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Conversations on composition. Five seminars held on May and June 2010: contents and guests
Antonella Bruzzese, Antonio Longo
Dialoghi della composizione - Conversations on composition - is a research project conducted by Antonella Bruzzese and Antonio Longo on the modalities, forms and techniques of contemporary urban project. It has been developed through academic seminars, didactic activities and design experiences held at the Scuola di Architettura e Società of the Politecnico di Milano.
The research is based on the awareness that today, more than on the past, the project for the city is crossed by strong contradictions of different kind: civil, disciplinary and academic. It can play a pivotal role in organizing and managing existing resources and in orientating policy decisions - especially in a contemporary condition strongly affected by the economical, institutional and political crisis-, but without a clear legitimacy and a well-acknowledged field of application.
The project for the city has a important and long lasting tradition (technical, cultural and civil ones) but the attitude towards the experimentation, which is at the base of every innovation, today it is often replaced with a way of work more devoted to the reduction of the goals to achieve and of the tools to use, transforming the project into a simple confirmation of political decision. Or, even worst, it is replaced with rash and irresponsible changes from what is consolidated that can be hardly supported or implemented.
Moreover, even if design activity is at the centre of didactic programs, it is the core of degree courses in architecture, in many situations it is barely recognized as research activity or properly evaluated with the academic criteria. For these reasons we consider useful a research that tries to overlap the contradictions we mentioned and tries to individuate other possible direction of work. At this purpose, the dialogue between “composition makers” (of any kind) seemed to us the best tool to start this tour, assuming the composition as central theme.
In May 2010, the first series of seminars has been started, choosing a deliberately eccentric point of view. The dialogue between creatives active in fields quite far from planning (architecture, direction, choreography, music, photography, cooking, design) led each of the guests to reflect on their own forms of composition, presenting their work. The sequence of each contribution revealed the specific features of every trade, the shared characteristics and the different compositional techniques adopted, as the authors of the research have attempted to bring out in the text published in these web pages.
The production of the video, finally, edited with Federica Verona, allowed to place side by side the considerations emerged and build a cross-talk on the composition.
• The guests have been: the musician Massimiliano Viel and the photographer Alessandro Cimmino; the designer and artist Giovanni Anceschi; the chef Pietro Leemann and the dancer / choreographer Enzo Procopio; the theater director Francesco Micheli and the architect Beniamino Servino. Guests have articulated their thinking from their own works, projects, compositions.
• The final seminar was attended by Patrizia Gabellini, Gabriele Pasqui, Cino Zucchi, Aldo Cibic and Francesco Infussi and it was introduced by the presentation of the video that brought back to the track of the “project for the city” the themes emerged during the seminars.
In order to relate the richness of the contributions and to give the necessary background and substance to the reflections contained in text and video, here are the brief biographies of the protagonists of the seminar and the links to their works.
MASSIMILIANO VIEL, COMPOSER
Studied piano, electronic music, conducting, ethnomusicology and composition in Milan, Paris, Salzburg and Odense. Keenly interested in the relationship between music and other forms of expression, he has worked on a wide variety of performances in many fields: theatre, videos, ballet. He collaborates with Otolab (www.otolab.net/), and in 2003 founded Sincronie (www.sincronie.org/),, an organisation devoted to exploring the encounter between “classical” music traditions and the contradictions of the contemporary world through the creation of spectacular events. He holds the chair of "Composition Elements" at the Bozen Conservatory.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, Viel presented the composition “CLUSTER per Demetrio Stratos (2009) per suoni elettronici” - (lenght: 20'38" premiére: 14.05.2009, Elektronika 2009, Milano): www.massimilianoviel.net/ita/mus_el.php.
ALESSANDRO CIMMINO, PHOTOGRAPHER
He started out in 1997 with the project Napoli Fotocittà, Dintorni dello sguardo, developing his personal research about the cities on the move with an other work entitled 60 km/h www.alessandrocimmino.com/it/projects/60kmh. Always engaged in projects concerning the territory and the transformations taking place in the urban landscape. His works have been displayed at many shows and exhibitions in Italy and abroad (Biella, Genoa, Naples, Nuremberg, Weimar and Berlin, Zurich and Cologne). 2006 saw his photos on display at a one-man show, Fotografie – CCTV, at the Nowhere Gallery of Milan and a one-man show, Works, at the Overfoto Gallery in Naples.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, Cimmino showed a sequence of his pictures, dealing somehow with the issue of time and the unpredictable, in particular the project My Day
GIOVANNI ANCESCHI, DESIGNER AND ESSAYIST
In 1959 he founded the Gruppo T with Davide Boriani, Gianni Colombo, Gabriele Devecchi e Grazia Varisco, reference group of Programmed Art movement. After his experience in the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, he taught communication disciplines in different Italian universities. He is the author of many essays and books about design and its transformation from a discipline aimed to draw artefacts to a discipline more oriented to draw processes. He has been awarded with the 1998 Compasso d'Oro, and the 1999 Icograda Excellence Award for distinguished services to graphic design. He teaches visual communication at claDIS, heads the multimedia laboratory at clasVEM, and is full professor of industrial design at the IUAV of Venice.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, his contribution started with the presentation of the first project of Gruppo T, making, afterwards, a critical analysis of the concept of composition looking at the evolution of design. His conferences and interviews are available on line. Here the video of Anceschi interviewed by Marco Belpoliti (see the video below).
