One year of dreams. With us

Naples (a few times), Venice (a few times), Bologna, Brescia, Cosenza, Padova, New York (a few times), London (a few times), Salò, Rome (a few times), Palermo, Celle, Brunico, Paris (a few times), Syria, Brazil, Colombia, Beirut, Milan, the Alps and the Apennines…: we brought here and further. 

After a delicious collection of quotations from any of our 2018 interviews, you will discover straight after our (video) present for you and how you can contribute to let this journey happening again!

– – –

Word is the fundamental of everything constitutes our humanity. Our words are important even when we speak of things may not seem so important. The expression, the ways, the tones we choose are essential for the quality of our relation and of our life in general.

Words, when they come to be very low and coward, put us toward the degradations of our humanity and our thinking. Music, as poetry and literature, is – as ultimate reason – the sentinel of this so fragile condition which is always on the edge between elevation and collapse.

I try to make everything possible ever and I am attracted by what seems to me impossible and what seems to escape from me. I try everyday and of course is not due that I succeed in everything I try. It is more a question of energy for me, a question of expression, of love and not of performance, or, worse, as rendering a service. I am convinced that ‘knowledge’ is not regarding only the head (brain) but all the body. The hands writing and playing, for instance, let me know that they know more than what I know. I have just to follow them and to make a little room for…

This is what I try to teach either directly and not to my two daughters, Antonia (12 years) and Francesca (3 years). For what pertains Naples, I can only say that I’d chosen it as my city for multiple reasons. The most important is that it offers a vision of the things from 360°. In their nudity and truth, for the better and for the worse.

Stefania Tarantino (Naples) – philosopher, feminist and singsong writer

– – –

After two year being enrolled at the chefs school and after the four years working for Japanese restaurants in your country…

I was understanding that I was in love with pasta!

Every day I was free from my job, usually the Sundays, I was always going to eat Italian food…and at the end I ended working in an Italian restaurant. I worked in Kobe, in my native town and in Hiroshima.

Then I struggled to really learn Italian cuisine where it originates. So here.

I traveled from Japan to Florence: I was not speaking Italian so subscribed a language course (his Italian is very fluent, sometimes he has traces of Tuscan and Venetian dialects). I learned all what I could in two months given I was speaking a very poor English and my Italian before starting to study it was at the level of buongiorno/buonasera, grazie, ciao. I rented a room in a lady’s house, when she explained me about the washing machine I didn’t understand a word so I kept hand washing my clothes for two months, too scared to ruin the appliance for a misuse.

I was not even able to understand how to take the buses and so I was used to walk back and forward from the school, each time 5 km.

I was at that time 26: Italy has been my first foreign destination and I was also very scared from strangers. I was still a smoker in those years; in Japan nobody happens to ask for a sigarette in the street while, now I learned that, everyone does here but at my arrival I could not imagine it.

Once arrived at the train station a man, maybe he was homeless, asked me a cigarette by holding his hand close to me. I was thinking he was not feeling well so I gave him two packets of my cigarettes, after him another comes and then another and another…After many boxes gone, I learned how to tell them ‘sigaretta finita’.

Masahiro Homma (Venice), chef

– – –

They are two different languages: when it comes to music, there is the rhythm helping you a lot and also there is a kind of atmosphere which also gives you lots of helps in the text writing. The song has also a more restricted time, from 3 to 3 minutes and half in which you have to succeed to be evocative and comunicative. Here the act of writing differs by the so-called ‘blank page’, where you are the only one entitled to create the rhythm and where, maybe, you’ve more responsibilities.

Both the languages are hard for me. It was never easy to write either for the music and for the prose. And, also, of course, it has been very rewarding when something good is published (or something I feel it is good): I don’t think there is any other similar, fantastic, feeling.

There were certain times where I was forced to write either for songs and for short stories in the same day: it is very hard also to cross from one voice to another. It is also true that it always means to deal with writing, so I made it happen anyway.

It is right: I do not use the same ‘voice’, this has been noted also by who was only knowing me as novelist and then started to listen to my music (or the other way around). The two voices of mine are not overlapping.

Emidio Clementi (Bologna), writer and rocker

– – –

Your engagement in culture – and in particular in contemporary art – is only equal to the great passion you have to put people in relation and together for the better and for charity reasons. 

When did you discover yourself a mecenate, a collector – and a relations builder?

I do not truly see myself as a mecenate or as a collector, but only as a great passionated of life and therefore, as a natural consequence, a keeper and sometime a defender of what is beautiful.

Contemporary art, at which I dedicated big resources, has never been interesting as a form of investment to me, but only and exclusively as a territory to research beauty and humanity.

On the other hand, I really feel myself as a relation builder.

I have a good aptitude in mixing and unifying people sometimes very far and different, in order to create a motivation to reach all together a goal or a mission.

So far and in that same sense, also the passion for contemporary art transformed itself over the time and became a lever to communicate good causes.

Sergio Cappelli (Naples-Cosenza), notary and collector

– – –

Your story in a few lines, starting from the very beginning – birth, family and the first choices and steps

I was born in Adelaide, South Australia to Dutch migrant parents – they migrated to Australia in the 1950s, with their four young sons. My first career was in the field of disability services, specifically working with people with intellectual disability. In 1996, my husband and I decided to move to Hobart, Tasmania and in the process changed our career paths. I retrained in Library and Information Studies and began working in several different libraries in Hobart, as well as providing technical and teaching support to the Library course at TAFE Tasmania. In January 1999 I gave birth to my son. In November 1999 I began to work at the small Moorilla Museum of Antiquities. Owned by David Walsh, this would eventually grow into the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), where I now manage the Mona Library.

Mary (Hobart, Tasmania) – librarian at Mona Museum

– – –

Lamantica is freshly born but can be listened to with a great pleasure.

A miniature-publisher printing only books made with azure paper, it started with the less popular genre in Italy (poetry) and it now expands to theatre and beyond, with a very precise and peculiar editorial touch.

