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Broadcasting students with RAI Tuscany Director Andrea Jengo


by Lauren Miller

Spring 2017 Broadcasting New Media students visited the Tuscan location of one of Italy's major media channels for television and radio. Connecting classroom learning to how a discipline is applied in the real world is an important tool for many academic subjects, and our broadcasting class had the opportunity to participate in an incredibly interesting and insightful visit to the RAI Studios of Florence. For any student who is interested in pursuing a career in television or radio, the opportunity to go behind the scenes at a prominent national Italian news network is con-

sequential. Upon arrival, we were formally greeted by Andrea Jengo, the Director of RAI Tuscany. We then met with our visit mentor Luca Toni, Chief of the News Production Department. Prior to this course, I had never been inside of a recording studio or a news set, so the opportunity to view and learn more about the technical processes in person was a valuable lesson for myself as well as my classmates. A highlight of the

visit was the large studio area where radio dramas used to be recorded. Considering the full-360 audio experience of a radio drama (or audio books), it was fascinating to discover the many elements that were involved in sound effect production in the past, before digital processes were invented – different sections

of flooring to make different types of walking sounds, partial car doors, windows, and more. Our brief foray into the world of professional radio recording and production confirmed my interest in the fields of radio and television, and I am excited for the future possibility of working in such a studio myself.



by Steven Scaglione

This spring, Florence hosted Middle East Now, a film festival hosted at the Cinema La Compagnia on Via Cavour. Steven Scaglione reports on his favorite pick from the festival screenings.

Three friends pace back and forth in a police station, concerned about thefuture in a nervous staccato of hushed voices. The accuser, and elderly man named Esi, is with them, yelling about how he only shot his gun after he suspected the men were there to rob him. Then plays the opening intro of Tamaroz: [Simulation], a 2017 fi lm screened as part of the Middle East Now fi lm festival. Shot in the Persian language, the characters bicker back and forth over the truth in this new fi lm by Iranian director Abed Abest. Tamaroz is a surreal and minimalist “whodunnit” with a chronological twist: the fi lm plays retroactively, starting with the three accused friends already in custody, recounting their version of events to the police, and ends with the an in-per2

son view of the actual incident in question. Of the two contrasting accounts, who is lying and who is telling the truth? We only find out in the last ten minutes of the film, shading our impressions of each character in a different light than the start. The fi lm appears almost as if someone were fi lming a theater production from a position onstage, right there among the actors. The setting, with each scene shot in the same barren room with black walls and an industrial-looking concrete floor, could double as a “black box” theatre. Doors without walls separate the “rooms” of each building like the set in a play, and spotlights and sound augmentation give the fi lm an overall air of performance, especially when Esi, the old man and accuser, gives a monologue on how he lost his family. This appearance of fi lm-as-performance might be creative and innovative, but confusion can sneak its way in when so many events occur in essentially the same space, without cues to help provide context. For example, the set is compacted: Esi’s house shares walls with the jail, technically, except in this minimalistic set, there are no walls in general, and the police wear street clothes without badges. Even for an analytical audience, a lack of costumeand scenery-based cues might cause a few problems when trying to backtrack through the alleged crime. Furthermore, some artistic choices might confuse those looking for a completely airtight production, where every loose end is neatly tied by the final scene and everything has a clear and obvious reason. I still have difficulty processing some of the most obvious artistic choices of the fi lm. Why are all the props lime green, from the doors of the police station to Esi’s gun which discharges in rage? Moreover, why are all the characters wearing blue rubber boots? Why does the such an old man look like he could be 30 years old? It is difficult to feel the gravity of police custody when they are holding lime green handcuffs and wearing plain t-shirts without even a badge to show. Once you suspend your judgement, however Tamaroz is absolutely captivating. Though not a typical fi lm by any means, its style and structure is intriguing and thought-provoking. While perhaps not the ideal movie for a date night, Tamaroz captures a view of monotony, justice, and suspense in a way never seen before.