PIETRO LEEMANN, CHEF
After working traditional cuisine restaurants in Italy and France, he embraced the revolution of the "Nouvelle cuisine" and Italian creative cuisine, working with Gualtiero Marchesi and Fredy Girardet, to arrive at a natural cuisine philosophy highly original and innovative, appreciated at the international level. Since 1989 has been the owner of "Joia, alta cucina naturale" in Milan, the first vegetarian restaurant in Europe to receive a Michelin star in 1996. His dishes are inspired by visual art, quote the kinetic art, are proposed as multi sensory experience and are based on principle of environmental ethic and sustainability.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, he showed pictures of his creations and described their features, explaining his composition techniques and focusing on relevant meta-design issues.
ENZO PROCOPIO, CHOREOGRAPHER
After attending the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, he continued his education by studying with Peter Goss in Paris and the most important release technique teachers in New York. A teacher of contemporary dance since 1987, in 1994 he was invited to join the dancing department of the New York University as "visiting choreographer". Since 1996, the Compagnia Enzo Procopio has focused its attention on video dance. Videos such as "Colpi" and "Attraverso" have been projected and have received awards at the main international video art and video dance festivals. His video installation "Eco" (2006) was presented at the Teatro Valli in Reggio Emilia and at the Festa del Teatro in Milan, in 2007. In the course of the same year, his solo "Ozen" was presented at two festivals: "Solo in azione" in Milan and "Insoliti" in Turin.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, Procopio started from the concepts that identify the dance as an autonomous art, continuing presenting the forms of contemporary chorographical composition which are based on the improvisation on stage, the video, the montage and the music composition to produce a video, like the one he produced in 2002 , "Distanza di sicurezza" (see the video below).
FRANCESCO MICHELI, DIRECTOR
After obtaining a university degree in Literature and graduating from the Civica Scuola d'Arte Drammatica "Paolo Grassi" of Milan, in 1997 he made his debut as opera director at La Scala Theatre Museum with La Cantarina by Niccolò Piccinni; since then has directed many operas in Italian and foreign theatres. Since 1997, has collaborated with Milan’s Pomeriggi Musicali, writing and staging several plays and shows in and off the theatrical environment; among these, we should mention A Midsummer’s Night Dream by Shakespeare- Mendelssohn, the Threepenny Opera by Brecht-Weill, Il Piccolo Mozart, the Musicians of Bremen, the Little Mermaid, and, starting from these experiences, has initiated with non-theatrical organisations a collaboration in which the classical repertory meets the languages of the present day. He teaches Direction at the Accademia di Brera in Milan ancd cooperates with Sky Classics for operatic programs. He has recently been appointed Artistic Director of the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata.
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, Micheli talked about his own experiences. One relevant contribution was the description of what he is doing from 2004 with the theatres of Reggio Emilia where he directed an experimental lyric season called “Opera Off” (see the video below) during which he has presented shows, lessons, meetings and special television project, mixing languages with the aim to bring especially the younger audience closer to opera. (www.cidim.it/cidim/content/314625)
BENIAMINO SERVINO, ARCHITECT
Graduated with Michele Capobianco in Naples, in 1985, lives in Caserta. Works primarily in the field of architectural design and participates in numerous national and international competitions. His works have appeared on the most important national and international trade magazine. He is invited to display his works in Italy and abroad (e.g., at the 2002 Venice Biennial, at exhibitions on Italian architecture in New York and Beijing). In 2002 and 2004 was a candidate for the Mies Van der Rohe Award. In 2007 he received the International Award Architecture in Stone.
The observation of the landscape mutations; the reflection on the presence in the territory of formal archetypes and the way they are perceived; the “translation” and “betrayal” as principles of abstraction and construction constitute the core of his poetic and compositional practice. See his contribution about archetipi in nazione indiana /2011/05/24: www.nazioneindiana.com/2011/05/24/archetipi-beniamino-servino/
• During the Dialoghi della composizione seminar, he showed his wide production of project and realizations.
The Journal of Urbanism