ISSUE 2 - YEAR 7 | PALAZZI/FUA | APRIL 2017
Bill Viola. Four Hands. 2001.
ELECTRONIC RENAISSANCE: BILL VIOLA IN FLORENCE
by Morgan Pennings Photo by the author
Florence is hosting an extraordinary art happening this spring season - acclaimed video artist Bill Viola, who has a long history of collaboration with Florence and Tuscany, puts forth a new dialogue on humanity inspired by the Renaissance. FUA Gallery and Exhibition Curating student Morgan Pennings reports from Palazzo Strozzi. Bill Viola is known for his contemporary video art and his work immerses viewers into space, image, and sound. Through his video project currently on display at Palazzo Strozzi, Viola creates a dialogue between the classic and the contemporary by comparing his work and Renaissance artists. Viola was born in New York in 1951 and is now internationally recognized as one of the most celebrated contemporary artists today. Human beings, their faces and figures, and movement
are the main focus of his Florence exhibition as he explores spirituality and humanity. Several of Violaâ€™s works are shown alongside Renaissance masterpieces. For example, La Visitazione (The Visitation) by Pontormo in 1528 is accompanied Violaâ€™s The Greeting. The video shows two women in a pleasant conversation interrupted by a third woman whom they greet warmly. The video is played in slow motion as we see the woman being introduced in an
almost-awkward first interaction. A slow voice is heard slightly in the background, and the effect is that of Viola conjuring Pontormo’s painting to life. A piece that personally stood out to me was Four Hands, a black-and-white video polyptych. Each video shows a pair of hands from different walks of life: a young boy, a woman, a middle-aged man, and the last an older woman. Each video portrays the different stages of life in slow, deliberate movements. It reminded me of how we are seldom conscious of what our hands do, especially when we are nervous or anxious. The slow movements change to different gestures, making viewers stop and notice small details that we never really see: the
wrinkle-free smoothness of young hands, subtle changes that come with age. Ultimately, of all the things our bodies do, our hands do the most work. The exhibition, occupying both the Piano Nobile and the Strozzina area of Palazzo Strozzi, features works involving space, music, and sound that track Viola’s career from the 1970s to today. Exhibition Dates: March 10 - July 23, 2017 Palazzo Strozzi www.palazzostrozzi.org
The students from the Travel Writing course immersed themselves into the northern landscapes of paintings featured at the exhibit “Visioni dal Nord” showing until May 21 at the Museo Novecento.
by Angel Richard Photo by the author
I stride through the gallery with ease and allow it to consume me. Each piece contains its own unique perspective of various cities in the North, and the chosen colors have a clear purpose. Some of these places I have ventured to, but I have not seen the same viewpoint as these artists. I pace from city to city. Napoli. Venezia. I pivot, with the hope that viewing one of these works from a different angle will produce an emotion from within me. It does not. I sigh in defeat, and allow my legs to take me home; and that is when I locate it: home. Valgemetsa Motif. 1942. Elmar Kits. It is not as flashy as the others, and I suppose that is why I overlooked it the first time. There, painted in oil on a piece of plywood, lies where I come from. There is no civilization to be seen, only nature in its purest form. The trees are malformed, the shrubs are not evenly combed, the grass is not nurtured. It is evident that no human hands have ever held it, and that makes all the difference. This landscape is not flamboyant, because it does not need to be. A work like this can be ignored, but in the eyes of the proper beholder, it can move mountains, or something within. For me, being in a world that is out of my element, I found a slice of home that I did not know I would crave. A slice that cuts so deep, I am now homesick. Elmar Kits. Valgemetsa Motif. 1942.
HUMANITY Setting my eyes on Endel Kõks’ Painters, I am aware of my soul nearing the landscape, piercing through the veil of oil paints – subtly vibrant shades of blue, green, and yellow. I am surprised to feel my bare feet on the grass, entering the secret meeting of the artists. Initially, most of them stare at me, with faceless expressions, and I regret my decision to peek behind the trees. Yet, seeing the exposed bodies of the women makes me feel strangely at ease with my long, wild hair and loose-fitting floral dress, the beaded fringe tickling my ankles. The artists’ natural relaxation calms me, and I sense the strokes of the painter moving with the rhythm of the leaves. He keeps one eye on his easel and one on my presence. At this moment, I notice the contrast in lighting around me. A shadow is 2
by Asia Zaffere Endel Kõks. Painters. 1939.
cast among the lounging women on the left, while the men with the easel and sketchbooks on the right share the focal point in brighter blues and greens. Looking down at my own hands, the left in shadow and the right in sunlight, I realize that I am the image on the man’s easel – a young woman in her natural habitat. My image represents what humanity shares with art the darkness and light, the strength and weakness, the sin and purity – all at once. And finally, I understand the purpose of artists – to create beauty from nature’s complexity and completeness.
