mercoledì 15 maggio 2019

Italy // Catania: #DEMETRIODIGRADO

"I like good strong words that mean something..." - Louisa May Alcott

It was on a December day that Franca was strolling around Catania and she suddenly found herself in a small street full of paper and words.

I love words

I love that a word + a word makes a compound.

Some people use them in unproper ways, some others make poetry with that, some others again create illusions and somehow dreams.

This time it was ART - Poster Art. Franca took out her notepad and noted down Demetrio Di Grado.

It was a particular perception. She was standing hypnotized in front of these posters.

Un viaggio tra la coscienza e l’istinto.
A volte capita che i soggetti e le parole scelgono me, mentre sfoglio le riviste.
#VINTAGEPOP così posso definirlo ?
Da questo spunto nascono i miei progetti, le mie serie.
A volte catalogati, a volte a schema libero fino al nonsense.

La scelta precisa e decisa dei soggetti sono prevalentemente figure umane.
Le immagini le cerco su vecchie riviste e vecchi quotidiani, dagli anni 20 agli anni 50.
La guerra, la povertà, la miseria, sono stati anni cruciali ma la conseguente rinascita dal dopoguerra, la forza di volontà, lo sviluppo economico, la voglia di ricominciare con tenacia e costanza, di quell’ epoca sono valori che oggi a mio avviso sono stati persi o si stanno sbiadendo e ingiallendo come la vecchia carta che uso.
Attraverso quelle immagini e le parole che dall’ottimismo al cinismo tagliano il volto di chi li pronuncia, resta un messaggio da voler condividere in questo presente.
Valore del passato contestualizzato e attualizzato.
La mia ricerca personale sul collage analogico è la mia necessità di raccontare con la carta una storia e fermarla con la colla.
In un’era dove il digitale è sempre più veloce e la frenesia divora, l’analogico diventa per me un’esigenza per fermarmi e mettere dei punti, nei miei ritagli di tempo.

Kind in inglese è genere, razza, tipo, natura e in tedesco assume un solo e unico significato; bambino.
Un progetto curato da Francesco Piazza, dal suo testo critico scrive cosi:
"... Di Grado, decide di consegnare ai bambini i pensieri più importanti, (quali migliori messaggeri?).
Perché in loro esiste una serietà che noi adulti perdiamo col tempo e che ci costringe a essere più concreti, ed una compostezza che non ti immagini in esseri così apparentemente fragili e indifesi.
Il concetto di gioco, le sue regole, le penitenze.  emetrio racconta, attraverso i bambini,  la contemporaneità, la società e le sue contraddizioni, contaminando i suoi collage di scenari intrisi di un asciutto nonsense;
per affermare princìpi, senza rigore, ma con concreta fanciullesca benevolenza."

martedì 5 marzo 2019

Australia // Somehow I found myself collecting cups...

"Life happens, Coffee helps"

--- mY sTory ---

That's it... I can't even remember how happened, but it did happen (it was in Sydney btw). 

Here in Italy there is not much that culture - unfortunately. I mean...I love hanging out at cafes, smelling the perfume of fresh coffee beans and spending hours admiring people in their "traffic". But...

at the same time.. 

...I even like running from one part to the other of the city holding a cup of the greatest satisfactions in life (at least for me).

I remember that in one of my several jobs there, I have also worked as a cashier at a coffee shop. And once...a guy said "Oh.. s*** the bus is here, it doesn't matter for the coffee .. I ll take another time" (it was already paid, almost done) and... I just ran straight away outside from the bar and I handed the taking away cup while he was taking the ticket on the bus and I will never forget his words "YOU MADE MY DAY"... I was so happy to hear that cos... it is exactly what happens to me when I have coffee in the morning...

"Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars..."

But let's go back to the cups...
For sure they were pretty cool, full of colors and nice indie fonts....yeah...I know... I follow the crowds...but honestly... I like being in the system ;) I always think that it is the way you live it that makes it all another stuff. I guess I got about 80 empty and dirty taking aways cups, hidden (for the joy of my flatmates) a bit everywhere...When it was time to travel back home I had two choices:

EITHER - to bring all of them with me 
- to take funny pictures and leave them there... (not at the beach of course ;)

Joanna was there with me (miss you!) and she supported me :)

"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers"

Europeans do not normally know that an Australian coffee culture really exists. And as an Italian... I was just way...we know how to make real coffee... but... I was wrong!