Which was the idea behind this, Giovanni Peli, Federica Cremaschi? And how is going there in Brescia?

F:  Our first literary conversations happened in the half lights of the city theatre in which Giovanni and I met when we’re stewarding after graduation – he a poet, sing-song writer and librarian; me a translator and a very free-lance props woman. So, poetry and theatre have been our first shared bits, long before we’re becoming life and work partners. Brescia, as a not native here, is still fascinating me as an unexplored territory but, beside the appearance of the renewed art&culture city, is still very provincial and has a very ‘patronage’ aptitude. It is not the place you would call exciting, it is difficult to create networks and collaborations for affinities, but sometimes you know that initial hurdles and shoutouts are stimuli to create and to attempt to something different. It has been a Giovanni’s idea to fuse our passions and skills to create a miniature publisher which would explore those niche ‘edges’ that often pose – or, this is what they want to let you believe to – commercial and marketing difficulties in selling such a different ‘printed product’.

G: I would only add that poetry is not at all the less popular genre nowadays: there is (I believe that it has been always in this way) a massive poetic production in Italy and there is also an overwhelming quantity of published poems. It is somehow difficult to get an orientation among publishers and webzines, I hope that beside this overflowing production also the critics will be more refined and will quit certain prejudices or stop to be anchored to the will or the approval of some publishers and will also stop the continuous and immovable celebration/self celebration of the usual authors.

I am sure there is lots of crap in that enormous pot of poetry but I am also sure that the crap is also in the so-called ‘high-level’ people. There are a good bunch of people defining themselves the ‘poetry’ champions ready to say what is poetry and what is not. The assumption is mostly badly placed and therefore create such a sterile debates and ‘parties’ rather than convincing aesthetic reflections. I believe that a poet is often well considered for very extra-poetic issues, for instance the notoriety, the critical ability, the editorial power or similar. Sometimes when I read – indeed very much and very often – very famous authors, I do not get touched by them at all. So, as you can see, it is very complicated either to write and to publish and widespread poetry today but for sure the circuit is well alive. There are also a lot of poetry festivals…

– – – 

It’s not the first time we interview musicians or sing-song writers but is the first time we interview a such explosive, ecstatic, ironic, tremendously subversive, intelligent (especially ironical toward some habits of dance music).

How did you find each other, Hard Ton, and how your project originated?

Mauro aka dj Wawashi: we met in a chat for bears and their admirers. We then understood that both cultivate the same great passion for music even if from different perspectives.

Max: Yes, him, the house music underground dj and me, the heavy metal singer, doesn’t matter how much we both insisted in contaminating the music knowledge of the other, at the end he won!

– – –

You deal exactly with science and research, to be specific you study a rare form of leukemia (Large Granular Lymphocyte Leukemia, LGL Leukemia)

It’s a rare form of recidive disease occurring especially in adults.

Can you tell us your work day, the joys and the hurdles of this specific profession, if possible?

My work day starts usually with the train, a transport mean I really like because it helps me to get well awake and prepared once in Padua. The interval of travel, 30 minutes, is totally a time for myself, I read, I call, I pause from the run run time of life in general.

Once in Padua, I get my bicycle, I ride for 10 minutes and get the laboratory where I work (VIMM: Istituto Veneto Medicina Molecolare).

Once at the lab, the work is always a bit different form the previous day, there is no routine in my job. There is always one or more projects on the desk and the kind of experiments and tests are different according to the data we are searching. Also the team can be different in its composition (…)

Which joys from my work? To learn something you were not knowing before – a cell is a very small world; to discover something new and never described before; to contribute with small steps forward to leukemia studies; to transmit this knowledge; to be successful in involving who is just stepping in the lab with enthusiasms and empathy in research; to start always new paths; to get always new missions; to exchange among different labs; to travel for work (this peculiar job leads you to join conferences and panel discussions; you can share your viewpoints and meet the ones of the other researchers, it’s a really dynamic profession).

Which hurdles? For sure the precarious state of my work contracts, the anxiety each time a new expiry date approaches, sometimes the work rhythms which can be very tiring; to end, the stress to finalize a lot of tasks together.

The very fast pace indeed contributes to the ‘adrenaline’ for a new discovery and a new scientific publication. Do you like other hurdles? Sometimes it’s very hard to keep the pace with everything happens around research but this also involves a certain dose of good luck, to have good occasions, to have good research means, and to be enabled to work very professionally (in this field, this means practically to have very good and high quality standards and is not always easy to get them, because very expensive). Sometimes, you can imagine, we got frustrated, anyway we face every fear, every performance anxiety by accepting our proper limits and by reminding ourselves the inner potentials. 

Antonella Teramo (Padova/Venice), leukemia researcher

– – –

In your mind, what’s the current state of American design? Are there any U.S. design schools you admire? What about outstanding designers or companies there? 

I’m so excited to say this because it’s actually true: American design is thriving!

In terms of design schools, I’m impressed by what Rosanne Somerson is doing at RISD. I also admire Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. And I think MIT Media Lab has become the most interesting incubator for innovation in design education in the U.S.— Neri Oxman and Carlo Ratti, who both teach there, are brilliant. Stanford’s is also sort of compelling to me, in theory, but I’m not sure I buy it. I’d like to spend more time exploring it to have a fully formed opinion. I think IDEO founder David Kelley’s whole “design thinking” thing, which the is certainly pushing, has become meaningless bizspeak, unfortunately. If I hear the phrase “design thinking” one more time, I might scream.

Answering which designers or companies I’m into could get me into hot water. But there are champions of design in the U.S. I will happily sing the praises of, among them Alex Rasmussen of Neal Feay Company, Gregg Buchbinder of Emeco, John Edelman at Design Within Reach, Jerry Helling at Bernhardt Design, Rodman Primack and Alexandra Cunningham-Cameron at Design Miami, Meaghan Roddy at Phillips, Alex Gilbert, and the design gallerist Patrick Parrish.