For the travel section in this issue of Blending, Culture Journalism students explore the relationship between high culture and technology in Florence.
SCREENS VS. STREETS
by Steven Scaglione Photo courtesy of FUA
Duomo di Firenze Santa Maria del Fiore st
If dropped off in the middle of the 21 Century, a peasant from the Middle Ages might feel like royalty. Today the greatest plays of Shakespeare can be found online for free, and the once-treasured “spices of the Orient” can now be purchased at a 99 cents store. With a public library, a museum ticket and a laptop, we can be kings and queens for a day. It is truly a beautiful thing that we can walk in these noble footsteps, surrounded by Giotto’s finest frescos of St. Francis in Santa Croce or the cultural treasures of the Vatican’s enormous collections. Haven’t you felt that awe and amazement of being so small? Yet now, however, one does not even need to buy a fl ight to Italy to see these beautiful sights. “Why [pack] up when you can travel on your couch!”, reads the header of ItalyInVirtualReality.com, a website by virtual reality channel 337 Labs which features panoramic videos of major Italian cultural landmarks designed for virtual reality headsets. The breathtaking expanse
of Milan’s Piazza del Duomo and the medieval towers of San Gimignano are just a click away (in 4K resolution, might I add). So let’s answer that question: “Why pack up when you can travel on your couch?” Surely, if high culture can come to us so easily, from the comfort of our beds and our screens, what is the point of going to it instead? Simple. It is a completely different experience. Before coming to Florence, I had seen the Duomo many times on Google Street View, and it was beautiful. Then I saw it in person - the same Duomo as the countless images before. And it blew me away. How does that very same “image” completely transform an experience? It is because these images give us only a glimpse of what is the real experience. A screen stimulates two senses. An in-person visit excites all five. Apples and oranges, no?
FIRENZE: EFFORTLESSLY CULTURED
by Christina Trupia Photo courtesy of FUA
to learn more. The Museo Galileo provides an expedition into the past of science, displaying tools that were used to start the exploration into what was once unknown. With interactive screens and videos throughout the museum, one does not realize that they are viewing, on either side of the screens, scientific technology that revolutionized the world.
Palazzo Vecchio, Firenze
Florence is a city that honorably encompasses the meaning of “high culture.” Raymond Williams, author at New Republic magazine, describes such culture as “the best that has been thought and written in the world.” In a world where “low culture,” or popular culture, is becoming the new cultural norm, it is difficult for a place to maintain its traditional standards with the overwhelming expectation of modernity. However, Florence manages to do just that quite effortlessly. At Palazzo Vecchio, you can walk through the halls of a home to the most elite of their time, gazing at the golden artwork situated on every ceiling, while a media presentation plays in the next room over to draw visitors in
Of course it is impossible to remain stagnant in a world that is ever-changing. However, Florence seems to keep that charm and magic that it is known for without staying exclusively in the past. The high culture of the art, music, architecture, and ideas of the Renaissance throughout the city take you on a journey and tell a story that cannot simply be obtained through popular culture. It is amazing and truly indescribable how one city could possibly hold onto such high culture amidst the changing world and transport each visitor to the past within the city center, all without remaining motionless or outdated. It is something that makes Florence so special and intriguing to those who are fortunate enough to walk its cobblestone streets, and truly experience something that, in today’s world, is so hard to find.
C INEMA SPECIAL
Advanced Italian language students review two groundbreaking films about the fight against organized crime.