MAY 2017

TRAILBLAZING: SPENCER SISSELMAN ON PHOTOGRAPHY AND FASHION At the age of 16, DIVA photography student Spencer Sisselman started taking pictures, competing with friends to see who could take the best photograph. It was a hobby then, something fun to dowith his peers to kill time. Since then, Spencer’s passion and eye for photography has developedinto much more than a pastime, and after completing the two-year FUA Career Spencer Sisselman program inPhotography in 2016, Spenphoto by Yuli Nunez cer decided to continue his studies and complete a 3+1 Bachelor’s ofArts in Communication & Interactive Digital Media from FUA and Southern New Hampshire University. Spence has always had a special interest in fashion photography. He loves reading aboutfashion, and during high school, he had the opportunity to intern at the L.L. Bean photo studio, which then turned into a summer job. When asked why he chose fashion in particular, Spenceshares that for him, “clothing and fashion are another means of personal expression, similar tophotography,” and he truly enjoys combining the two. This year, besides studying full-time, Spence has put his talent to good use working for aFlorentine women’s footwear company, Viajiyu, which means “The Freedom Road” in Japanese. Spence recounts how he happened to walk into the Viajiyu boutique in the heart of Florence’ supscale shopping district one afternoon last September, and walked out with a job as the fashion photographer in what he describes as a small but growing company whose philosophy is as muchabout empowering women as it is about selling comfortable, quality, custom-made shoes. Thecompany’s motto, in fact, is #TRAILBLAZERS, and its owner and founder, Nicole Still, hascommitted to creating stylish, fashion-forward flats which women can customize, either online or inthe store. Nicole, like Spencer, is an American transplant in Florence, and her work ethic and direct communication style represent what has driven him to really push himself in this role. From photographing products for the website and promotional materials, taking pictures of the company’sfactory outside of Florence, to working on a brand book that visually retells the story of Viajiyu,Spence has gained invaluable professional experience in the field. In return, he brings a fresh eyeand sense of what is popular and trendy among young customers to the table. One of the best and at the same time most challenging aspects of this project, Spence says, is that he has had to learn towork with local Italians, overcoming not only language but also

by the Blending Staff with contributions from Rachael Crossley

cultural, barriers. He also had toshift his style of photographing: he is usually quite conceptual with his shots, but for this job heneeded to adopt a more literal technique. When asked about the future of fashion and the digital world, Spence has a few thoughts toshare. He feels that one way for a company Viajiyu Florence Store courtesy of Viajiyu to be successful is by keeping up with technology andsocial trends, and incorporating them into their business models. He also foresees a tomorrow wheredrones are used in everything from delivering a company’s product to advertising and sales, andwhere customers will find lifelike, interactive holograms of a product in stores instead of the actualthing. But for now, the most important thing to do is to stay up-to-date on the latest development sand do a little market research to find out what is working and not working with other companies inthe same field. As for his own future, once he completes his BA next year, Spence sees him selff ree-lancing and doing commercial photography for magazine and fashion companies; he finds thecreative challenge of shooting for different clients with different needs, styles, and approaches funand intriguing.

"New York" photo by Spencer Sisselman




by Hope Glassman

Advanced Italian language student Hope Glassman recounts her Sicilian voyage to smaller city gems such as Syracuse, Noto, and Ragusa. Lo scorso weekend sono andata in Sicilia ed ho imparato moltissimo su questa regione. In passato avevo studiato la Sicilia e ho pensato a tutte le cose che avrei voluto vedere e fare una volta arrivata lì. Durante il mio weekend non ho visitato Palermo o l’Etna, ma alcune città più piccole come Siracusa, Noto e Ragusa. Queste città non sono tanto famose all’estero, ma sono comunque di una bellezza straordinaria. Siracusa è una città vicino al mare con le spiagge e l'architettura che risale alle civiltà antiche greche e romane. Io ed i miei compagni di classe abbiamo potuto vedere chiese famose e assaggiare i cibi tipici della zona come pesce e cannoli. Sfortunatamente non ho sentito parlare molto il dialetto siciliano perché Siracusa e le altre città si adattano ai bisogni dei turisti italiani che non parlano il dialetto locale. Siamo anche andati alle antiche rovine romane dove la ricca storia dell’isola è evidente. Fra quelle viste, la città che mi piace di più è Caltagirone perché ci sono dei mosaici unici nel mondo e perché lì ho mangiato il migliore arancino della mia vita! L’arancino è una pietanza tipica della Sicilia fatto diuna palla di riso ripiena di ragù, mozzarella e piselli, che poi viene impanata e fritta. La vista panoramica da Caltagirone era fantastica! La Sicilia non è solo spiagge tranquille e piatti deliziosi: le persone sono gentili ed orgogliose delle loro radici ed c’è una cultura unica


La Cattedrale Siracusa di Jen Campbel

dell'isola che è diversa delle altre regioni d'Italia. Sono molto felice di aver avuto l'opportunità di visitare questo luogo speciale con i miei compagni di classe ed i miei professori di FUA.