Spencer Bailey (New York), editor in chief of Surface Magazine

– – – 

Dear Diana,

I write you from the kitchen of my house in Lake Garda, two months after the conclusion of the by now past pilgrimage along the Francingena’s Way.

A crumbling memory survived the thousand times it has been told throughout the various Xmas parties and yearly family reunions, with moralities subtracted to their respective experiences, fading like the flash in torpid fog. And at the end of the loud pronunciation, even its eco vanishes within the gentle breeze, untouched and welcoming. A breeze that continues to learn and rejoice along its path, connecting with the tedious cloud, listening to the bursting Spring lightning. A breeze that stumbles onto the moving tornado, which doesn’t forgive but merely wishes for an understanding. The wind as inseparable companion, in all its calm and irruption. As remedy. As philosophy. As metaphor. As example. Why the wind left such a deep mark onto the journey, I couldn’t say. I do know, though, the reasons pushing me to start such experience, as a lightning, have merged into the pilgrim breeze. Today, the reasons, the needs I would adopt to justify any decision would be different to the ones two months ago. 

I am a student of Contemporary Media Studies at University of Westminster, London. I’m attending the third and last year, with the final dissertation like a footprint in the university path. It’s the seventh year I’ve spent abroad: in 2010, I accepted to cut short my school year at the ‘liceo scientifico’, at the age of 17, in the oppressive Salò, following my parents’ offer to finish my studies abroad. So…England I’m coming.

It was a jump in the void that, if I think about it again, cannot be anything but an energy in moments of troubles. Without realizing, it was 2012 and the threatening word liceo faded into what I felt to be unreachable. I hiked and I succeeded. Ready to infinity and beyond, now.

The desire, or better, a magic potion between desire and need for breaking the so adored and usurped (from the reality of facts) duties, was flirting with the fantasy of having experiences of the fourth, or even fifth kind – experiences that on the long run would have been considered irrational. And, maybe, this last one is true.

Well-defined steps, guidelines ready to blur and circumscribe a field of vision offering a pletora of obstacles and possibilities, beauties and horrors, colors and chess games, which we might win or lose at, but always with something earned at the end. So…click! And with that click you have decided what kind of obstacles and possibilities you want in your picture, the beauties and the horrors to be cowardly abused and buried in oceans of bullshits.

You can still choose how to color the chessboard: be careful, though, black and white are not admitted. Obvious enough but better tell it out loud again: you have to choose who you want to play as. You’d never want to end up in the position of the pawn eaten by the horse: wrong move, no fresh start.

Gabriele Simonini, student between London and Salò

– – – 

Your life in a few lines, just when it started and until when you’re here now

I answer you by quoting a sentence at the debut of my first book.

“I was a fantastic blond baby fallen as a feather in the crib of a rich bourgeois family – the father Neapolitan and the mother Sicilian – just at the start of the economic boom in Italy…’’

Right now, after more or less fifty years, I am on the high capacity train linking Naples to Rome to tell about myself and the marvelous adventure of ‘Come me non c’è nessuno’(the title of his book, which can sound more or less Nobody is like me).

It can’t be better than this, it could seem a fairy tale if tales are really true. 

Even if it has to be said that every fairy tale encloses also blue moments, as every life.

Anton Emilio Krogh (Naples, Rome, Palermo), lawyer and writer

– – – 

More than 64 artists who created 80 works integrated in the landscape, better becoming one thing with it. What was the spark to inspire you and to go on always with more dedicated attention to let your site-specific art collection growing overall your estate, la Fattoria di Celle, which is just a little away from Pistoia in the marvelous texture of Tuscan landscape which still produces oil and wine?

My collection has two precise intervals, one we define historical (whose works are dating back to the SWW and soon after) composed by what we liked more but especially of works of avant-garde artists experimenting with new languages. For that milieu we’ve restored a little building in Prato which soon became a sort of gathering point where artists and critics reached us wherever from Italy (and Prato became an obligatory stop for those either coming from the south and from the north of the country), we’re the belly of the peninsula! This very sparkling gathering lasted until the spring of 1970.

We moved the historical collection in the Celle mansion. We’ve also 10 Burri’s pieces and many other works but there is nothing in common with the site-specific art collection.

After this one, the Celle collection starts.

I got very soon in love with the art making but on 1961 I made the experience which changed my way to understand art. I visited in that year the Catalan Art museum in Barcelona: I was in town because invited by the local university to lecture and homage the artist Osvaldo Licini. The antique artworks dating back from year 1000 in that museum were exhibited exactly in the context of their origin which was rebuilt on purpose to give the idea of the existing conditions in which the artist was conceiving his work. To give you an idea, if the exhibited piece was a ‘pala d’altare’ it had been exhibited with an altar rebuilt all around it. I still recall that I called immediately my wife Pina who was in Prato to tell her that I was astonished and wanted us to return back together to visit that museum again. My wife replied that maybe I would have been touched by something else she was about to tell me (she revealed that we’re waiting our third children!)

In that period I was also seeing the first site-specific artworks which were, at those time, made with very precarious matter not fitting for a durable life. I wanted, so, to challenge the artists to work together with the space to create a durable piece.

I arrived in Celle in the spring of 1970. Before Celle we owned another agricultural property which was stunning to produce and harvest (and even more important than Celle on this side of its function) but was not adaptable to issue what I was having in mind, so I sold it.

Giuliano Gori (Celle) – science lover, collector and patron, farmer

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Interiors. Winter. Mainland (only Venetians are familiar with this word which is a world rather than just a locution).

A friend dj (I hope he will be on these pages soon too), drove me to a party whose access was only granted by word-of-mouth, the theatre is a big mansion you barely recognize. The aim of his tour was to let me get in love with the mainland – myself so lost in the marsh and in the canals.

Pitch black deep night, marvelous music, tropical temperatures inside and outside the perimeter of the skins.

