AUF / SPRING-SUMMER 2020 / YEAR 10 / ISSUE 1
art / food & wine / fashion / community / alumni profile
In Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Disk,” featured in The Book of Sand, we are presented with an impossible object: A disk made of unknown material that possess only one side, defying universal laws of physics and geometry. This isn’t the first time the Argentinian author dives into to the realm of impossible objects and takes readers’ minds into new philosophical territory. You may wonder what an inexistent, one-sided disk has to do with this issue of the Blending Magazine. Borges’ object exposes an underlying notion related to the everyday perception of the world - to be whole things also have to possess an interior dichotomy. A coin is made up of two faces, heads and tails. From a semiotic perspective, it has to show on one face its mathematical value and on the other a more symbolic value tied to the mint and government of its representing country. The first ascribes a logical tool to the coin for how it should used in transactions. The second ascribes a form of desire to coins, the reason why we are using this rather than other bits of metal for monetary exchange. Such ideas bring us to the theme of this issue of the magazine: Eros and Logos, between reason and desire. Another dichotomy that makes up a whole, this time in relation to mankind’s pursuit of truth. The two concepts may seem like opposing forces that seek to void each other but in reality they represent two parts of a dialog that has been ongoing since the beginning of time. The act of study and the act of prayer, the pursuit of science and the pursuit of art, platonic love and the bacchanalia, different approaches to a single, human purpose. The writers of this issue explored the ramifications of this dichotomy through the lenses of art, food, fashion, and many other themes. In the food section we learn about the pleasure and reason behind treating yourself to a cup of coffee, the fashion section features cultural dress codes, and the art section argues for the continued importance of the humanities in this day and age. Happy Reading, The Blending Staff
Blending is a semesterly magazine created with and for students of FUA-AUF. The newsletter is published by campus press Ingorda, a member of the non-profit Fondazione di Partecipazione Palazzi - FAIE, which supports the experiential learning methodology of FUA-AUF. For information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
colophon Semestrale / Semesterly Magazine Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011 ISSN 2284-063X Anno 10 – Numero 1 – Primavera-Estate 2020 Year 10 – Issue 1 – Spring-Summer 2020 In redazione / Masthead Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief Livia Sturlese Tosi Caporedattore / Editorial Director Tommaso Monaci Coordinamento Editoriale / Managing Editor Jessica Lynch Coordinamento grafico e impaginazione Managing Designer Nora Ferrucci Redattore Associato / Editor Livia Sturlese Tosi In redazione / Masthead Team di studenti / Student Magazine Teams led by Nora Ferrucci Special Project: Experiential Learning In Visual Communication - Graphic Design Carrie Neville Redazione / Copy Editors Harton Megan Victoria De Angelis
Collaboratori Accademici / Faculty advisors Alice Cozzi Andrea Mancini Catia Ballerini Rosaria Parretti Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore Via Masaccio 45/A 50132 Firenze Sede editoriale / Editorial Headquarters Corso Tintori 21 50121 Firenze Tel. 055-0332745 Il numero è stato chiuso in redazione nel mese di maggio 2020 This issue was completed in May 2020 Copyright © 2020 by Florence Campus, Firenze All rights reserved. ISSN 2284-063X
index Letter from the Editor
by Tariro Zenda
Why studying the humanities is important in our increasingly high-tech lives by Victoria De Angelis
Eros, Psyche and the wedding cake
community by Alex Mast
by Molly Urnek
Luciano Ligabue by Ariana Santilli
by Matthew Nicolini .18
The Story Within a Wine Label by Olivia Prescott
Italian Language Advanced I Course: Cantanti Italiani
Do I need to buy a coffee?
by Fatima Alara Adanir
by Raya Benus
food & wine by Zoe Bernardi
Judaism in Fashion
Last Night in Florence
by Aron Aguilera
Shades of Memory by Chiara Pesci
Eros & Logos Through the Lenses of Fashion
alumni profile Alumni Interview with Matthew Greiner by FUA-AUF Alumni Association
LOS Look of the Season by Kara Ejan
Why studying the humanities is important in our increasingly high-tech lives Written by Victoria de Angelis For better or for worse, individuals are the masters of their own destiny. A key part of curating our identities (and thus our destinies) is deciding upon a career, often governed by one’s virtues, experiences, interests, and plain luck. However, for youths today there are many other factors to consider. Generally, in college, a student chooses one of two paths: STEM, shorthand for science, technology, engineering, and math, or the liberal arts. As our everyday lives persistently intertwine with technology, the former is emphasized by politicians, parents, and professionals over the latter in picking a career deemed to be stable. A student may feel that a degree in the humanities is desirable, but too often choose the more “reasonable” option in STEM fields. There is a fundamental misconception of the virtues of a humanities degree its function in the modern job market. In fact, this remarkable time in human history is when we need humanities the most. This misinformed perception of the humanities refutes the dialectical discourse encompassing eros and logos, insisting that the opposing forces are simply at odds. In reality, they frequently go handin-hand as the pursuance of desire and reason has resulted in remarkable innovation across the ages. So why would society now discourage education in the humanities and disrupt this synergy? During the twentieth century, programs offered by higher education institutions more or less yielded a corresponding career. If you wanted to work in business, you simply studied business. Today, requirements for jobs are much more demanding, and a degree doesn’t promise a job interview. In fact, many people in the workforce report being in a field vaguely or not at all related to the degree they studied in college. However, this tends to be the case more often for students studying the humanities than STEM, as the complex knowledge gained from STEM degrees is seen as more readily applicable. And because so much is being invested in technological innovation, these jobs are also generally more lucrative.