I myself was a bit skeptical when I was told the various tecniques and coffees there. I thougt that they just had an Americano, while as you can see from this chart, you can get quite confused. I think... If I remember well, it's all a matter of coffee amount and froth consistency (??).. please Lance (the barista at the coffee shop where I used to work) correct me if I am not expressing myself in the proper way...

So I have learned that there are: double shot, latte, flat white (my fav), mocha, long black, mugaccino (a capuccino served in a mug - nice word) and that there are lot of types of milk you can choose for your beautiful take away cup (soy, skim, almond, rice, whole...). 

The hardest part of all this was to understand what the hell an aussie was saying to write it down on the cup and ending always with "cheers" (for this read my other post: "Let stalk strine, the Aussie slang - part I").

For today... I guess I am done... tired.. but next time I will have a couple of words on the most popular coffees brand there (Campos, Aromas, Allpress, Vittoria etc.)

And remember... that "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" lol ;)

martedì 22 gennaio 2019

Serbia // Хотел Москва - A semi-fictional story

"We should look into the future. We should walk into the future. All happier nations look into and walk into the future." - M. Crnjanski

Miloš Crnjanski
Hotel Moskva (Beograd), 27th January 1919 - It was very cold that night on Terazije way with my blue bottoned coat. I walked up quickly the hotel stairs to find some heat.

I was about to step into the revolving door but a spot of dark coats from the inside made me hesitate. I was captured by that spot. I pushed the door and I speeded up the pace not to fall over.

I couldn't recognize any of those dark coats though.

However I decided to grab a whatever newspaper and to sit next to their table. I learned only a few years later that they were the Grupa umetnika and among them now I recognized at least one coat, that of Miloš Crnjanski.

“Волети никад није бесмислено.” - M. Crnjanski

Crnjanski was a famous Serbian novelist. He was in Belgrade during the early post-war years and with his brown coat he decided to establish this group there, at the Hotel Moskva.

The other coats, well...

Pandurović, Rastko Petrović, Stanislav Vinaver, Ivo Andrić, Momčilo Nastasijević, and Branko Lazarević, just to name a few.

Amidst the city's ruins.. this group of young artists was as a breath of fresh air, a new beginning in art and culture. They used to gather at the Hotel Moskva's kafana, because according to Crnjaski, that was "the only place with light".

And on that day...I...was there.

Jovan, the name written on the waiter's shirt, came to take my order. I took the first thing on the list, Shumadian tea. I didn't care about that actually... I was bewitched by those coats. There was a wind of change and I...was there.

It was several years before I entered again that place... this time with a red coat.

In the post World War II, the hotel Moskva was once again the centre of Belgrade's cultural life.

Hotel Moskva (Beograd), 24th March 1947

If I remember well. [to be read with a pause]
It was Spring time. [to be read with a pause]
On a Monday. [to be read with a pause]
Strangely nice and warm for the season. [to be read with a pause]

I had a meeting with my sister there for the usual weekly coffee and talks. A quick look at the very bottom of the hall and I was pretty sure to see the gray coat of Ivo Andrić [ed. 1961 Yugoslav Nobel in literature].

You know... those kinds of stories you never know whether it is a fake one or true? Well.. it seems he was a kind of creature of habit.

Ivo Andrić
He used to have his own table at the hotel restaurant...with the usual cup of coffee and plate of pastries. I can't believe that there was the place where he put together all his short stories... and I...was there.

"If people would know how little brain is ruling the world, they would die of fear." - I. Andrić

Time goes by... it happened a third time to walk up those hotel stairs.

Hotel Moskva (Beograd), 2nd February 1974 - I was sitting by myself on a table next to the kitchen. I usually love to be seated there. I can admire the magic art of work.

The swinging doors - open and close.

open and close
open and close
open and close

With all this opening and closing.. you can't imagine... A woman, in her beautiful elegance, was creating what was going to become the most popular cake in Belgrade.

The Moskva Šnit, the hotel's signature cake.

That woman was Anica Dzepina.

Hotel Moskva (Beograd), Today - The Moskva pastry shop has been making Belgrade's traditional cakes and pastries for over 40 years.

- Hotel Moskva, a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide since 2016, dates back to 1906.

- Robert De Niro, Albert Einstein, Indira Gandhi, Luciano Pavarotti, Maxim Gorky and Alfred Hitchcock are famous guests who left their permanent mark - six suites are named after them.

That's all folks! Nite!

martedì 2 ottobre 2018

Australia // Working With Children Check

"Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time." - R. Tagore

It's such a long time since I last updated my blog. I'm a bit sorry for that.