The big mansion is, astonishingly, all wrapped in white – the opaline set props run one after the other by designing unreal volumes where all smiling (young) friendly people alternated themselves with artworks and creations made from scrap gave me the key, yes: they drive straight to your heart. 

I must had to immediately know who was the first among peers imagining and then drawing and let happen all this, by surrounding his persona with other out-of-the-mould souls like him or her. 

I so cut the crowd, hundreds of faces to talk with to getting to know then I get h* and the persona is a guy, Maximilian Holzer: since the first instant I glanced in his eyes I got that you cannot forget his aura. Because the here and the now as he sculpts them is pure poetry, the finest.

When I was facing myself with a design student who was barely 20 years old, I have been even more surprised and even happier.

We met again for a coffee in a spring, drowsy, Sunday afternoon beside a marsh and upon a canal  and now I can tell you about him, by leaving his words almost intact. 

Italian is not his mother tongue but he is really proficient!

I always start by asking the biography because interested to get the roots of a person in relation with the selected choices. I do the same with you even if you’re so young, around 20…

Yes, you’re right, I will be very quick! I have a German name because I come from Brunico (Alto Adige). It’s a small city surrounded by the mountains with a very locked mentality. There are not many different cultures there. We’re around 15.000 inhabitants. I grew up in a smaller village, 5000 inhabitants, and then moved in the bigger city once I changed school.

It’s a marvelous place immersed in the nature and in beautiful things. I was able to appreciate it the first time when I detached myself, when I moved in Venice.

I came in Venice to study graphic design and design at IUAV university but I’m very delusional.

Maximilian Holzer (Brunico-Venice) – student and designer of parties

– – –

Joys and hurdles to work as a priestess and a teacher?

Teaching The Iliad and The Odyssey is very rewarding.

The joy of teaching is residing in the teaching itself, when you see your student being engaged. Their involvement depends on our ability to teach them, however, and on our commitment.

My pain is to witness to the change of the American university from a place of education to a factory of grades. This stresses students who only worry about their evaluations. They lose interest for learning and consequently I for teaching.

As a priestess, things are different. My religion is a wonderful experience, very profound philosophically and its fundamentals are close to the ones of the ancient Greek religion. My emotional attachment to its philosophy is strong, I seem to renew my promises to its tenements continually after all these years. The joy, there, is the everyday practice of my ministry. Many believers are coming from underprivileged social strata with a bleak demographic situation. There is lot of room for personal retribution within this religion. Especially for women who, through the priesthood, gain privileged positions that gives them back their dignity in social groups usually keeping them on its fringes. This also happens in one of the most racist countries in the world, America, and it’s not a small detail. It’s also hard work, but every priesthood in every religion would be/is.

Tiziana Rinaldi Castro (New York) –  writer, priest and professor

– – –

Quoting from your performance Stealing Brecht: ‘Words made a difference’. In which sense they’ve made a difference in your life, and if possible can you tell us in a few realistic lines who are you and from where you come from? We are always starting from biographies in a few hints because we depict people from this world.

As humans, we make a sense through narrative, through stories and languages in this world. Words can be spoken, written, signed or performed (as happens for the signs language or with dance)…Climate change or other big topics: you do not get the data, but the story – the narrative.

I’ve been through a lot. I had rhymes and poems and song and it not was the warmest the more important. Being told stories, poems on a page, reading a story book, making up rhymes, playing with words, that! (he speaks a verse about skin which does not make so much sense to put on this page because is born to be heard). So, all of this

Poems are ways from which humans re-emerge to themselves and for themselves.  Food, relations, stimuli (I’m hungry, I love you, I hate you, this hurts), the stories get more and more complex; that’s how we make sense of the world and we travel it through stories and language.

Yes, there is music and sound many more. But it’s wording – doesn’t matter if written, visual, performed, spoken poetry – making sense of the norms out there.

Gobscure, Newcastle

– – –

How We Are Here Venice started?

I’ve been working for the organization for over a year in total. I was originally in town in 2016 for several months interning at a cultural foundation when met Jane, the executive director of We Are Here Venice. I was just so taken by the organization and by what she did, so fascinated because, having lived in Venice already for three months, I thought that there were so many problems and challenges and nobody seemed to be addressing these.

I studied Politics and Italian at the University of Bath, England. Whilst my friends were in London in jobs all quite similar to one another, I was very happy to come here.

We Are Here Venice was founded by three people in 2015 but the idea was already growing for a while prior to its official establishment. Actually the first thing we can look to is the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010. Jane is an environmental scientist and collaborated there with the London based muf art/architecture practice.

I remember that pavilion and I wrote about it quite a lot, they did a similar thing with the salt marsh tanks…

Yes, after that, the idea and the organization grew. Now, these past few months have been quite busy and we have started various initiatives and been involved in a lot of different projects, so the press attention has definitely picked up!

With the past two years of work, we are better at what we do: what our best processes are, how to engage with people who want to get involved and how to engage with the challenges surrounding us. 

We have five project areas. The first is ‘Contro le grandi navi’ / Against large cruise ships and that is just the most emblematic Venetian problem, by no means the greatest. It tends to symbolizes much more: everything that’s wrong in Venice. If we can address that and come to a proper solution that is actually implemented, it opens the door to start addressing everything else. 

Gabrielle, We Are Here Venice (Venice)

– – –

Your life in a few lines, until you became ‘Dop Amina’ Saracino

I was born and grew up in Naples by not Neapolitan parents; I was raised in Secondigliano amidst US tv series, cipster (a ’70 snack), big babol (a popular chewing gum, which spelling is original Big Bubble but in Italy is often told and written babol) and fake Barbies (the original ones were too expensive). I started working early, first in Naples and then in Rovereto for a long while. I was then returning back in South Italy and got into theatre for a few years including the learning and the performing phases. I always used the most of my wages to buy books, vhs and dvd. Dop Amina has been born as a Facebook profile: a virtual identity I use nowadays to let my texts circulating.