MAFIA IN FILM
by Isabella de Rizzo Rosa, Hope Glassman, and Christina Slayton
La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate Set between the 1970s and 1990s, this film reconstructs the bloody activities of the Cosa Nostra in Palermo through the childhood memories of Arturo. La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate è una “commedia nera” del 2013, diretta e interpretata da Pif. Racconta la storia di un ragazzo che si chiama Arturo che è di Palermo. Da bambino era piuttosto strano e gli piacevano le cose peculiari. Per esempio, aveva un’ossessione per una figura politica, Giulio Andreotti, perché lui era su tutti i giornali. Lui non sapeva che molte persone pensavano 4
che Andreotti avesse connessioni con la mafia, un'altra cosa di cui lui si è interessato. Arturo parlava sempre della mafia come se influenzasse la sua vita e sperava di diventare un giornalista. A scuola, Arturo si era innamorato di Flora, una sua compagna di classe, ma lei gli ha dato false speranze. Ogni giorno, comprava una iris alla ricotta, un dolce tipico della Sicilia, e gliela lasciava sul
banco in classe. Alla fine, lei si è trasferita in Svizzera con la sua famiglia. Arturo vedeva molte cose strane che credeva fossero connesse con la mafia. Aveva una grande immaginazione che lo aiutava a scrivere in modo creativo. Poi il film fa un salto e mostra la vita di Arturo quando ha circa venticinque anni, quando lui è un giornalista che prova a combattere la mafia con le parole mentre cerca anche di conquistare l’amore di Flora. Alla fine, Arturo e Flora si mettono insieme e hanno un bambino, a cui Arturo spiega la storia delle persone importanti che hanno combattuto contro la mafia: comincia una nuova generazione. Il film è molto comico perché Ar turo è davvero goffo, ma allo stesso tempo parla di cose serie e gravissime. I l film mostra molta gente che muore a causa della mafia e quello succede anche in realtà, particolarmente in Sicilia. Pensiamo che sia importante p e r l a s o c i e t à capire gli eventi a t t u a l i , q u i n d i ci piaceva il film perché l’umorismo ci aiutava a seguire la trama e capire meglio i problemi della mafia, e anche come il governo può chiudere gli occhi su questo. Ci è piaciuto che Arturo rendesse pubblici i crimini dei capi mafiosi perché non è giusto tutto ciò che loro fanno e che hanno fatto, e che la gente rimanga imparziale perché ha paura. Sebbene non conosciamo la situazione esattamente perché non siamo italiane, speriamo che il governo ed i cittadini possano combattere la mafia insieme. Nel frattempo, la cosa più importante è istruire tutti sulla mafia e rendere pubbliche le informazioni private.
I Cento Passi 100 steps stood between the homes of Peppino Impastato and local mafia boss. This film recounts the struggle between Impastato and the mafia, eventually leading to his murder in 1978. I Cento Passi è un film del 2000, di Marco Tullio Giordana. Racconta la storia vera di Peppino Impastato, dalla suo giovinezza alla sua morte. Peppino aveva una grande famiglia ed era influenzato da suo zio, mafioso. Comunque, lo zio è stato ucciso quando Peppino era un ragazzo, e ciò ha fatto presto nascere in lui una curiosità nei confronti della mafia. Da adulto, Peppino diventa un attivista molto impegnato e vivace. Denuncia gli uomini della mafia come Tano (l’uomo che abita a 100 passi dalla casa sua, da cui il titolo del film) e suo padre come criminali, sebbene suo padre provi a proteggerlo spesso. Peppino crea una stazione radio con gli amici, che nelle loro trasmissioni usano l’umorismo per sensibilizzare le persona alla mafia. Peppino è molto radicale ma è un uomo buono. Comunque, sarebbe meglio se lui fosse più gentile e comprensivo nei confronti della sua famiglia perché sua mamma e suo fratello non hanno fatto niente di male. E suo padre, ci sembra, voleva solamente che Peppino fosse uno studente bravo e un uomo rispettabile. Il padre gli ha detto che un figlio deve onorare suo padre; e forse sì, il padre ha fatto anche cose brutte, ma amava la sua famiglia e voleva lo stesso amore in cambio. È una cosa strana considerare che anche le persone cattive hanno una famiglia, e che sono carine con i loro familiari. Come succede questo? Hanno un cuore allora? Se sì, come possono uccidere le altre persone come niente fosse? Non lo capiamo ma pensiamo che sia una cosa interessantissima pensare ai rapporti tra la famiglia e la società. Sembrava che fosse una sfida per Peppino e suo padre per riconciliarsi, anche se hanno valori differenti.
HOW DOES THE PIGMENT MOVE YOU?
by Allayna Nofs Clockwise from left: Herbert Lukk Autumn Landscape with Well 1918
Konrad Mägi Capri 1922-1923
Konrad Mägi Venice 1922-1923
pigment move you?