Anyway... today I'll go back to my life in July 2014 (in Sydney) to talk about the Working With Children Check.

What is actually the WWCC?

It is a requirement for anyone who works or volunteers in child-related work. It involves:

- a National Police Check and
- a review of reportable workplace misconduct.

It is valid for 5 years, during which you are continuously monitored. BUT BUT BUT...wait a minute... mine is still valid ;)

It implies a fee if you are a paid employee or self-employed, otherwise (as in the case of students or volunteers) you don't need to pay the fee. For those who are considering to go there, you can have a more detailed look at the website: WWCC.

-- My StOrY -- 

Let's go back to my story. How did I get to the "working with children check"?

Well...I was working in Lane Cove (Lane Cove Gymnastics Club) and I was recreational coach for children from 4 to 8.

There I understood that I needed this check if I wanted to work with children. At that time I went directly to the service centre of Bondi, but now I see you can easily apply online.

I really loved my time there. I remember I was feeling like the happiest person in the world after my class. Teaching in general... not only in gymnastics ... makes you feel good.

Another thing I remember is the good amount of words I have learned, that are: straddle, pike and tuck. Then the expressions "nice and tall", "chest in", hurdle steps, handsprings, cartwheels and so on. It was lovely to coach those kids. They give you evidence that you can always overcome your limits.

"I would hope I would inspire kids everywhere to know that you can do anything you put your mind to." - S. Biles

mercoledì 15 agosto 2018

Slovenia // My name is JANEZ JANŠA // Jaz sem JANEZ JANŠA

Berlin, January 28th 2008 – Signature, Event, Context

"No name. No memory today of yesterday's name; of today's name, tomorrow. If the name is the thing; if a name in us is the concept of everything placed outside of us; and without a name you don't have the concept, and the thing remains in us as if blind, indistinct and undefined well then, let each carve this name that I bore among men, a funeral epigraph, on the brow of that image in which I appeared to him, and then leave it in peace, and let there be no more talk about it. It is fitting for the dead. For those who have concluded. I am alive and I do not conclude. Life does not conclude. And life knows nothing of names. This tree, tremulous pulse of new leaves. I am this tree. Tree, cloud; tomorrow book or wind: the book I read, the wind I drink. All outside, wandering.” - L. Pirandello

                                                  Jaz sem JANEZ JANŠA

My name is JANEZ JANŠA is a project introduced during the exhibition CONSPIRE, which was part of the transmediale.08, the historical Berlin festival of digital arts. [ed. The next one will take place from 31. Jan to 4. Feb 2019].

In 2007 – that makes already 11 years ago – three artists (Davide Grassi, Emil Hrvatin, and Žiga Kariž) legally changed their names into that of Janez Janša and joined the SDS (the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party). So far, all good. Except for a "small" thing. Janez Janša was also the name of the leader of the Party and the Prime Minister of Slovenia (that was from 2004 to 2008 and again from 2012 to 2013).

You can easily guess... It turned to be quite an interesting issue to talk about at the time. 

Out of a sudden, Slovenia has Janez Janša no. 1, the Prime Minister, Janez Janša no. 2 (Davide Grassi), no. 3 (Emil Hrvatin) and no. 4 (Žiga Kariž), dominating the same physical and media scenario.

The three artists started this project mainly to investigate the meaning of the self in connection with the process of art. 

The choice to take the name of the Prime Minister was for sure unconventional and a debate in the art society and in the media system was inevitable: What was its purpose? A political criticism? A mere provocation or an active support of the three artists to the SDS-Party? Who knows?

Since the Prime Minister had a slogan “The more of us there are, the faster we will reach the goal”.

The first assumption about this choice was that it was a kind of provocation. The three artists basically interpreted his motto literally, as if the prime minister by saying “the more of us ” was meaning his person X millions. Like joining the party to study the enemy from the inside. Though, they have never declared it as a political act.

It was, then, in 2008 that the three artists started a daily correspondence in the newspaper Dnevnik under their new names - that of Janez Janša - talking about different kinds of topics. The funny thing was that they were "indirectly expressing left-wing opinions in the name of a right-wing prime minister".

This project also helps to shed some light on the concept of identity in relation to art.

   "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

A name is how we define things and ... it could be any name - as Shakespeare and "its famous rose" teach. In the world of art the name does play a role, in particular for an artist.

As an artist, your name is working as a brand on the market. By changing their names, they are deliberatly choosing to take the distance from the system. And the performance finally becomes the real protagonist.

