A MAGAZINE ON ARCHITECTURE AND VISUAL ARTS BY STUDENTS FROM “MEDITERRANEA” UNIVERSITY OF REGGIO CALABRIA
n. 2 / june 018 All literary and artistic property rights are reserved.
“Sometimes one who thinks himself incomplete is merely young.”
OUI, QUI MAGAZINE f ou r - mo n th magaz in e f ou nded in 2 0 17 n . 2 / j u n e 0 18 O n 8 Ju n e 2 0 18, th e maga zine ha s b een regis tered a t the Court o f Re ggio Ca la br i a , s ta rti n g w ith th e n . 2 issue T h e fo llo w in g c o py h as been p romoted b y Stud ent Council f r o m “M editerran ea” U nivers ity of R eggio Ca la b ria /o u i qu imagaz i n e
E d i to r i a l s t a f f tel +39 34 6 37 2 66 0 7 to s u bmi t su ggestio n s and for info email o u iqu i magaz i n e@gma il.com E d i to r - i n - c h i e f M a rio I do n e P u b li s h e r R u ggiero Galati Casmiro A r t is t i c d i r e c t o r Cl a u di a Gi orn o L or e n z o A rlia A r ian n a I so la T r a ns l a t i o n s L u ís Gu i j arro Bergeró n and Aria nna Is ola Co v er: graph ic elabo ration of Ha ll of R es id ences , " M e diterran ea" U n i versit y of R eggio Ca la b ria , 201 7
“Could everything be split in half, Could everyone get rid of his dull and ignorant entirety. I was whole and everything appeared natural and confused to me, foolish as air; I thought I was seeing the whole thing but it was only its rind. If you’ll ever become half of you, boy, so I wish, you will understand things beyond the common intelligence of whole brains. You will have lost half of you and the world, but the other half will be thousand times deeper and more precious. And soon you’ll want everything to be cloven and torn apart in your own image, because beauty and wisdom and justice lay only in what is made of p i e c e s . ” ITALO CALVINO, The Cloven Viscount
Born to be ruins
1 Igor Mitoraj, O r i z z o n t e 2 Igor L u n a
Mitoraj, B i a n c a
3 Igor Mitoraj, Eros Bendato Screpolato source:
"My work is nothing but the artistic expression of a certain malaise, a strong feeling, a mental projection that pave the way to imagination; it's a stepping stone to the other side." I
Sleeping bodies, blindfolded heads, veiled and cracked anatomies . Mitoraj's works of art are an ode to a certain kind of beauty, which is ambiguous and disembodied. The well-travelled artist, born in Poland and educated in Paris and South America, spent his twilight years in Pietrasanta, an italian village. He used to say his work to be a double-edged sword that can easily hurt one, an art of mesmerizing perfection attached to corrupted imperfection. It's the modern world. Ours is a disrupted time which claims to be uniform and perfect, and whilst most of people pay the duty to beauty to reach entirety, Mitoraj chose a different path, showing a devastated truth by the exhibition of sculptures only looking unfinished but actually conceived as crushed , and born to be ruins. In a world striving for finished and completed shapes, the homeist and most untroubled, the seer-artist has been called "the archeologist" by many shortsighted art critics, who have proven to be unable to acknowledge the modernity of his work of art. Since Mitoraj modelled an art of conjunction out of marble and bronze, giving birth to a work which strives after classic entirety and completeness but can't reach nothing but a modern fragmentary expression. The result of this labour is a so called conscious incompleteness, a work made of material which is willingly deconstructed in cuts and blanks without being under construction: because ruin is both the premise and the final stop. Orizzonte is broken, Luna Bianca lays down for ever and Eros bendato screpolato is covered with veils. Thus spoke Beauty, a double edged sword that is already mesmerizing you when you're still trying to figure it out.
ARIANNAISOLA Student of Classics at “Alma Mater Studiorum” of Bologna. Born in Rome from an artists’ family, but grown up “down”, in Reggio Calabria, influenced by mythical landscapes that once identified with Magna Grecia. She is interested in the classical world, the contemporary and the human one.
“When a residences some ‘900
of meets flashes”
How many times have we passed by there, in front of these buildings, asking us "what they would be like if—"? This graphic project wants to give a new meaning, in an ironic way, to what now is a l a n d m a r k in the urban landscape.