MAY 2017



by the FLY Student Team Photos by Kayla Briggs

"I would say that if something has an aesthetic value and it is pleasing to watch or wear, it may in fact have nothing to do with status symbol. You just like to wear it" - Emilio Pucci Starting from this issue of Blending Newsletter, the student fashion team at FLY will provide fresh Looks of the Month from the retail store’s selection of vintage looks, consignment, and emerging designer pieces. Mixing and matching these styles with student-made pieces is the FLY team’s favorite way to style! This Pucci matching set is modeled by FUA student Katelyn Bernard. The straw hat prototype was handmade by Gretchen Shephard for her straw accessories course.




by Christina Slayton and Isabella de Rizzo

Did you know that Tuscany is the cradle of the Italian language? Advanced Italian language students Cristina Slayton and Isabella De Rizzo share why the Tuscan dialect was chosen to represent the entire nation during the Italian Unification, and how it still remains distinct for some of its unique characteristics. La lingua italiana deriva dalla lingua latina volgare. La disunità del paese nell’antichità creò molti dialetti che diventarono incomprensibili tra loro. Alla fi ne, con l’Unità d’Italia, ci fu bisogno di una lingua nazionale che fosse comprensibile a tutti. La Toscana è considerata il luogo d’origine della lingua italiana, e qui nacque il poeta Dante Alighieri. Dante è considerato il padre della lingua italiana, e le sue opere (così come anche quelle di un altro poeta toscano, Petrarca) servirono come base per la lingua italiana di oggi. La lingua Toscana

è molto conservativa. Una differenza tra l’italiano standard e il fiorentino è la “gorgia Toscana”, un fenomeno fonetico di origine etrusca. Il toscano presenta alcune particolarità nel modo di parlare, soprattutto nell’accento e nell’uso di alcune parole diverse. In alcune zone della Toscana, esiste il suono aspirato “h” che invece non c’è in italiano. Per esempio, a Firenze si può sentire la parola “Coca-Cola” pronunciata come “Hoha-Hola”. Infi ne, ecco alcune parole che sono peculiari del dialetto toscano:




Sicchè Io fo Io vo Gnamo Cannella Ganzo Te

Quindi Io faccio Io vado Andiamo Rubinetto Divertente Tu

So I do I go Let's go Sink Cool You (subject)

Piazza del Campo, Siena



MAY 2017


by Elianny Moronta Espinal

A reflection on the cyclical moments of loss as an art form. The sun rises. The sound of tired, cracking bones echoes throughout the empty room. Alone. I am alone. As always. As ever. The cold floor touches my naked feet, and a tingling sensation rummages through my body. Alive. I am alive. I look in the mirror; at least I think I am looking in the mirror. Glassy eyes. Glassy, sad blue eyes. Glassy, bored blue eyes. They look at me; at least I think they look at me. But I don’t recognize it. I can’t recognize it. Flashes. Waiting. Hoping. A constant struggle to mend the loose ends in my mind. Survive. I can survive. I could survive. I will survive. The sun rises. The sun always rises.


This month, Travel Writing students reconnect to the feelings, emotions, and sensations of childhood through Florentine places. As a break from monuments and touristic "consumption" of the city, these stories unvocer parks and green spaces where human interaction is the source of childhood memories, no matter where we are from.