Since college is a sizable investment and there is a lack of clear correlation between major and career when studying the humanities, it has been dismissed as a waste of time and money, as a hobby young minds could teach themselves in their free time. In a BBC article by Amanda Ruggeri, she states, “...our assumption about the market value of certain degrees – and the ‘worthlessness’ of others – might be off. At best, that could be making some students unnecessarily stressed. At worst? Pushing people onto paths that set them up for less fulfilling lives.” A degree in the humanities beholds much more merit than given credit for. A student is taught to read between the lines, to not take something at face-value as there’s always a hidden intention or additional interpretation. In absorbing and analyzing renowned works of art, literature, music, philosophy, etc., the student learns to decode a curator’s message, understand their perspective, and ultimately the complexities of humanity. The key skill of critical thinking is acquired. From there, the student is able to observe the world critically and logically as well as think about complex history from a moral standpoint. This, as a society, is what we are Illustation by Aron Aguilera striving for today. As we embrace diversity, diplomacy, and reflection, the humanities prove to be more relevant than ever, not only in the workforce, but in our everyday lives. In an age of rapid technological innovation, the need to adapt has become increasingly apparent for companies and businesses. Many have adopted online forms of service for greater accessibility, convenience, and outreach. The STEM majors are likely the ones to implement these systems. In considering the knowledge gained by those in STEM versus students of the humanities, which group is more likely to identify this online medium in the first place? In his novel, You Can Do Anything: The Surprising Power of a “Useless” Liberal Arts Education, George Anders states, “The more we automate the routine stuff, the more we create a constant low-level hum of digital connectivity, the more we get tangled up in the vastness and blind spots of big data, the more essential it is to bring human judgment into the junctions of our digital lives.” With this being said, the answer to the aforementioned inquiry could be a humanities major. In fact, a new area of scholarly activity revolves around the field of digital humanities, which considers the systematic use of digital resources in the humanities and vice versa. Here is where the transferable skills gained in a liberal arts degree are used most efficiently. Those who study humanities are trained to assess human needs and problems, which technology can fix. Considering how rapidly the world is changing, the job market related to when current college students are at the career level is inconceivable, and thus the notion that the humanities yield poor job opportunities is outdated.
Shades of memory Photos by Chiara Pesci In this selection of photos, FUA-AUF student Chiara Pesce explores the influence of memory in everyday life through film photography. The grainy figures evoke a sense of youth while at the same time they generate the nostalgia of an undescribed era, seemingly outside of time in a place weâ€™ve all been before.
Merging ideas Photos by Aron Aguilera In keeping with this issueâ€™s theme, FUA-AUF student Aron Aguilera presents a photo series that experiments with double exposure on film. He takes two different images and combines them to create a new meaning. Each photo becomes its own thesis by taking everyday spaces and objects, and the association creates abstract images expressing metaphysical concepts.
Do I need to buy a coffee? Written by Zoe Bernardi
Photos by Caylyn Downey
The art of espresso is something that takes time to craft. A true talent is creating the perfect amount of foam to coffee ratio. Coffee has slowly become a key trait of the food and culture scene around the world. Having a good cup of coffee can be the start to a good day, a new beginning, or an adventure.
the balance between reason and pleasure. How does coffee play into this notion? Very easily, in fact. These questions are balanced with the pleasure of the coffee, it acts as a source of comfort. A freshly made cappuccino is a small splurge you made for yourself, a tool for productivity to get work done, or it’s the overall coffee shop experience.
A coffee drinker might wonder: “Do I need to buy it?” “Can I make it at home?” “Is it worth the money?” The coffee drinker is looking for the reason to open their wallet, bringing us to the ideas of eros and logos which is
Coffee has many personalities whether it would be comfort, relaxation, or a form of energy. It can be just what you need on a cold morning or a boost in the afternoon before a meeting or class. Coffee is a tool to keep you
food & wine
awake or a way to meet new people and break the ice. In the world of culinary arts and hospitality, coffee shops are thriving everywhere. Finding the perfect place to grab a coffee to match a mood is rapidly becoming a new lifestyle. If you are trying to find the best cappuccino in Florence, you’ll have to invest days or weeks to try them all. In every travel guide, you can find a section just for the perfect coffee shop. Whether you are looking for a classic and charming café, or maybe one that has a lunch menu. Or somewhere that gives you a grab and go option. Coffee is also infiltrating the worlds of advertising, travel, and pop culture. An example would be in the popular Christmas movie Elf when Buddy, an elf played by Will Ferrell, runs into a New York City coffee shop exclaiming congratulations for having the best cup of coffee in the world. Another show with a similar focus on coffee is the sitcom Friends. The majority of the scenes take place in the local coffee shop called Central Perk, which acts as a common meeting place where the six friends grab coffee and chat with each other. According to a PBS article, “History of Coffee” by Tori Avery, the author states that “second only to oil, coffee is the most valuable legally traded commodity in the world.” It’s no wonder why or how coffee is so popular. The whole world is constantly importing and exporting it. The coffee industry has significant power and leverage in the world, while different countries have their own unique approaches to the beverage. Drinks like Vietnamese iced coffee or Cuban coffee are a few examples. Curiosity in the coffee culture and globalization have allowed these traditions to travel from one country to another. This brings us to the idea of reason: do I need this, or can I make it at home? Why is it that coffee is something people will always splurge for? Could it be the pleasure of having a warm (or iced) drink in your hand? In his 2015 Forbes article, “The Smart Reason We Waste Our Dollars On Coffee,” Rob Ashgar quoted psychologist Bill Dyment, “There is something emotionally or
