MILAN, DECEMBER 12… 1969-2019

 

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Memories and faces cut the darkness of the darkest Past. Men and women whisper the sad chronicle of a bombing. Milanese civil society once again remembers the citizens who were slaughtered by extreme-right violence. In Piazza Fontana people loudly condemn fascism. The public speakers speak. The flags flap. Eyes fire up. Another December 12 adds new memories to the heart of the city.

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EYES SHOULD SURVEY THE WORLD

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Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás wrote: <A man’s feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.> This quote came to my mind as soon as I met Vancouverite songwriter Bocephus King at Ponkj bar in Milan.
That’s the reason I decided to take a bunch of shots before the live show began: I was curious to see what his eyes could tell me and how they kept surveying the world.
A few shots were enough to obtain amazing postcards from Bocephus King’s world.
Then there was a friendly chat – I’m a Vancouver lover.
The concert has begun and Bocephus King’s eyes have continuously surveyed and narrated the world. His feet were at the same time in Canada and in Milan when he started to sing Bonnie Dobson’s Morning Dew

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SURVIVE THE NINETIES

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Surviving time is not an easy task. Tom Barman – a voice somewhere between Bob Dylan and Eddie Vedder – succeeded with the dEUS and then with TaxiWars. During their latest show in Milan, Mr. Barman and TaxiWars pushed post-rock into the arms of free jazz, bewitching the audience. On stage, the songs from the new album, Artificial Horizon, opened the window and cleared the air of rock music. The band did not give up to a desire to feed their fans; TaxiWars played loud to convince those who still weren’t convinced of their music. In a rainy Milanese night the magic came true. Everybody survived the Nineties.

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DIFFERENT LIGHTS

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Different Lights. Dark suns reflections as wet streets blink in the night. Maybe my photography sounds as magenta color pornography. Tonight – in my 40 minute photo safari – I don’t care about sharpness but I indulge an ephemeral desire to see and feel my different lights.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. RAVA

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To celebrate his birthday… Three unpublished frames (taken at Università Statale di Milano, early March 2009) of Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava from my Rock Music Archives. For fine art prints please contact Expowall Gallery. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. RAVA!

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AFTERHOURS: THE STORY OF A 2003 LUCKY FRAME

 

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Storage could kill a frame. The mind of a photographer is always focused on shots to come. The shots then flee from memory until someone retrieves them. When Afterhours’ celebrative box set (book + 4 CDs) was released in 2017 I was deep in my photo projects so I hadn’t paid much attention to that record release dedicated to the band I had loved so much in the early 2000s. Two years later I bought the box set at a cheap price and I discovered that one of my shots had been included in the book.

The frame in question, taken in Milan, mid February 2003, portrayed the band in action at the Triennale Museum in Milan: it was a special live performance (2 sets) in the middle of an art installation inspired by Italian writer Italo Calvino’s book Città Invisibili. During the photo session (with a Pentax Espio) I took care to portray the scene comprehensively, showing the band really immersed in the art installation and in touch with the audience. Manuel Agnelli, the Afterhours frontman, appreciated my point of view and asked for prints for his personal archive. At the time I had some meetings and lunches with him because I was in contact with the indie label Afterhours signed with. That shot of the Afterhours’ Triennale performance is a lucky frame: it risked ending up lost in my photo archives but it was saved by a publishing project.

Below more pics from the Afterhours’ Triennale shows.

 

WHEN ART COMES FROM THE STREETS

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Since the first large graffiti appeared on the walls of Philadelphia in the mid-Sixties as territorial warnings by the local gangs – see Jack Stewart’s Graffiti Kings. New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s (NY: Abrams, 2009) – street art has had a double “social” meaning: the first is the author’s; the second is the meaning that passers-by give to what they see.

As with a song – in particular topical/protest songs – the skill of passers-by in appropriating street works becomes the core of the street’s independent art system: the feeling that the artwork arouses stays on the wall in a lasting way and can also condition the author and influence works to come.

The dual nature of the street work – whether a painting, a graffiti, a stencil, etc. – places the photographer/observer in a condition of knowing both sides of the coin.

Observing a street artwork in a neighborhood instead of another makes a huge difference. Knowing a street artist and seeing him at work in the street helps even more to understand how in the last three decades an independent/underground art became the center of attention for collectors and art galleries all around the world.

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The series of black and white frames (taken with mirrorless cameras Fuji X100 and FujiFilm X30 and without the use of additional lights) were recorded in two moments: during the night, while artist Osmo Kalev created his work; and the day after when the work, whose title is RIOT, was already being lived by passers-by and curious people in the neighborhood – stickers and tags add new perspective to the work.

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