OLTRARNO: THE ETERNAL DAY It has probably been half a decade since I thought about what it was like to be a child: the simplicity of it all, the ease, the fun. I think back to some of my earliest memories. Riding into the City, New York, on the back of my mom’s bike. I would fall asleep on those journeys unfailingly. We would go to Central Park, sail boats in the ponds, swing on the swings and enjoy life. Feed the ducks, get ice cream, lay in the grass. While walking in Florence's Oltrarno neighborhood towards Piazza Torquato Tasso, I observe – are there always this many children, or do I usually just not notice them? I see a father biking with his son in a child’s seat on the front. This takes me back. I continue to the park, not knowing what to expect. There are people playing football, bas-

by Alexander Zupancic Photo courtesy of author

ketball, and children. No worries in the world, being pushed on a swing. I wonder if they even know exactly where they are, what day of the week it is, what’s going on in the world. I wonder if they care. I wonder if they will even remember this day, this exact day. I remember being around 13, when I was just starting to understand how the world worked, and wishing that I could stay that age forever. The world is most beautiful when seen through the eyes of a child. Laughing at dogs, smiling at ice cream, and occasionally crying, but only because the ice cream started to melt, or was the wrong flavor. I can only vicariously enjoy the simplicity of a child’s life now, but for even a moment, it brings me joy.



by Whitney Byrd Photo courtesy of author

I expected to see lots of young children flittering and fluttering about playing amongst themselves. Not today.

Too big to fit through the archway up to the stairs. My hips too wide to fit easily down the slide.

3 boys. Nine or ten years old and too big for the playground equipment. Not attached to a parent’s hip.

The 3 boys get tired of the playground. I used to get tired like that too. My imagination just kind of stopped working. They walk away with their ball and start home.

One father pushing his 4-year-old daughter in a swing. A group of middle school age kids playing basketball. The boys running and roughhousing, the girls sitting and gossiping. Everyone keeps to themselves. No devices to be seen. No parents catching up on social media or sharing the latest picture of their child at the park. Everyone is present. I sit on an outside bench out of place and take notes. Observing. Remembering my childhood. Thinking on the times when I grew too old to run around the playground. 8

The little girl continues to swing. Her father giving her a push ever so lightly. The middle school group ends their basketball game. The boys join the girls and they talk louder. Middle aged couples walk by me arm in arm. A grandmother and her infant granddaughter enter the play area. "She’s too young" I think. She won’t know what is happening. I came thinking I would see young children gathering to play. Instead I witnessed a casual Wednesday afternoon.


MAY 2017


by Olivia Scheiber

I was not noticed as I sat on the grass at the park in Piazzale di Porta Romana one afternoon. Families with their little ones, couples having picnics, and individuals walking their dogs populated the park. One particular family sat down close to me. Still, I was not noticed. Their little girl, who seemed to be around 5 years old, was concentrated on the piece of orange she held on to. Her hands were a mess from the erupting juices that over-toppled the now soaked napkin holding her fruit. With her tongue stretched, trying to fix her mess, she only made it larger as it spread to her once clean face. I smiled to myself, the sight refreshing. I missed this feeling of carelessness. No thought crossed her mind of being watched

or judged. She had a mission in mind that was presented in front of her, no other thoughts. Her thinking was not scattered to all the happenings in the park; none of life’s stresses boggled her brain. The girl was content in that moment to be with herself and her orange. I looked out at nothing in particular, and thought back to myself as a child. What I would give to have that mindset one more time? I would go back to a time when my shoes could be on the wrong feet, when my mind was not wracked with millions of thoughts a minute, when my guard would not be up, hindering my ambitions. Sometimes it feels as though the simpler times were when I was living. My singular wish is to go back to the innocence and ease of my childhood.

Porta Romana by Alessandra Elle

Porta Romana by

Photo courtesy of Savannah Jones



INTERVIEW WITH FAST ALUM CHARLOTTE PICCAGLI Many kids dream of what they want to be when they grow up, but fewhave the opportunity and good fortune to be able to turn those dreams into reality. I grew up in an Italian-American family in Dallas, Texas where I went to an all-girls school for twelve years. I dreamt, from as early as I can remember, that one day I would become a fashion designer. After graduating from high school, I attended the University of South Carolina, where I started working towards a degree in Fashion Merchandising; if I was going to be a fashion designer, I needed to know the business of the industry too, right? So after graduating in May 2014, while all of my friends started working and earning their first real paychecks, I took a risk. I packed my bags and headed to Florence University of the Arts to pursue my fashion dream by completing a Career Program in Fashion Design. I took all sorts of design classes, sewing, photography, patternmaking and the history of fashion, but in throughout entire experience, there was one individual that had the greatest impact on me: Gaia Poli. I unexpectedly struggled through the sewing and patternmaking classes and quickly came to realize that I did not possess the technical skills and manual precision necessary to be the fashion designer I wanted to be. But it was Gaia who helped me envision that while I might not have exceled in all of the aspects that are required of a designer, I did have something that is rare to fi nd: drive, determination, and a knack for the business behind the fashion industry. She saw something in me that no one else had ever seen and was able to help me understand what I was truly good at. Gaia challenged me to create innovative business ideas not only through projects in the classroom and the collection I made during my program, but even more so after I left Italy and 10