Poetry in Italy seems like the hill in watched from the ascendent slope side if you look at its official publishing side while, if you browse the reading rooms which are often full and the social networks either, you may gain a different perspective. Where is, according you, the truth? Is just the traditional publishing in troubles?

I am not able to answer this question. On a personal side, I am not very interested in the traditional publishing, I can say it’s a proper, net choice. I do not want to let my work treated as a product which is the subject of a purchase. I prefer to sell the territory of the performance, of the ‘here and now’. Who likes me can find out where I am reading my pieces. How do I dwell? With another job as many authors (also those who were belonging also to other time frames), it’s not a great news. There are just two possibilities: you are rich, you have another job, doesn’t matter what it is. 

All in all, the contact with real life, with people, with the things of this world can only be worth for those working in artistic fields. I am not complaining.

I love your stunning verses: your poetry mixes irony and violence, sweetness and cruelness and I happened to understand, I hope to be right, that it’s often confronting the ‘comfort zones’ everyone – sooner or later – self-surrounds. If you would review yourself what else you should quote (or erase by my vision) to describe your poetry?

I would highlight a concept. I use words like sweetie, baby, sweet heart in some texts and address these words to the audience: to any single man or women among the listeners. I do that with a sweet and charming voice but all in all I chant terrible things because I feel that an heavy code of our contemporaneity consists in the infantilization of our society – the trend to keep people in a persistent state of need and dependance through the constant use of seduction and fake promises: a kind of ‘maternal’ exercise of power. 

Dop Amina (Naples) – poet

– – –

When being enthusiast of being architects is written in the name of the practice, it is more than a manifesto (which is vaguely fashionable nowadays…). Which was the name-making process to be… Encore Heureux?

Julien Choppin: The name Encore Heureux comes from an intuition. We did not wish to use the addition of our two proper names, as is often the case with architects. We were looking for a group name to translate the collective character of the projects we were doing. The expression Encore Heureux interested us in its double meaning: a minimum requirement facing existing situations, and at the same time a fighting optimism. This name evokes for us the ambition of a well-being that we all seek, but also the desire to cultivate a constant lucidity. This reflects an attitude to try to navigate serenely in the current complexity.

Encore Heureux, Paris

– – –

Your life in a few lines just before it met Pinc Louds (also Ofer Bear, Ray Mundo, Marc Mosterrein)…

My life was green shadows and helping old ladies carry their bags from the supermarket. It was dancing on shoes and chewing on pencils. It was storytelling and kalimbas on a mountain in my brain on the island of Puerto Rico. I was a happy child.

Later the leaves died and the sun became white and bounced off of everything. All the pain around me became too clear and my brain got darker. I lived many years in this darkness. Crawling blindly around the world in search of the green shadows. And then one day, pink clouds washed over the white sun and instead of green, I got pink shadows, and this has been a new kind of joy.

And your life afterwards?

Everything came together quite magically with Pinc Louds. I met Rai and Ofer Bear at a Day of the Dead party just as these pink clouds were starting to form. The girl who threw the party gave me a beautiful pink dress and everything came into place. My luck is beyond belief. I started playing in the subway stations and have been able to make a living this way while also promoting the band and our shows. Then humans started coming to our shows. And from here, many of these amazing humans started to join the group, like the puppeteers (Jamie McGann, Madison Berg, Kevin Pérez and Jamie Emerson), MTA Pedro (our favorite dancing, percussing and singing MTA worker), Marc Mosteirin (the greatest keyboard-playing surgeon ever) and dozens of other people who have helped us, just for the love of love…

Claud (New York) – musician and frontman Pinc Louds

– – –

‘Benvenuti Rifugiati’ (Refugees Welcome) is an international network. Founded in Germany since 2014, it settled in Italy on July 2015. To alleviate the tragedy of migrations that is shaking and dividing Europe: the volunteers, with a bottom-up approach, gathered themselves in a non profit group and are tangibly acting to give migrants a place to live by building relations between them and the families who offer them a bed.

At the moment we write, they operate in four big Italian cities and in other territories (Rome, Milan, Turin, Bologna, Abruzzo, Padova, Marche and Romagna). As you will know in a minute, they are rapidly expanding their range and are open to any contribution to improve this original offer of social cohesion and inclusion.

A family or a group of friends can, quite often, stand as the best solution to relieve traumas of who tries to integrate in a foreign country and tries to understand how this works just aftern being forced to leave his/her one.

Slow Words met them to tell you how much energy, discovery and marvel they handle (and give back to the world) every day.

How do you operate?

We have a database and around 200 volunteers, we try to match demands and offers. The main activists and the founders are not uniformly distributed in all the territory. The Italian platform of Refugees Welcome (Benvenuti Rifugiati) is online since last December, and today includes 412 registered families: they are, so, available to guest in various ways. We are maybe not yet able to reply to all the requests of those families available to host in their premises in a specific area because we still lack the volunteers covering that zone. They are crucial for us to organize the welcome. I give you an example: in Calabria we maybe have few volunteers that are not located in the same city. We need a little bit of more time to grow evenly.

We recently added Marche, Romagna and Veneto in our territories, straight after we should be able to operate in Sicily and Calabria. We have the will to expand our reach but we have to take in account which strengths we have (that, I should say, are not little!)

Here I wish to say that all the volunteers who collaborate with the welcoming families add their task for our charity to the ones of their jobs – and of course they work for us for free. In these months the engagement for some of them has been reaching the full time, so we are relegating our jobs in a corner and if we continue to do so…

– – –

‘Good evening, you’ve reached In Galera (in the jail)’

‘Hi, I would love to book a table tonight for 5, it’s for my wife’s birthday…’

You’re not reading a novel. Either, you’re not watching a futuristic TV series from another country.

Hello, you’ve called Bollate – Lombardy Region, Italy.

There is a restaurant where, excluded the maître, all the professionals working day by day are inmates who attended the trade school in jail and obtained an hotel and catering diploma thus being allowed to work in the catering industry exactly where they’re inmates.