physically powerful going on for those who wouldn't miss their daily $4 coffees … So what drives us? Is it simply the caffeine? No, you can satisfy that craving for much less money at home. I think there’s more to the story: The $4 coffee is a pleasing brew of social ritual, selfreward, feeling valued by attentive servers and a welcome pause in a busy day.” This statement accurately sums up my point regarding reason; justification for buying a coffee every day is nonexistent. Buying coffee is simply about the pleasure it brings. Regardless of the price, people will continue to pay for the experience of going into a store, ordering a coffee, having moments to take a break in the day, catch up with a friend, or get work done. I treat myself with a caffeine beverage, maybe along with a pastry, and then I tell myself I need to get something done. The coffee is not only my treat, but also the motivation to do my schoolwork. It is also something I will always allow myself to buy. I might not need a cup of coffee, but I will always want one. The reasoning is thrown out of the window, but I still make room in my budget to buy coffee rather than making it at home. Something about the café experience makes it just taste better. To answer the questions echoed by a typical coffee drinker, no you don’t need the coffee, you don’t need to spend that much on it, and it’s not necessary to find the best place to get one. Looking at coffee through logos and branding only, if you want a coffee, make one at home. Save the money and strictly make one because you need it. Yet with eros, it's not just about the coffee, it's about the soundtrack the cafe is playing, how the worker greets you when you walk in or how you stare at the menu and order what you usually get. The overall experience is what you are paying for, it’s the break you need and the motivation to get something done. This is what ultimately makes you buy the coffee.
A coffee drinker might wonder: “Do I need to buy it?” .17
Eros, Psyche & the wedding cake Written by Fatima Alara Adanir According to Plato, Eros helps understand the truth. The original Greek helps to understand the term “Eros,” which has different meanings. The term "Platonic Love" derives from Plato, and according to the philosopher, Eros helps "remember" beauty in its purest form. I’ve found that this interpretation of Eros can be seen in not only the classical sculpture representations of the myth Eros and Psyche but also through the professional creation of wedding cakes. How so, you may ask. Let’s take a look... Let’s start from the myth of Cupid and Psyche, from the Metamorphosis by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (2nd century AD) and retold in many forms throughout the centuries. Theirs is a relationship full of obstacles, and after a moment of mistrust Psyche has to endure a series of difficulties and challenges to be reunited with Cupid. In this article we will focus on the marble sculpture version carved by Antonio Canova in the 16th century. Cupid and Psyche can be seen today at Louvre Museum, on the verge of a kiss. Wedding cakes, on the other hand, are found in pastry shops and of course, at weddings where they really shine. Although not a part of the visual arts, wedding cakes have become an iconic symbol of the celebration of culture. Wedding cakes are often described in sculpturesque terms, and both cakes and sculptures share strong connections to symbolism and visual iconography. The main techniques used in making sculptures are
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"A sculpture can be visually enjoyed by any visitor, yet cakes allow for a multifaceted approach to physical pleasure." carving, shaping, building, and combing details. In cake creation, there is the approach of combining substances and revealing new matter that can be considered comparable to the carving of a statue. The sculptor and baker are both designers and practitioners, especially in large designs, and it can be quite challenging for a single baker to perform every function. Canova’s statue displayed at the Louvre wasn’t created just by him but with the combined efforts of his bottega helping out. The similarities don’t end here, the visual effects evoked by cakes and sculptures are quite aligned as well: The white pureness of marble and cake frosting recalls churches and the religious institutions of Europe, while at the same times the connection to Greek mythology and luxury food connects to a more hedonistic vision of the world. As a result, to sum up the similarities and differences of the practices, both represent purity and sensuality coming together. One is made for intellectual contemplation and the other for ritual consumption. In other words, neither one belongs to a specific category. The cake will be eaten and appreciated on a sensual level, as well as evoking a sense of purity through its color and connection to the ritual of marriage. Even though sculptures communicate a sense of purity in shape and form, they also demonstrate sensuality in their subjects. As a difference, Canova’s statue has a harsher and more adult meaning. Themes such as nudity, sadness, pain, and erotism can be seen at first glance. A wedding cake, on the other hand, serves a commemorative purpose for the formal union of a couple. Perhaps the cake is much easier to understand and interpret than the statue. The analysis of the sculpture requires philosophical knowledge and familiarity of mythological symbolism. A sculpture can be visually enjoyed by any visitor, yet cakes allow for a multifaceted approach to physical pleasure. Cakes ultimately cater to more than one of the five senses experienced by the body: seeing, smelling, and tasting. Sculptures, on the other hand, while they appease the physicalsenseofseeing,speakforperception,interpretation, and emotions, formed by the human experience.