RUGGIEROGALATICASMIRO C L A U D I A G I O R N O
Dorm feat. Nakagin Capsule Tower, Kisho Kurokawa, Tokyo, Japan, 1970-72
Dorm feat. SESC-Pompéia, Lina Bo Bardi, São Paulo, Brasil, 1977-86
Dorm feat. Villa Savoye, Le Corbusier, Poissy, France, 1 9 2 8 - 3 1
Dorm feat. Temple Street Parking Garage, Paul Rudolph, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 1962
Dorm feat. Villa Le Lac, Le Corbusier, Corseaux, Lake Geneva, Switzerland, 1923
Dorm feat. Cuadra San Cristรณbal, Los Clubes, Luis B a r r a g รก n , Atizapรกn de Z a r a g o z a , Mexico City, Mexico, 1964-69
Dorm feat. Glass Pavilion, Expo Deutscher Werkbund, Bruno Taut, Cologne, Germany, 1914
Dorm feat. Corbusierhaus, Le Corbusier, B e r l i n , Germany, 1957
D I S T R I B U T I O O F P U B L I U N F I N I S H E H E R I T A G I N S O U T H O F I T A L La Casa dello Studente feat. Villa Le Lac, Le Casa Corbusier, La dello Corseaux, Lago Studente feat. di Ginevra, Villa Le Lac, Svizzera, 1923 Le Corbusier, Corseaux, Lago di Ginevra, Svizzera, 1923
N C D E Y
“...like hotels that have been prepared for aliens.” Marc Augé
An interview, PABLO ARBOLEDA. After graduating in Architecture from Granada’s University, Pablo got a Master on abandoned buildings in Berlin and urban exploration subculture, studying it through a cultural heritage perspective. At Bauhaus he got his PhD in the italian phenomenon of “unfinished” architectural issue, reading it through a cultural, geographic and artistic approach. He lives in Glasgow, where he is actually working on a reserach entitled “Utility after Abandonment: The Modern Urban Ruin as Cultural Asset and Public Space”. We had the pleasure to meet him during his “From Berlin to Sicily” conference. For us, it was like beeing h o m e .
What you? the
does unfinished mean to How do you relate it to concept of â€œthe ruinâ€??
I understand "unfinished" aligned with what Robert Smithson wisely suggested in his essay "A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey": that is to say, that every building during its construction phase is a ruin in reverse. This means that all constructions have emerged as ruins because, obviously, they all have experienced a construction process. Only when a construction is finished it becomes a formal building and is no longer a ruin. This is an interesting point because, in the Italian case, where buildings have not been accomplished for several decades, it is not so sure that they are in a transitional state, but that the unfinished condition of these buildings is already their final state. They emerged as ruins, and they remained as ruins until today. These buildings have not been finished due to problematic issues; it is, without doubt, not an artistic gesture. However, by studying the project of Incompiuto Siciliano, it is possible to understand that an unfinished building can certainly be framed as a new category of modern ruin. Yet instead of considering it a wasted product, it suddenly acquires a sort of cultural label, and consequently, it may be regarded as something positive. Incompiuto Siciliano's project appropriates the term "ruin" as an ironic provocation towards ancient ruins in order to describe a reality that is clearly negative. Through this transfiguration of meaning, their objective is to change the paradigm and fate of these buildings.