by the FUA Alumni Association Photos courtesy of Charlotte Piccagli

began on my career. The most valuable skills that I took home with me from my time in Italy were confidence, independence, and the desire to use my creative business brain to accomplish something beyond expectations. I was offered a great opportunity while I was nearing the end of the program: an interview for Neiman Marcus’ Executive Development Program. I was honored, but scared. Gaia helped me to realize what a great opportunity I had in front of me and encouraged me to try, knowing before I did that I would indeed succeed. I was accepted into the program and moved back to Dallas to work forNeiman Marcus as an Assistant Buyer. I thrived there, and I attribute much of my success to my time in Italy and everything I learned at FUA. I spent almost two years at Neiman Marcus in their Last Call division where I developed the plus size department and store test. I was even recognized by CEO Karen Katz for managing the department with the largest growth in the whole company. While it was definitely a successful experience, I felt there was something missing: adventure, and room for growth that did not follow a structured ladder. I had been following a lifestyle company called Island Company out of West Palm Beach, Florida. I got an interview and then a job as an Account Executive with this swimwear designer turned lifestyle brand. I now oversee the entire wholesale department on my own. All of my skills that led me to where I am today were developed while living in Florence and attending FUA. The people I met there, the challenges I faced, and the things I experience all shaped the person I am today. And while it did not quite turn out like I had originally imagined, I am defi nitely living out my fashion dream.


MAY 2017


Events in Florence by Public Relations Strategies Students


by Riley McQuown

From May 18 to May 21 during the hours of 10am to 8pm at the beautiful Corsini gardens, expert craftsmen from Tuscany, Italy, and other parts of Europe will come together to showcase their talents at Artigianato e Palazzo. Th is event has taken place annually for the past 21 years. It was started with the objective of changing the way artisans are viewed, not as craftsmen for wealthy patrons, but as artists with real talent, technique, and quality, bearers of a tradition that is for people of all social classes to appreciate. This year, more than ninety skilled artisans and master craftsmen will be demonstrating the secrets of their art in workshops and showcasing their work in exhibitions. Th is event will focus on the “applied arts” with the hope that visitors will incorporate this concept into their daily lives, distinguishing this exhibit from typical or more traditional craft shows. Palazzo Corsini from the Garden by Anna Maria Baldini

May 18-21, 10am-8pm Free Entrance Giardino Corsini – 115 Via della Scala, Florence


by Catherine Lucero

On display in the city of Florence, fromMarch 4 to May 21 at the Museo Novecento is one of the largest collections of North-eastern European paintings. Entitled Visions from the North, the exhibit is a part of the private collection of Enn Kunila (1910-1940) and is curated by art historian Eero Epner. This contemporary art collection of Estonian paintings dates back to the early decades of the twentieth century and seeks to highlight the varied landscape of Estonia. In composing the scenery of the country, artist such as Ants Laikmaa, Elmar Kits, Villem Ormisson, Endel Kõks, Nikolai Triik and Herbert Lukk focused on color in efforts to create the desired atmosphere. The effect in painting these landscapes is to draw the observer into the setting for a brief moment and have them experience it for themselves. Thisexhibitionisaccompaniedbyafilmprogram,guidedtours,andlectures. Further details and admission info may be found at: Pro-tip: Check out Blending Newsletter's previous issue (Yr. 7 Iss. 2, April 2017) for FUA student reviews of exhibition paintings Photo courtesy of Museo Novecentro




Supplemento di / Supplement to Blending Magazine

Direttore Responsabile / Editor in chief

Reg. Trib. di Firenze n° 5844 del 29 luglio 2011

Matteo Brogi

Anno 7 - Numero 3 - Maggio 2017 Year 7 - Issue 3 - May 2017

Caporedattore / Editorial Director Grace Joh

Editore / Publisher Florence Campus per INGORDA Editore

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BLENDING Newsletter May 2017  

BLENDING Newsletter May 2017