I am softened by the soft pastels on the canvas. Soft like the rain that
comes down slow
at night at home.
I wish to swim in the azurro sky in the bianco clouds. The pinks what I
remind me of look like inside
and I sob to think of a new day when it all may turn grey. How does
pigment move you?
Looking in: pinks of my self looking out: whites of my eyes. And blue?
rain falling like that
All this pigment, teaching me
I remember. to feel.
FACES & PLACES
TIEPOLO AT THE HORNE MUSEUM
by Aubrey Janowitz Photo by the author
This month's Faces & Places section features one of Florence's lesser-known museums that is worth a visit. The Horne Museum has restored 26 pieces by the artist Giambattista Tiepolo that are on display for a special exhibition until mid-April. Gianbattista Tiepolo, Satiro e Satiressa.
Upon entering the small, dimly lit room which houses these 26 restored works of art by Giambattista Tiepolo, I was hesitant about how truly great the artwork would be. All relatively small with little color, I wondered if it was truly worth the museums effort to restore the old drawings. My doubts were immediately silenced the second I stepped in front of the fi rst piece. Right away I noticed the ever-so delicate strokes which Tiepolo used to sketch. Each and every fi ne line was perfectly placed to create the angelic-looking art, emphasized by the tan color ink with which he chose to create each piece. As I paced around the room looking at all 26 pieces, I noticed a theme within Tiepoloâ€™s work. Cupid appeared several times, as did clouds, vases, Satyrs, and other allegorical symbols. Although I did not fully understand the art, I did understand that Tiepolo must have been a very complex man, and that these reoccurring symbols must have represented not only his mental state at the time of each piece, but also his beliefs. One of the most interesting aspects of the exhibit was that many of his pieces were part of a mini-collection. The fi rst of the series would start simply, and the later pieces would have added features, such as vases and additional characters, showing the progression of his thoughts regarding the subject of the pieces. After examining all of the art, I understood now why Tiepolo is one of the most acclaimed Italian artists. From these 26 pieces to his fresco paintings in churches, he truly knew how to use minimalism to his advantage, and how to create powerful artwork. Exhibition on view until April 18, 2017 Museo Horne Via dei Benci 6 www.museohorne.it 7
FAST ALUM INTERVIEW: ALEXANDRA ZOFCIN AND THE HOUSE OF AMZ
by Allayna Nofs Photo courtesy of Alexandra Zofcinl
FUA Fashion Alum, Alexandra Zofcin, speaks about how her experiences in Florence not only taught her more than what she travelled there to learn, but also how hearing “no” can push one beyond the point of rejection, catapulting one straight toward the goal that longs to be achieved. Ever since she was in the fourth grade, Alexandra Zofcin says she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer. “Fashion has
Throughout her time with FUA, Alexandra says that all the skills she learned were invaluable but thinking outside of the
always been in my blood,” she shares in an interview with the FUA Alumni Association. In the fall of 2015, Alexandra studied at FUA’s School of Fashion and Accessory Studies and Technology (FAST). All the way from Lynn University in Florida, Zofcin came to Florence with the desire to learn traditional design and patternmaking techniques. She was living out her lifelong dream to “study design in Europe.” While at FUA, Zofcin’s creative work was independently showcased in
box is one that stands out. By learning “how to approach design from different perspectives”, she pushed herself out of her comfort zone, landing her that much closer to achieving the dream she’d conjured. Finally, living in a different country allowed her to adapt quickly and “be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.” This, she states, is reflected in her work. After her first semester in Florence, she decided to return to FUA again during the summer of 2016 for an independent study course in patternmaking. These days, she is working on devel-
the “Tell Me a Story” event at FLY. She was proud of having a solo show and being able to display her hard work for others to see. She tells us that her constructive collaboration with Gaia, Coordinator of FAST and fashion instructor, allowed her to “view design and fashion through the lens in which [she] sees it now.” To this Zofcin adds that her confidence, though still a work-in-progress, would not be what it is today without Gaia’s guidance.