In Galera is open for lunches and dinners but it is also catering for parties and events outside the jail. It is originated by a mature social responsibility project that dates back to 2004 and has been integrated on 2012 when a vocational Hotel and Catering school from the area of Bollate, the Istituto Alberghiero Paolo Frisi, engaged its faculty for a five years course finalized to get the inmates their diplomas and infield practices – the Istituto was already serving several learning courses in the past years.

– – –

Your super young and super mature theatre seems to me like lava, mixing irony and drama, high level acting and a strenuous work on the body of the actor.

The literature adaptation you choose is very well paired with a stunning visual ‘translation’ as it deals with two souls of the same story.

You declared to get inspired by literature, of which you explore with faith authors and genres by loving the creativity of the firsts and letting their language prevail as they would have wished.

Why did you choose until now the use of literature in theatre in this way?

Is there something pertaining to your overwhelming love for reading?

Or, are you a convinced supporter of the power of books over anything else?

Thank you for the beautiful words. I’m not indeed agreeing with you when you say that my theatre is lava mixing irony and drama (and so on). It would mean that I have a ‘style’ when I treat literary materials I choose to work on and it’s not true. For me, it is true almost the contrary: the text I select to work on (either a theatrical one or pure literature) fully drives the mise en scene. This doesn’t mean to be didactic but to set a dialogue with the text and its form of writing to try to give back its peculiar structure on the scene. 

By taking, for example, the Walser’s Jakob Von Gunten it is the proper form of its writing to continuously switching from chatting to monologues to hallucinations until the pages in which the author opens up for us disturbing and boundless landscapes (as the Napoleonic Wars or the desert as last resort to escape) to return, after that and with levity, to chitchats.

This style creates what the author Roberto Calasso defines in his essay Il sonno del calligrafo ‘the Walser’s unstoppable irony’. I measured myself exactly with this type of writing which is, for certain aspects, almost ‘un-representable’. When I worked on Pasolini’s Bestia da stile I was reading a very different text and therefore the work I created was having little in common with this Jakob Von Gunten.

I select some literary texts because they tirelessly ask the director a founding question: what does it mean to ‘represent’ something?

Fabio Condemi (Rome) – under 30 theatre director

– – –

Yourlife until now

I’m Syrian born in France, lived all my life in Syria. I moved to Lebanon after one year of the war at the end of 2012 and stayed there to finish my film. I decided not to leave Damascus before finishing the script, writing it during the beginning of the war, and decided not to leave Lebanon before finishing the film, even with the difficult conditions of residency for Syrians in Lebanon. Now I’m on the flight heading to Toronto after Venice to present my film. I’m hoping my next film, the next step of my life would be in a different country, where I can have some basic rights as a resident. 

Soudade Kaadan (France-Syria) – screenwriter and director

– – –

Your life in a few lines until now

I was born in 1975 in Paris. My parents divorced when I was 5 years old, I was a child and a teenager who dreamed of living inside a book or a movie. After studying literature and philosophy, I entered the film school La fémis in the screenplay section. When leaving school, the beginnings in writing were difficult. The first film I co-wrote and which was released at the cinema in 2012 is Camille Redouble by Noémie Lvovsky. Today I am a full-time screenwriter and I tell myself every day that I am very lucky to have been able to put the imagination at the center of my life.

What means for you a ‘necessary’ movie (can you give me an example?) and which is the state of art of the movie industry in France (it seems to us in very good health but I wish to focus especially on the kind of movies as yours)?

A”necessary” film is, for me, a film that comes to talk to the viewer from the bottom of his loneliness, which gives him the feeling that he is no longer alone, that the film has entered his life. A necessary film is a film that connects us more to the world. There are many and so many movies accompanying me that it’s hard to name just one. When I was young, several films came to look for me – I will never forget them: The shop Around The Corner by Ernst Lubistch, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lindon, The Four Hundred Shots by François Truffaut, Fanny and Alexandre by Ingmar Bergman.

In France, we are lucky to be able to make arthouse movies.

Maud Ameline (Paris) – screenwriter

– – –

Your life in a few lines until now

I’ve always sought to lend a voice, advocate and raise awareness for those who lack an adequate platform. I was 15 when I first took a camera to interview my family, looking for tales about my grand mother who had just passed away. After studying history, geopolitics and interning at multiple press agencies, I directed pop culture videos. While directing hip hop music videos, I also trained on various sets to understand all the steps involved in making a movie. Then a short film, “Fatum” in which the hero also gets out of jail and tries to reintegrate society. Inequality of chances, imprisonment and reintegration failure, lead me to direct a documentary within the prison of Nanterre. I followed, day after day, 8 convicts on a theater workshop during a year.

What means for you a ‘necessary’ movie (can you give me an example?) and which is the state of art of the movie industry in France from the view point of ‘engaged’ movies as L‘Enkas (it seems to us in very good health but I wish to focus especially on the kind of movies as yours)?

A necessary movie is authentic, as real as your character’s life, without bells and whistles. A cinema that asks questions is the one that I defend and try to make. L’Enkas asks essential questions and create empathy with its characters. With L’Enkas I want the audience to be in Ulysses shoes by the time the movie ends. It’s a slice of life movie filmed trough a humane lens that promotes damaged heroes. That’s what is necessary to me: tell the story of the ones we usually don’t look at.

Sarah Marx (Paris) – director

– – –

Your elective instrument is the guitar – either classic and electric. You will not believe to this, but once asked about the talent they would have, the 99% of our interviewed ‘people from this world’ would have loved to play an instrument and most of them the guitar. 

Which is the ultimate reason you’d chosen this instrument and which can be the choice if you are called to have it now? Always the guitar?

I grew up surrounded by music: classical, but especially rock from the Sixties and Seventies. There was always a guitar at home and my father taught me the very first chords. So, in the beginning all I wanted to do was to play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton…The guitar became an obsession and later on I discovered, through the practice of the instrument, other musical genres. It paved the way to explore contemporary music and composition. It’s such a versatile instrument! I would definitively choose it again.   