Photos from Unsplash .19
The story within a wine label Written by Olivia Prescott When choosing a bottle of wine, do you choose one based on the label or design? Does something ever just catch your eye and immediately draw you in, making you want to find out more? Maybe a label is telling you a story, or it has an interesting design, or it simply has colors that attracts your eyes. Whatever it is, there is usually a reason for why you choose a wine, even if you are unaware of it. People who into a store with the intention of buying wine don’t always know the flavor they are looking for. In fact, most don’t know what makes a good bottle of wine. This is when visual judgement comes into play. Some may pick a bottle based on the price, while others may choose one based on the visual design. The look of a bottle is often capable of steering our minds to think of the bottle in terms of increased value. If we feel some sort of emotion and feeling generated by the bottle and label design, we instinctively hope that the feeling will mirror the flavor inside. Wine labels can be a complex topic, considering the many elements involved in its production and tasting from grape varietals to aging, flavor notes, terroir, etc. Labels are thus essential for guiding consumers to identify the quality and flavor they are seeking, as well as the story contained
within the wine. Here are a few examples. The Cantine Florio began its fame through quality marsala. This producer is known for longer aging times for better quality. The Florio wine bottle is one example of how the object can speak to the drinker with a unique and interesting design. This wine label depicts three women dancing while holding a bottle of wine above their heads. They are dressed in long colorful dresses while portraying a playful and cheerful feeling. The hands of the women lead the eyes to the name “Florio” positioned above the bottles of wine the women are holding. At first glance, the label evokes a happy feeling in a potential customer. This is further supported by the warmth and optimism seen in the yellow and red colors of the women’s clothing. Overall, the bottle conveys to the consumer a This, along with the dancing and happiness of the women, convey an overall sense of carefreeness and positivity. Lamole di Lamole is another winery dating back over 700 years that believes in specializing the quality and uniqueness of their wines. The merit goes to a rich terroir that has seen little urbanization and features high-altitude vineyards. These wines are made in what’s often referred to as an “enchanting valley” that was first discovered by the Romans. With
this imagery in mind, the label design adds to the richness and prestige behind the Lamole’s story. The label for the Chianti Classico wine is rather elegant the main colors are blue, yellow, and red with an overall look of sophistication. One might pick this bottle to make a good impression or giving an “expensivelooking” gift, for example. The design offers a symmetrical look with both sides mimicking each other and has a harmonious feel. Knowing that the wine is crafted in an ancient castle helps pull the whole design together, adds a mysterious yet captivating aura as well. Wine marketing plays an important role in communicating information. Packaging influences the emotions of customers, but when done well it also provides facts and a sense of what to expect from inside the product. Its technical function is to provide details regarding a wine type, production location, and producer. However, sometimes the design itself is enough to persuade individuals to purchase. Design can lead to desire, and impact our judgements, decisions, and emotional senses. As a visual experiment, the next time you’re looking to purchase a bottle see where your mind and eyes guide you. You may end up with new discoveries and pleasant surprises.
food & wine
Photos from Unsplash .21
Look of the season Styled and written by Kara Ejan
After reflecting on FLY emerging designer, Bloody Edith, I noticed that her designs are inspired by the 1940’s and 1950’s. Bloody Edith is the brand of Milanese fashion designer Laura Distefano. The older, retro vintage vibe of her clothes led me to try and reinterpret her vision with things I already had in my closet. The 40’s and 50’s are famous for having different themes: nautical, sporty, pinup, etc. The key is to have fun and play with long dresses and skirts, red lips, nice jewelry, head pieces,
heels, and hair put up or back. I chose to put together this burnt orange midi dress that is flowy on the top but tighter around the legs/waist. I incorporated a vintage glove that has an older pattern on it, and added a vintage gold 1960’s watch. I also decided to add a red necklace that has a lot of jewels, staying in the warmer color range. For the shoes, I paired this dress with pointed nude heels, which made the outfit look more vintage. For the makeup, I kept it to a bare minimum and mainly focused on a red lip color as a reference to the Bloody Edith style. I hope the look inspires you to try a retro outfit and have fun with what you already have in your closet!