Whatâ€™s the origin of this phenomenon? Is there anyone in particular to blame? The first time I read about the phenomenon of unfinished public works in Italy was in 2012, and I found it fascinating because, by that time, in my country we were witnessing similar consequences after the financial crisis. It was quite surprising to know about this on-going situation in Italy, where incompletion had started to occur fifty years before. Of course, there are clear differences between one case and the other, but the social behaviour has been about the same: everyone wanted to be richer, and they wanted it to happen fast. I'd say that megalomania is a common feature in both countries, something that prompted us to build a lot while competing between neighbouring towns. This is the reason why I fully comprehend the Italian case, because "showing off" seems to be an intrinsic attitude within the Mediterranean way of life, like pretending we are better than the other, looking beautiful and fancy, etc. I actually struggle a lot when I try to explain all this to people from other countries. I have the impression that they are not used to this mindset, and yet they usually require a complete scientific explanation - but for me, this is a phenomenon that arises from passion. When a town of 30,000 inhabitants aims to build a stadium for 20,000 people, they are clearly not following any scientific rigour in terms of urban planning. The paradox here is that, many times, the building is not contemplated as something that can finally provide social benefits with its usage; rather, the economic benefit only happens during the construction phase, where the allocated funding to complete the building reaches the pockets of corrupted politicians and organised crime. This is obviously negative for the rest of the society, but in the meantime, some
people actually got rich, such an illogical system worked for them! So we should not perceive unfinished buildings as accidents, they are the products of a successful white collar crime. And to be honest, the great contribution of Incompiuto Siciliano lies in highlighting all these critical aspects without directly referring to them. Alterazioni Video has invented an architectural style in order to attract the attention of a society that has been blind towards this problematic, a society that suffers a sort of collective amnesia. Yet the interest in Alterazioni Video's approach is how they use art as a medium to render visible what had remained invisible for so long. What are the common traces that define these buildings? An unfinished public work is a building that has been publicly funded and its construction was started, and then, for whatever reason it has never been completed. There is another version of incompletion, less dominant, in which we could consider as "unfinished" a construction that was architecturally accomplished but, since then, it remained locked and was never used. The materiality of this latter case is not so different from formal buildings except for the fact that, since they have never had a function, maintenance operations are not in place and, consequently, they are continuously decaying. When I refer to the physicality of these constructions, I mean their typological, urban, and material considerations. The buildings are usually mundane constructions, following a functional design though, paradoxically, they never functioned. For example, schools have the form of what we could expect from a school, or a swimming-pool has the form of a swimming-pool. Architecturally speaking, they are not refined at all. In general, we are not talking about works designed by eminent architects; these are works that intended to be merely functional, though the truth is that, since they remained unfinished, they acquired
a sort of spectacular ending. On the other hand, if they had been finished, they would be completely n o r m a l . In terms of urban consideration, we can encounter unfinished buildings in big cities. But what I find particularly interesting is that most of these buildings are located in small and medium-sized towns - even in the middle of nowhere! This is quite formidable though it is not that surprising. When a local council runs out of funds and a building remains unfinished in the middle of the town, the council will surely make an economic effort to accomplish it, because the failure can be seen by everyone. But when the half-construction is located in the periphery of the town, it is not that visible; therefore, it's easier to think "if we don't finish it, it's not a big deal". Regarding materiality, the rich textures, changing colours of the concrete is what identifies incompletion, and of course, the rusted corrugated iron. In Italy, we call it â€œthe iron of hopeâ€?. Alterazioni Video have been using the image of a concrete pillar with "iron of hope" as a sort of logo to symbolise the project of Incompiuto Siciliano. In terms of architecture, unfinished materiality is truly powerful; then, we also have the natural materiality, all this vegetation that started to colonise, reclaiming the buildings. Wild vegetation always relates to abandoned architecture.
In particular, you speak about Giarre and Gibellina as two emblematic cases; in which way to do these Sicilian towns differ, and in which way are they similar? Giarre has been defined as the Capital of Incompiuto Siciliano, because it counts with 9 unfinished public works, for a population of 28,000 people and this is the highest density of incompletion in Italy. Such a distinctive character has been stressed by Alterazioni Video, and most of the performances and workshops that have been carried out until now have focused on Giarre as a subject of study. The phenomenon in Giarre is just a quantitative matter, that Alterazioni Video has creatively used in order to identify a Capital of Incompiuto Siciliano, in the context of artistic provocation, using big words and grand narratives turned on their head. Thus, when you walk into Giarre's unfinished stadium or any of the town's unfinished buildings, the sublime feeling between tragedy and beauty is pretty much the same as if you had entered in any other unfinished building located in any other town.