However - in this case - it doesn't work like that. The importance of the name chosen - that of the Prime Minister - put them in a category and we consider them according to this category. Again, the definition becomes the name and the attention of the people is one more time focused on the name and not on the performence itself.

Practising art without defining it commercially could lead the artist to break the rules and to create something which goes beyond a limit: names.

Well, there is much more to discuss about.. but it will be for another time ;)

domenica 3 giugno 2018

Australia // "Let Stalk Strine", the Aussie slang - Part I

Many many times we hear the "Down Under People" talking a  misterious language... in a misterious way... with misterious noises...

No idea what the hell they were talking about even after 10 years of languages' classes, travels abroad and living for a while in Sydney. Even though, I must admit that... the worst accent ever is the Scottish one... Once I met a guy (Jonathan), I thought he had serious problems with the English language... NO WAY. I mean for me... not for him ;). No clue he was native of Scotland.

Anyway, I love discovering new expressions and in particular new "languages".

That's why I want to share with you what I have learnt so far.

First of all... I have noticed while I was working there that the customers used to greet you by saying: "G'day, mate.. How are you going?" and I understood after a while that they were not really asking to receive a real answer...but they just need to place the order... and when I was replying "Fine, thanks and you?"... that "and you?" was a problem. They were not expecting that.

I didn't stop to reply in that way, though... I'm Italian and I love to be a good host and it was funny to see their reactions, like...

customer: "How are you going?"
me: "Fine, thanks and you?"
customer: [a couple of secs of hesitation + embarrasment] "Well... I'm fine.. ehmm ehmm.. a double shot flatwhite please"

then .. it comes the moment, where you will hand the flatwhite and they will answer back by simply saying "TA".

and this is now YOUR turn of hesitation .."TA" ... "TA what?" ... to discover that it was "thank you".

Another answer to the same flatwhite could be "Cheers".. and don't pretend not to think my same thing... "why are you saying that for a coffee? where is your beer?". Aussies use it for different circumstances.

Among my researches about the Australian slang and interesting ways to map the world through words, I have found a lively guide, Let Stalk Strine, by Afferbeck Lauder.

Afferbeck Lauder was the pseudonym used by Alastair Ardoch Morrison, an Australian graphic artist and autor who, with this book, illustrated phonetically the Australian way of talking to show it as a complete different language.

A couple of examples:
"Emma chisit" - How much is it?
"Egg wetter gree" - I quite agree

and the pseudonym of the author itself is an example of that "Afferbeck Lauder =Alphabetical order".

I am personally fascinated by all this. It might be because languages are in a continuous change and - by changing - they bring with them a portray of an age, a culture and somehow of the people. I LOVE IT!

"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." - Harper Lee

sabato 30 dicembre 2017

Slovenia // The Legend of Erazem Prediamski (a toilet story)

I hope you learn how to love yourself the way you love others. - unconditionally and without hesitation. - [unknown quote]

Tonight... from a train which rides from Ljubljana to Vienna with a lovely story to share...

This morning I was on a mini van with the guide (Tine) and a Russian couple living in Norway.

(voice-over: Russians and Norway OMG!!!)

During the trip to the Predjama Castle, I have lernt two things:

1. That Tine (my guide's name) in Norway is a milk brand

2. That several Slovenian words related to the world of cars come from German, that means that I can speak Slovenian as well ;)

But... let's talk about what I wanted to tell you... that is


... the Legend of Erazem Prediamski AKA a toiltet story...

Let's start from the beginning...

Once upon a time Slovenia used to have its own Robin Hood, the Knight Erazem - the robber baron.

Everything was almost fine until Erazem killed the kinsman of the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederik III. ------> NOT GOOD 

Frederik was so furious that he forced the baron into hiding in his castle.

But  Erazem was too clever. He managed to survive thanks to a secret passage between the Castle and the nearby Postojna Cave. For an entire year + 1, the baron smuggled food and drink through the tunnel till one of his soldiers betrayed him.

Since the weakest part of the castle was the outhouse on a high floor of the outside façade, they decided to attack him once there. And that was the place where the toilet was (the hole you see on the top left of the picture here).

Guess what happened... yeah.... it's exactly what you think...

The servant raised a flag and a cannon shot blasted the baron off the toilet.

Might be a legend, might be the truth... but it made me smile, thanks Tine!

"Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities." - D. Copperfield

Italy // Catania: #DEMETRIODIGRADO

Kind - #DEMETRIODIGRADO "I like good strong words that mean something..."  - Louisa May Alcott It was on a December day tha...