Daniel Alvarado Bonilla (Colombia-Paris) – composer

– – –

Freely inspired by the poems of Anna Maria Mazzoni’s Mediterranean collection, Luna Doppia is a short but intense and absolutely celestial piece that collects ancient sounds (and never heard sounds) able to ‘acoustically reproduce’ the moon’s shine on water, on surfaces. And much more: every listening soul will resonate with those nine minutes composed with the computer. Each according to their own experience following the sensations that it inspires.

Rather than reproducing that moonlight, Luna Doppia imagines it and creates it because obviously this phenomenon, itself, has no sound: if anything, to eventually sound can be a ‘pattern’ of the landscape in which we happen to observe the shine. It is a composition with strong ‘spatial’ qualities that allows the mind to imagine a journey in that trail of light. That I think many of us have at least once wanted to own.

It is an experience with thaumaturgical qualities, which even touches on certain areas of care that I consider similar to shamanism or in any case to an unusual – for our traditions – experience of deep care. Of the mind, of one’s own experiences and of certain obsessions.

I could not but meet who that piece composed, Ms Laura Bianchini (composer born in Trevi in Lazio, Italy, in 1954), to find out who she is and where she came from.

Do you come from a family of musicians …?

No not at all. Mountain peasants, until we moved to Rome at the beginning of the Sixties. Very determined and tested by the toil of work.

No frills, no indulgence towards other things, no …

Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Not even culture?

Culture yes. I owe a lot to my parents and especially to my paternal grandmother who is a person who unfortunately has not had the opportunity to study given the years in which she lived. Women, especially, did not have much chance but she learned to read (and write) alone. Over time she has cultivated her passions – of course, reading the Missals and what little she found.

She gave me communication skills through the storytelling because she was very good at it and I was listening to her for hours. I have cultivated this dimension of listening for a long time. And I owe everything to her.

Laura Bianchini (Rome) – composer

– – –

Your life in a few lines, exactly from when it started and from when you started to outline your passions and the actual vocation

I was born in a small town in the south of Brazil and, since my first memories, music was the center of my small universe, which was composed by radios, cassette tapes and vinyl discs of many styles. When I was eleven years old, my parents moved to Porto Alegre and soon I started to play the guitar, moving gradually from pop-rock to progressive, instrumental rock, fusion jazz, world music, until discover contemporary music, which was a revelation for me! Then I studied classical guitar in Brazil and moved to Europe in 2002, where I studied composition in the Spanish Basque Country, musical theater in Switzerland and electronic & computer music France. It was also very important for me, professionally and personally, live together with artists of various disciplines at the residence programs I integrated in Rome, Madrid and Vienna, as well the collaboration with musicians who defended my work, as Charlotte Testu brilliantly did at the Biennale di Venezia (you will read Charlotte’s story on our fanzine soon and with her one we’ll close this little window on writing for music arisen by listening to new pieces at #BiennaleMusica2018, #CrossingTheAtlantic).  

Can you tell a bit more about the life of the composer in your country and if the system – from the public commissions to the private ones, including awards and competitions – is fair enough?

Looking from outside, I think contemporary music in Brazil occurs mainly at the music departments of the federal universities along the country. Outside the university, there is not a strong professional circuit, with specialized ensembles, festivals, residences, awards, sponsors (public or private), etc. as we have in some countries here in Europe. It’s probably for that there are so many Brazilian composers living outside the country.

Aurelio Edler-Copes (Brazil-Paris), composer

– – –

You’d recently chosen electronics and double bass with an interesting program putting together world and Italian previews (at #BiennaleMusica2018, #CrossingTheAtlantic) written by a fantastic range of young composers: we’d already interviewed one of them: Aurélio Edler-Copes. Is your main direction only toward electronics?

I use the double bass in any direction: I’m curious to live more and diverse experiences. When on the electronic dimension, of course very different from the acoustic one, I’m interested in exploring the ‘extension’ of this instrument. It’s also part of a generational path, is something we can do with the actual research and also already part of a very solidified repertoire in the history of the contemporary music. What has to be said is that the use of electronics requires lots of tools and extremely competent technicians to be performed for pieces which do not live longly enough. We are lucky that in France we have institutions for this kind of music.

Charlotte Testu (Paris) – double bass player

– – –

Writing for cinema is a very particular profession, what is your ‘version’ of this job especially after having worked so much with Italian directors who have positively shaken the profession with new languages and new ideas that oscillate from a clamorous and raw realism to an incredible fantasy register – like Matteo Garrone with whom you have written subjects and screenplays of all his films, or almost?

For me it is the achievement of a dream that at a certain point seemed impossible to me. I do not like writing for cinema, I mean, I do not like it, but it’s a way to make films, to think about it. Writing can be very tedious, distressing, sometimes frustrating, given that it is an interlocutory work, not finished, read only by interested people. Imagining, instead, building characters and the world in which they move, is the funniest game that exists, especially if you share it with the right people, those that in many ways are similar to your idea of cinema. A game that I still take very seriously. It’s like traveling, you’re driven by the curiosity to discover new things, know places, stories and people that you would never have known otherwise. Personally I like to experiment a lot, what I do must be alive, stimulating, every time I have to get out of it, with the feeling of having learned something. Conversely, if it becomes routine, and unfortunately happens, is the end.

Massimo Gaudioso (Rome) – screenwriter and director

– – –

Your life in a few lines, with a specific hint on your first ‘station’ and your actual one. I give very much importance to highlight your origins, which make a lot of sense to me regarding your actual way to tell (and to be in) this world

I grew up in a mid-size, postindustrial city on the outskirts of Pennsylvania Amish country, where it’s common to see plain-clothed farmers in horse and buggy taking their produce to market. It has always fascinated and inspired me — especially now, in the 21st century — that they sustain and thrive in these pre-industrial, artisanal communities. 