Eros & Logos through the lenses of fashion Written by Tariro Zenda
Photos by Caylyn Downey
Two things of opposite natures seem to depend / One on another, as Logos depends / On Eros, day on night, the imagined On the real. / This is the origin of change — a short poem by Wallace Stevens. Eros and logos, two concepts which many throughout history have regarded as in opposition to one another. One exists in the realm of logic and thought, and the other within the five senses and the heart. Though they seem to be at odds, a closer look would reveal that the two are quite complementary and from this relationship stems the backbone of process. Or, as Mr. Stevens phrased it, “the origin of change.” This theme is especially true in the sphere of fashion. But what are logos and eros? Logos is the Greek word for word or reason. It has been used throughout the philosophical world to refer to the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgment by a process of logic. Eros was the Greek god of love, sensual pleasure and desire. Likewise, sensual as an adjective refers to one who “shows or suggests a great liking for physical pleasures, especially sexual pleasures.” An object or subject that is sensual “gives pleasure to your physical senses rather than to your mind.” It is from this angle that I will approach the concept of eros as a focus on the human desire or love for pleasurable things enjoyed through our senses. Fashion is a primary source of this. Fashion has always played an instrumental role in activating the human desire for beauty, our affinity for looking good. People from all cultures and backgrounds use fashion and apparel to express status, identity, tastes or preferences. Eros, in this sense, is seen in our expression of sensual delight for color, style, and silhouette, while logos shines through our use of garment functionality. These two forces have pushed forward many of the trends and garments seen throughout history. Even today, this dynamic hasn’t changed. As a society we are beginning to use our minds again in how we approach fashion, as well as maintain our desire for pleasure. Our love for beauty has caused the global fashion industry to evolve, leading to greater consumption, and along with that, its own set of consequences. Reason, however, has lead us to combat these problems. But perhaps, the best way to understand this is through art. No other modern piece
of art better expresses this issue than Venus of the Rags. Venus of the Rags is a work of art created by Michelangelo Pistoletto. It depicts the classical statue of Venus, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, gently pressed against an enormous pile of bright and tattered clothing. Her back is to the viewer, leaving the front part of her body hidden. Upon looking at Pistoletto’s work, I immediately thought of the tumultuous relationship between sustainability and fast fashion. Venus and her antique nature contrasted against the modern secondhand garments seemed, to me, a parallel of sustainability against the backdrop fast fashion’s depressing results Sustainability stands for longevity and preservation, the drive to produce at a rate that meets today's needs without sacrificing tomorrow. The clothing shown as piled up, overbearing, brightly colored, and only slightly worn speaks to the reality of our modern levels of consumption. The problem is messy and overflowing, just as the artwork presents. But how did we get here? Fast fashion began its rise in the 1990s, when the increase for hot, trendy items began to push shoppers deeper into the pits of consumerism. Brands were eager to meet consumer needs and capitalize on this fastgrowing trend. The first time the term “fast fashion” was used was when the New York Times published an article commenting on Zara’s incredibly fast production model. The retail store had just opened in New York and was pushing new designs out every two weeks. Soon after, many more retailers such as H&M, Gap, J. Crew, and Forever 21 began to follow suit, thus starting the fast fashion movement. Retailers went from having the standard 4 seasons for new styles to 52 seasons. That meant new styles being introduced every week! But what caused society to accept fast fashion? What is it about wearing different colors or seeing different styles make consumers leap at the idea, without so much as a second thought? The answer? In a single word, eros. We love to look nice. We get pleasure from the beauty we see in a garments texture, or luster, or color. It brings us joy. Our senses are stimulated through the experience of seeing something new and foreign. We like trying garments on, feeling that warm, cozy sweater against our skin, or admiring its hue in the mirrors of our dressing rooms. We get a rush from making our selections our own. It’s a lovely feeling to place our choices over the
counter, to give the cashier our confirmation of its value. But alas, when the experience wanes, we repeat the process in the next two weeks, ridding our closets of the old to make room for the new! As a result, our mentality towards fashion has greatly shifted. It brought on the notion that our clothes are discardable, that we can dispose of our clothing on a whim, or on the simple realization that they fail to pleasure us like they once had. The fashion industry has taken our cues as well. Producing new styles at such a rapid pace has made it especially profitable for companies to produce as inexpensively as possible. In their pursuit to pump styles out without fail, theyâ€™ve produced millions of tons of textile waste, meaning many of their unsold garments and accessories land in landfills to be discarded and burned. Thankfully, the other side of the coin has been flipped upward, and reason and thinking logically about our future has come to the surface. Day by day, companies are making efforts to chasten their effects on the environment. Many have begun conscious, eco-friendly designs and methods of production, as well as consumers opting to purchase from brands who are willing to serve this purpose. What a clear example of the power of eros and logos! When working together in glorious harmony, it can only create positive progress for the future.
Photo by David Weiss
Judaism in fashion Written by Raya Benus From the beginning of creation, we learn that clothing is a basic necessity. Hebrew biblical terms for clothing (beged, kisoot, livoosh) are employed in connection with covering the body for warmth or reasons of modesty. At a point in time, clothing became more than just protection and warmth, it became an aesthetic expression. Clothing can display oneâ€™s personality. Fashion is a tool for communication and has the capacity of exhibiting cultures. Religion can play an integral role in the way one dresses. Judaism uses clothing in many customs and religious practices
and has always been influenced by societal trends. Jewish dress was inspired from Jewish law and throughout time has been influenced by modernity. While Jewish religious beliefs are universal, no matter where Jews have lived, clothing adopted the artistic, cultural, and social influences of the host society. Today, religious Jews have adapted modern day dress to abide by these older restrictions. Costume has always been a marker of Jewish identity, despite the fact that no universal Jewish costume
evolved. Several principal factors have determined not only Jewish dress but the use of materials throughout the ages. Jewish law, as well as Jewish codes of conduct and customs like Shatnez, Tzitzit, and Tallit, give guidelines to clothing. Shatnez is a law that prohibits the wearing of fabrics made out of a mixture of linen and wool, an ecological sensitivity towards the mixture of animal and plant products. Tzitzit and Tallit are certain religious garments that men wear as a constant reminder of the covenant with God and his commandments. The garment’s four corners have tassels knotted in a prescribed method which remain outside of the regular dress. Men generally cover their heads with a kippah. The origin of the yarmulke, or kippah, comes from the Talmud, a book of Jewish civil and ceremonial laws. The kippah is a reminder for its wearers that there is always a supreme being “above” them. Modesty, like in other cultures and religions, plays a large role in Jewish dress. In a second century commentary on Jewish oral law, it is explained that there is a requirement to be “decently dressed and covered during prayer.” From this text, during prayer Jews demonstrate holiness in the clothing they wear. Modest dressing is notable in Jewish women’s fashion throughout history and in modern times. Upon marriage, observant women begin to cover their hair in public with either a wig or hat in public. This acknowledges the holy relationship between man and wife as a woman’s hair is just for her husband to see. Many women choose to only wear dresses and skirts, nothing to resemble men’s clothing like pants. Along with the influence of modesty, other factors pertain such as sumptuary laws, edicts by non-Jewish authorities in countries where Jews lived. For example, Islamic sumptuary laws based upon teachings found in the Quran and Hadith were introduced by Umayyad Caliph Umar II, a Muslim ruler, in the early 8th century.