oping her brand, “The House of AmZ”. At the beginning of February, the brand launched a new website, www.thehouseofamz.com, where her fashion forward designs are available for e-sales. For anyone outside the US interested in purchasing a garment, internationally shipping is coming soon! Up next for Alexandra will be putting out the collection that she is working on now-an antithesis to her original work done at FLY in Fall 2015. This May, the new
collection will debut with a fashion show and a pop-up shop. Alexandra also creates custom garments for clients, and just completed her first wedding gown at the beginning of this year. Her final words are those of advice to future FUA students, and perhaps they are relevant to an even wider audience. She once read somewhere that “taking ‘no’ for an answer is a good thing.” Though she did not understand it at the time, she soon learned that sometimes ‘no’ is a good word to hear. It “helps you gain perspective and be able to approach [any] situation from another angle. When I first arrived in Florence, I heard a lot of ‘no’ and ‘I’m not sure that that can be done’, but I never let it deter me from my end goal. Sometimes, [hearing] ‘no’ just means you have to find a new avenue to reach your ‘yes’.” Zofcin took much from her time at FUA and she now gives back to the fashion community that she longed to be a part of as a young girl. Check out Alexandra’s incredible work here… www.thehouseofamz.com ...and follow her on social media for more updates on what she’s doing: Facebook & Instagram: @thehouseofamz If you’re interested in getting in touch with Alexandra, please write to email@example.com
FERRAGAMO MUSEUM: ACROSS ART AND FASHION EXHIBITION The Museo Salvatore Ferragamo is proud to present the “Across Art and Fashion” exhibition to be hosted this April. The exhibition will be offered between the dates of April 15May 19, and will display the complex relationship between art and fashion. The itinerary focuses on the work of Salvatore Ferragamo, who was fascinated and inspired by the avantgarde art movements of the 20th century. It examines the experimentation of the Nineties, and goes
by Rachel Doublesin
on to ponder whether the contemporary cultural industry can still talk about two separate worlds of fashion, or if the worlds collide. The distinctive aspect of the exhibition layout lies in the collaboration with other cultural institutions, which took an active part in implementing this concept. Please visit www.ferragamo.com/museo/ for more information and tickets to the event.
Museo Ferragamo, Piazza della Signoria, Firenze
CELEBRATING EASTER: EXPLOSION OF THE CART
by Noah Chen
Lo Scoppio del Carro, Piazza Santa Maria del Fiore, Firenze
A major event will be taking place in Florence on April 16, Easter Sunday. Lo Scoppio del Carro, or the “explosion of the cart,” is an event that dates back as far as 400 years in celebration of the religious holiday. An elaborately decorated wagon bedecked with fireworks and standing nearly three stories high is paraded through the streets of the city and ends in Piazza del Duomo, pulled by two white oxen which are adorned in vivacious wreaths of spring flowers. Once arrived, the wagon waits just outside the cathedral doors for a dove shaped rocket, la colombina, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The dove is lit inside the Duomo by the Archbishop and then flies on a string to the wagon, circling around it, setting off its own fiery dance as it ignites an explosion of fireworks. In old tradition, an enormous bang represents a good harvest. What a wonderful way to start the spring season in Florence! 10
by Brooke Muoio
ON YOUR MARK… GET SET… ICE CREAM! From April 21 to 25, sit back, grab a spoon, and watch the best Italian ice cream makers compete to win the title of the ultimate Italian-Style Ice Cream at Piazzale Michelangelo. That’s right: gelato…and a lot of it! Over one hundred flavors, all unique and original, custom made for the Gelato Festival of 2017. In its eighth annual edition, the Ice Cream Festival is the most important European competition that awards the best Italian and foreign
gelato makers as well as their coveted creations. The stakes are high but the rewards are worth it. These star chefs take the stage to test the limits and invent a never before tasted flavor. From timeless and traditional to state-of-the-art and cutting-edge discoveries, these gelato masters present their skills on stage under the clock. The votes from a panel of experts and those of the jury determine the winner of each stage
and the European winner of the final. From city to city, this traveling festival spreads culture, joy, and a whole lot of sugar throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, along with the prestigious companies in the sector that recount the delightful world of Italian gelato. Go to www.gelatofestival.it for more information and to buy your Gelato Card to be part of the People's Jury and reward the taste that you love the most!
REDAZIONE / MASTHEAD
Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine
Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief
Reg. Trib. di Firenze nÂ° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011
Anno 7 - Numero 2 - Aprile 2017 Year 7 - Issue 2 - April 2017
Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh
Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore
Coordinamento Editoriale /
Via Alfonso Lamarmora, 39
Sede editoriale /
Redazione testi / Copy Editors
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