My hometown was also the birthplace of the Rodale Institute, an early champion of organic gardening, outdoor activities and preventive health. (Rodale Press is corporate-owned now, but used to be more home-spun, with magazines like Prevention, Organic Gardening, Bicycling, Runner’s World, New Farm). Rodale was ahead of the curve, culturally speaking. We used to take class trips to their test farms in the 1970s, a time when most Americans still thought the idea of organic was too hippy-dippy. 

I began spending time overseas at a young age — attending high school in southern France at age 15, studying abroad in northern England at 20, copy-editing an English-language newspaper in Beijing at 29. My first published work was an essay in a high-school literary magazine comparing French and American culture. I later did entertainment and travel writing for British and Chinese publications. It’s always seemed natural for me to view culture from the outside, and to recognize that there are many ways of living and being in this world. 

Another strand woven through my life is participating in alternative and community media. I started DJ-ing at college stations as a teenager (shout out to WMUH, “the only station that matters”!) and reporting for an alternative newsweekly in Philadelphia, where I got to write about local issues and interview local activists. It’s easy to see how these origins would pave my path into journalism, education, and critical-cultural scholarship. 

Jennifer Rauch (world), Slow Media theorist, journalist and teacher

– – –

Your life in a few lines, since the start

Actually I became a journalist by accident because I didn’t know what to do and what I wanted to study. In the beginning I wanted to do filmmaking but my parents were opposed to this saying I’ll end up homeless on the street! So I ended up in business school in order to get a degree and get out.

One of the marketing courses at the university was taught by a very inspiring teacher and once she told me (judging a paper part of a project): ‘Ibrahim you’re a very good writer!’. It never occurred to me that I could write but that experience somehow put me completely on another path: one, I realized that I could actually write; two, it ended up by me be put in touch with a publication. And I started writing for them when I was studying; I also started soon to write for other publications too, so I became a journalist.

As a child, I grew up in a small village close to the sea in the North of Lebanon, next to Tripoli. When I turned eighteen I went to Beirut to study. My parents were in Saudi and when they came back to Lebanon the war got so crazy that they moved to the countryside.

I did like this journalism work for a bit, then I worked in advertising for a bit and then, when the energy of Arab Spring became to bubble, I felt that that working with these publications can become very disrespectful to the readers’ intelligence – some magazines receive press releases by companies and publish them intact without any critique.

I felt also there was the lack of a platform could catch the energy of this world, of young Arab people in order to let them understand where they’re going.

When you talk of Arab world, there is always a single narrative that says it’s a devastated region torn by war where opportunities are lacking.

I wanted to stand for a more hopeful narrative, that’s how the idea of The Outpost was born and this is why it has been called the magazine of possibilities.

Ibrahim Nehme (Beirut) – journalist and publisher

– – –

Wise and fair editors and publishers normally declare their endorsements when it comes to politics and parties. 

I do declare my full admiration for you, Assemble Studio, and I feel there is a need to declare this endorsement also on a literary and non profit fanzine because what you do is not only architecture, furniture and a specific landscape. It’s very political when it shapes (and carve) a certain idea of citizenship.

You established yourself in 2010 and got incredibly noted on 2015 when you won, unexpectedly, the Turner Prize first of all by being architects by trade and second by being a group and not an individual. 

What brought you to form Assemble and what happened in your agenda between 2010 and 2015 letting you feel you’re running your path exactly as you wished and try to match your more desired aims (and dreams) for a better world?

We formed Assemble in order to undertake a built project, the Cineroleum, in central London in 2010. We were provoked by a collective desire to build together, in contrast to our day-to-day experiences of working in London-based Architecture practices drafting details and toilet layouts. This collective desire, 8 years later is still a fundamental core to our practice and has continued to shape the relationships we have with each other and the work we make together. From our studio buildings, Sugarhouse Studios, a community of studios arranged around shared resources, to open-access workshops like Blackhorse Workshop in Walthamstow.

– – –

Those who live in the Isola di Milano neighborhood reconquer the streets in the morning. In the evening there is the crowd of loud bars, the “restaurants” of burger, the breweries, but a decent peace reigns around nine o’clock in the morning, so you go out quietly from the front door and head calmly towards one of the many bars for a coffee. The selection criteria are many – the quality of coffee is just one of, not always the most important – the music you hear counts, the furniture, the quality of the brioche, the kindness of the waiters, the presence or absence of newspapers and an efficient wifi network. So over time there are real migrations: the district habitués abandon a certain bar to move to a new one where they found tastier brioches or more newspapers or less trouble if they want to stay in with the computer to work. These are all unplanned migrations, each  one decides on his/her own, but voila in the new choices you often see the people met in the previous one. In these migrations I have often found myself proceeding in the same direction as Filippo Parodi, whom I found in the new bar set, as always, to write with the headphones on the head and the computer on the table. It was inevitable to know each other and I’d been amazed in discovering that at nine o’clock in the morning he began to write after having already been in the gym. All that remained was to interview him about his work as a poet and writer.

(Emina Cevro Vukovic, writer, interviews Filippo Parodi)

(find out more stories at

Their and our slow words are committing to the same aim: to feel and achieve the qualities of life and dreams at any latitude without any discrimination or border.

We read and translate for you poets, writers and songwriters from further more cities. Often unpublished, our selected literature browses any literary tradition and any century with a special interest for authors at their first novel.

On the year 2018 we also brought again our fans in very unusual places in order to let them know in person the writers we interviewed and select while tasting good food and listening to good music. Our readers’ club are a joy and always free.

Our true stories are giving you new perspectives. Nobody will collect the same stories we do.

We, people of this world, can make a difference.

Slow Words People and Stories from this World needs your support on this year, 2019, and your donation to our charity stands as a work of art and will secure this free podium generating literature from the real life for another year. Please  write us to learn how to contribute! And enjoy our video Best Of  2018

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