The practice was reissued and reinforced by Caliph Al-Mutawakkil (847–61), subsequently remaining in force for centuries. Christians and Jews were required to wear special emblems on their clothes. In the Christian world, efforts to distinguish Jewish dress date from approximately 1215 CE. In both Christian and Muslim lands, Jews were required to wear a hat with a shape, and color of which would serve to identify them as Jews. Not only were Jews forced by their local culture to have a certain dress code, they were also influenced by it. Although Jews, under Muslim and Christian rule, were influenced and sometimes forced to wear the modern dress and more specific garments, Jewish dress around the world was specific to the country of origin. For example, in the Balkans before World War II, women dressed in the local garb. The salvar, a common long silk shirt, was replaced by the sayo, a sleeveless dress, but was covered by an entari, a close-fitting kaftan with wide sleeves made of striped silk material. In Morocco, Jews expelled from Spain after the Inquisition brought their style with them. The Moroccan bridal and festive dress, known as the “great dress,” descended from the Spanish Jews. This outfit, made of metal threadembroidered velvet, was strikingly different from the local Muslim costumes and became an identity mark. Jews around the world have always been influenced by the places they live. Some traditions like the Jewish prayer are universal, but fashion generally is idiosyncratic. Jewish dress at its core came from Jewish rule in the Torah. As communities formed worldwide through the diaspora, Jewish dress became just like Jews themselves - individualized and culturally diverse. Today, some wear a more traditional dress and some dress according to their local customs. Others, like me, dress in whatever way they please. Fashion isn’t just materialism at its finest, clothing creates an identity in the same way Judaism does; like religions, fashion can be both a self-expression and an affirmation.
Memories Amongst the Starlight Written by Alex Mast
Photos by Rachel Larsen After reaching my train stop on the outskirts of Florence, the winter weather was beginning to take its toll. I was on the way to meet my host family, an exciting moment that had been delayed because of this reason or that; bad luck. A sudden torrent of rain had left me stranded under a measly awning outside a tabaccheria, I was soaked down to the bone. It was just me, dressed poorly for the weather
in a denim jacket (the rain had made it a sort of pallid, grayish blue, I was cold and lacking style), illuminated only by an ad for condoms (sentirai tutto!). Florence, a place that simultaneously felt comfortable and overwhelming in the weeks I spent here, had finally started to become the home I had wanted. Studying abroad, being in an unknown and new place for months, speaking a different language; naturally this lends itself to being pushed far outside of one's comfort zone. I sought this discomfort, pushing towards experiences that were alien to me. Speaking Italian as much as possible, meeting new people everyday, spending time with different groups, staying out late, getting up early, going to random towns with no plan in sight, traveling alone. Whether big or small, elements of discomfort and fear (occasionally) pervade the study abroad experience, but they are necessary parts. It forces you to change. But in these five weeks, weeks filled with chaos, stumbling upon moments of serenity became some of the most poignant and memorable parts of Florence. They will stick with me and every other student lucky enough to walk along the same cobblestones long after theyâ€™re passed. It was late, the Florentine streets were quiet. In these hours, a calm washes over the city. Only a halfhour before, Becca and I got an email (from our college back home) saying that we should book our flights, the first signs of the crisis that was about to hit the entire world. Over those last few days, laughter lived among tears, anger was the cousin of joy; it was incredibly cathartic, exhausting, and sad. But in these moments, moments where you are heartbroken reading an email on your random Italian rent-a-phone, spontaneity is a savior. Absurdity is king. Before truly falling prey to sadness and despair, we sped out of the apartment. The city is full of possibilities, ones we have to exploit now. Thereâ€™s no time left, who cares what we do! Full of manic energy, we climbed up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a famed viewpoint from which you can see the entire city. Once we made the climb, we were panting and we just sat, overlooking the city. It was glistening, almost sparkling, like a twinkling jewel in the moonlight. The lights sat among the city and squares. Little stars illuminated the Arno, perfectly mirrored in the still water. Along the stars stood the memories we had made in these short five weeks: from the soccer game to us sitting on that wall, laughing and taking pictures, and watching a couple of kids kick around a soccer ball in Santissima Annunziata. The karaoke bars, watching the street musicians at Uffizi, sitting in the sun at Palazzo Pitti, pizza in hand. Walking around in the early morning, in awe of the Duomo. All this was now a part of the past, fleeting moments that passed us by in this beautiful city, our future was now frighteningly finite. In spite of their fleeting nature, these memories were a part of the city for us, as tangible and real as the stones we walked on, glistening like the starlights reflected below us. Everything is finite, everything has an end, but the beauty lies in the fact that within the chaos life brings every day, month, and year we get to experience any of those things at all. Fireworks broke our collective silence. Behind us, some locals had set some off next to the replica statue of David to celebrate a friendâ€™s birthday, unknowingly giving us a sendoff of our own. The next morning, I woke up early. I had choir, which somehow remained as the constant in my life through all of the massive upheavals that seemed to be occurring. I walked along the Arno, the beautiful river that had always been my favorite part of Florence. There were little birds flying above a man rowing along the water. The birds flew up to the Ponte Vecchio, which was quiet in the stillness of the early morning. I passed memories and possibilities of memories. I reached the church with time to spare, so I went and sat on the bridge down the street. I sat there for a few minutes, looking at the buildings, the stone, the water, the sky, and cried.