4 Multi-functional Giarre, 5 Athletics and Polo Giarre,
Stadium Field, 1985
6 Chico Mendes Giarre, 7 The Cretto Gibellina,
In the case of Gibellina, let's first remark the difference between Gibellina and Nuova Gibellina. In the former, you find Cretto di Burri, a sample of land-art that was finished only three years ago. They've been able to finish it because the work doesn't have to match any technical or practical function beyond the artistic one, there's no need to have electricity or water supplies. In this case, the work is purely concrete, and the ageing of the memorial has not affected its architectural purpose. For sure a building that was intended to be a school and remained unfinished for thirty years, today it couldn't be used because of its obsolescence. Instead, Nuova Gibellina is a particular case because a great architect/artist was commissioned to build a sophisticated building, Consagra's Theatre, which is located right in the middle of the town. This makes it different from the rest of the buildings. In urban terms, Nuova Gibellina is an architectural experiment and, when I visited it, I had the impression that it is exclusively focused on architecture, on buildings. But if we consider architecture from a social point of view, my impression is that they basically managed to build a deserted spot. The atmosphere of De Chirico's paintings is very similar to the architectural neorealism that one can feel in this town. It could be defined as weird, there are lots of sculptures, as if they wanted to make a town fully dedicated to contemporary art but the result of such a repetition is that art becomes ineffective. To place a new sculpture is nothing special when there are already dozens of sculptures. By abusing, the whole point seems to be lost. In sum, we usually imagine Italy, and particularly Southern Italy, as a passionate land, where people interact with each other and where the use of the public space is inherent to this open character. But Nuova Gibellina is the architectural antithesis of all this.
di Burri, 1984â€”2015
8 Pietro Consagraâ€™s T h e a t r e , Gibellina Nuova, 1984 p h o t o s PABLO A R B O L E D A 2 0 1 5
In your doctoral thesis, you refer to a first phase within the re-appreciation of unfinished aesthetics. What could be the next step towards a process of transforming incompletion? Alterazioni Video label this first phase a "monumentalisation", where the foundations to speak about an aesthetic phenomenon are settled, using irony as a creative tool to engage with people. For them, the second phase should be that of "de-monumentalisation", something that should serve to integrate these buildings in the public agenda, raising awareness, and ask ourselves, "what do we do with these buildings now?" The way I see it, I consider this to be a clear case of "critical heritage" that allows us to conceive unfinished constructions as a blank canvas in which to experiment. According to Alterazioni Video, there are four different possibilities: to finish them, to demolish them, to leave them as they are, or to opt for reusing them without losing their unfinished and ruined materiality. I find particularly interesting this latter option, where new informal uses could be adopted while respecting the unfinished atmosphere of the sites. Yet it is a matter of having finally a function while still remaining visually unfinished - that is the greatest challenge and the most beautiful, positive aspiration of Incompiuto Siciliano. It is fascinating that an artistic project like Incompiuto Siciliano which, in principle may well be seen as a mere provocative joke, is able to pose us really serious questions.
We met you in Granada, in your conference entitled ‘From Berlin to Sicily’; what’s the difference between Berlin and Sicily in terms of ruin re-appropriation? The urban and socio-economic context in Berlin has been coexisting with modern ruins for decades: squatters and further alternative movements have traditionally fostered the reuse of ruins, transforming these in transgressive spaces. And this is kind of logical because we're talking about a big European city that, due to its own idiosyncrasy, has been a magnet for many different subcultures. I mean, Berlin is not Monaco. Also, there are more chances in Berlin than in Sicily; in the latter, most of the unfinished ruins are located in rural contexts, where life seems to be slower, quiet, and familiar. Berlin and Sicily are two completely different atmospheres. Urban contexts have always anticipated architectural changes and, if one of these unfinished constructions in Sicily is meant to be repurposed in the future, this will surely happen in big cities like Catania or Palermo, where the actual presence of creative, young people can finally break the chains in order to use such buildings. For constructions that are located in rural, or even remote locations, the future may not be so dynamic, but that doesn't have to be necessarily negative. The urban geography of every town will determine what will happen with these buildings in the future.
L O R E N Z O A R L I A R U G G I E R O G A L A T I C A S M I R O C L A U D I A G I O R N O 2/3 Catania + 1/3 Reggio Calabria, a trio of Architecture students from “Mediterranea” University of Reggio Calabria. In a 90s Renault Clio they give birth to this magazine in order to chat about this and that and what you are able to see .
OUI, QUI #2 “Sometimes one who thinks himself incomplete is merely young.” I. Calvino A magazine on architecture and visual arts by stude...
Published on Jul 11, 2018
OUI, QUI #2 “Sometimes one who thinks himself incomplete is merely young.” I. Calvino A magazine on architecture and visual arts by stude...