St'O Aperta Written by Molly Urnek St’O is shorthand for Sant’Orsola, but it can also be read as “sto aperta” in Italian, or “I am open.” It’s an ironic phrase to describe a building that has been abandoned and inaccessible to the general public for nearly a decade. However, the complex of Sant’Orsola is seemingly in store for a Renaissance. Since its founding in 1309 and abandonment after failed reconstruction in 1985, the complex of Sant’Orsola, in the neighborhood of San Lorenzo, has been passed between many hands, opening its doors to various groups of people over time. First, the building served as a Franciscan convent, home to over sixty nuns and the suspected muse of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. After closing in 1810, the building became a tobacco factory under Manifattura Tabacchi, then a shelter for displaced people during World War II. Afterwards, it became a space for classrooms and offices for the Università degli Studi di Firenze. The building went under renovation in 1980 when it was set to be the barracks of the Guardia di Finanza but was abandoned in 1985. Much of the original contents of the building were destroyed during the renovations in the 80’s, so the preservation of the history of Sant’Orsola will most likely exist as a virtual museum.
Coordinators of the project have many visions for the future of the center, all of which are based upon a bottom-up approach. Emanuele Salerno, an operational coordinator of Santorsolaproject, explained that no voice in the community will be left unheard in the establishment of the center. “This place is a public resource, and that is where the plans come from — from the public,” Salerno said. The complex will serve as a physical manifestation of the community’s desires. However, just like any other community, there are so many needs to be met, and thereby project planners have come up with numerous ideas for the use of the building. As a result, there isn’t an exact definition as to what will be inside the building. Nevertheless, the space is destined to answer the needs of the community’s diverse population.
Three days in September 2014 marked the last time Sant’Orsola was touched by the general public. The art exhibit, “The City Inside San Lorenzo – St’O Aperta,” revealed the potential the building had as a cultural center. The influx of people and interest in the building both locally and internationally unearthed attention that would seem to save the fleeting future of Sant’Orsola.
Ideas for future uses are all designed with both older and younger generations in mind. Possible plans include a swimming pool, spa, gym, playground, and elderly center. It could also house study and coworking environments, artisan workshops, training and teaching spaces, and a rehearsal room for musicians. The building could also serve as a meeting place and exchange service of schools, museums, groups of artists, and associations active in the city and already endowed with resources and cultural programs. Coordinators of the project also see Sant’Orsola as a future space for interdisciplinary events that will not only bring all of the subsections of people together but also amplify their voices so that the government is better reciprocative of their needs. This place will bring the community’s desires to the forefront of the political agenda as well, instead of just being a location for day-to-day activity.
The Santorsolaproject is a networking association that, while promoting the petition of “Beauty and Legality of the Central Market at San Lorenzo,” works to recover the complex of Sant’Orsola.
“We’re trying to reduce the fragmentation between the public administration and the community so that their voices can be heard and better reflected in the public administration’s decisions for the
community’s future,” Salerno shared. In order to accomplish this goal, the networking association has carried out and organized forums, campaigns, and meetings to include, and inform not only the public but also the public administration of this project. Sant’Orsola will stand as a reflection and manifestation of the multiethnic community through its unique connection with the public and community-based approach. As the community ages and different groups continue to integrate in the neighborhood of San Lorenzo, this multifunctional space will foster and nurture the development of the culture at both the bottom and top level. In the future, coordinators of the Santorsolaproject predict an enhancement of social, economic, and cultural capital with the rebirth of this barren building. However, the project must start somewhere, and for Salerno, the starting point is at the ground-level in San Lorenzo. “The most important part is that we start transitional and temporary uses as soon as possible of the ground floor,” Salerno said. “Again, it’s all about the bottom-up strategy.”
Photo by Aron Aguilera .31
Italian Language Advanced I Course: Cantanti
Luciano Ligabue Written by Ariana Santilli Anche se ci sono molti artisti rock di successo in Italia, Luciano Ligabue (o Liga, come lo chiamano i fan devoti) porta un’essenza di autenticità che altri non hanno. L’autenticità di Liga deriva dal suo umile background. Prima di diventare un cantante, ha svolto una serie di lavori: bracciante agricolo, operaio e venditore. Queste esperienze hanno influenzato la musica di Liga in molti modi: i suoi testi raccontano storie vere a cui il pubblico può connettersi, invece di raccontare storie basate sulla fantasia, infatti Liga scrive canzoni sulla verità. Inoltre, i suoi ritmi rock hanno un suono sia elettrizzante e rilassante. Una canzone che dimostra lo stile di Liga è Metti in circolo il tuo amore. Questa canzone è stata scritta all’inizio della sua carriera e dimostra al meglio la sua identità di artista, combinando il suono crudo della chitarra elettrica con testi romantici. La canzone ha un ritmo lento che permette alle persone di concentrarsi sul messaggio. Il coro della canzone è: “Metti in circolo il tuo amore/ come quando dici ‘perché no?’/ metti in circolo il tuo amore/ come quando ammetti ‘non lo so’/ come quando dici perché no?”. Liga racconta la storia di un uomo che ha provato, e fallito, in amore, ma continua a provare. In molte canzoni romantiche, il cantante esprime un messaggio cupo di strazio, ma la sua unicità si dimostra nell’atteggiamento positivo, alla fine, verso l’amore. La musica di Liga è perfetta per la quarantena, ha selezioni stimolanti e rilassanti. Inoltre, le sue canzoni hanno messaggi positivi che tutti dobbiamo ascoltare in questo momento.
Photo by Caylyn Downey
J-ax Written by Matthew Nicolini J-ax è un artista che fa la musica pop, ma originariamente ha fatto musica rap in un gruppo che si chiama Articolo 31. Il suo vero nome è Alessandra Aieotti ed è nato il 5 di Agosto 1972. Anche suo fratello è un cantante ed è nel gruppo Gemelli Diversi. Per 15 anni, dal 1990 al 2005, J-Ax ha fatto musica con DJ Jad, nel gruppo Articolo 31, dopo il 2005 ha iniziato a fare musica da solo e nel 2006 ha registrato il suo primo album da solista. Dal 2006 ha collaborato con molti musicisti come Space One e Gemelli DiVersi. Ha registrato 10 album come Articolo 31, 6 album come artista solo e 2 album collaborativi, unoi con Neffa e uno con Fedez. Una delle sue canzoni più popolari si chiama Ostia Lido. Questa canzone, nel suo album ReAle, l’ha registrata nel 2019. In questa canzone parla di Ostia Lido, che è una città italiana. Parla della spiaggia, delle donne e cosa fanno le persone in spiaggia d’estate a Ostia Lido. Descrive tutte queste cose nel coro, “Cosa importa se sognavi Puertorico? / Ma se restiamo insieme sembra un paradiso anche Ostia Lido / Brucia il sole in ufficio che voglia che hai di scappare / Uscire dall'acqua coperti di sale / Mare blu profondo, sulla pelle il vento / Intorno solo gente / Che balla, che balla, che balla / Intorno solo gente / Che balla, che balla, che balla”. Nel coro descrive così com’è stare in spiaggia o stare nell’oceano sotto il sole caldo.
Alumni Interview with Matthew Greiner By FUA-AUF Alumni Association Tell us about yourself. My name’s Matthew Greiner, and I’m from Iowa City, Iowa. I studied Culinary Arts at Kirkwood Community where I graduated and also finished the Master in Italian Cuisine at Apicius. When did you study at FUA-AUF? Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. Fortunately for myself, I am still living in Florence where I’m currently working at a new restaurant, Nugolo #pastalovers. The first time that I came to Florence was the summer of 2017, and I remember I wanted to learn and see how Italians make fresh pasta. Also, I knew the way Italian food was portrayed back home wasn’t a real representation of how pasta and other Italian dishes truly are meant to be. Why did you choose to study at FUA-AUF? It was the first year Kirkwood students were invited to come take classes at Apicius. During my last semester of culinary school in Iowa I really wanted to see something new, a new culture, a new cuisine known around the world. It was exciting. Also, I really love pasta! What did you do at FUA-AUF that helped you in your career and/or in your personal growth? In which way studying abroad at FUA-AUF changed your life/ professional path/career? My program really pushed me every day to think and develop a new approach to food. The chefs at Apicius and Fedora have an immense amount of knowledge, there wasn’t a day that went by when they didn’t have an answer to a question. While I was in the program, several chefs had approached me about finding a job, and the hard part was the Italian language. I went to several restaurants around the city, but no one was interested. Then school ended, and I gave myself an extra month to see if anything would come up. After a few weeks, Chef Massimo Bocus put me in touch with several young chefs who were looking to open a restaurant, Nugolo. I had gone to meet with them, and they’d said that they would be in touch. A day later I got a message, “In two hours we are going to the owner’s house to cook, if you are interested think about 2 dishes you would like to eat for lunch and come cook them for us.” Eight months later, in November, we opened the restaurant. Without the reference from Chef Bocus or the other chef faculty members encouraging me, I would for sure be back home now. Have you traveled with FUA-AUF? How was it? We took several trips to see various food producers from dried pasta to cured meats, wine, and cheese. Seeing these productions is a very helpful insight to the process of using traditional ingredients in cooking. What are your favorite FUA-AUF memories? Being from the middle of the US, I never imagined meeting people from around the world and developing strong friendships with my classmates from Brazil, to Israel, Macau, and Taiwan. I have learned a lot from my classmates and I wish to cook with them all again one day.
Are you still friend/in contact with someone you have met at FUA-AUF? Yes, with all of my classmates. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad at FUA-AUF, what would you say? If you are looking for a challenge your mind and to think about food in many new ways, then this is a place I would recommend to take classes. I wouldnâ€™t need 60 seconds, being the number 7 culinary school in the world speaks for itself. As I had previously stated, the chefs have an immense amount of knowledge. Masters of the culinary world, true geniuses. Describe your FUA-AUF experience with a word. Challenging, fun, exciting. What are your plans for the future? I have signed a contract at Nugolo for the next 3 years. After this I am not sure where food will take me, as I am a person who enjoys focusing on the moment and not worry about what is my next chapter, as nothing usually happens as planned. I would like to thank the chefs at Apicius for challenging me day in and day out, for there is something new to learn everyday.