AN HOUR OUTSIDE IN THE MARAIS

 

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Occasionally I decide to go out with an old 35mm camera… This happens now and then. I don’t have a wish to feel like Cartier Bresson, you see?
Maybe it’s because of Paris itself that I took out my Yashica GSN Electro 35 and went down in the streets of the Marais.
One hour was enough: the old Yashica GSN weighs a lot, but its autofocus was fast enough to capture the different souls of the neighborhood. 35mm “language” is different, perhaps today few understand its aesthetics… (a Rollei RPX400 roll film loaded in camera).

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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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EXTINCTION REBELLION IN PARIS

 

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A village.
A real village, built at the Châtelet, in the center of Paris.
It is a real village – I wouldn’t call it simply an encampment – fully equipped to facilitate the permanence of the Extinction Rebellion people.

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There are tents, small yurtas, improvised but well-tended gardens, spaces dedicated to debates; toilets, meeting points, a medical center and even a cellar; and a gratuiterie where warm clothes are available in case of a cold night.
The slogans are as varied and colorful as the new residents of Châtelet. Some “hardcore” mottoes; and more reasoned ones. The main goal is printed on the banner that crosses the rue de Rivoli at the corner of Boulevard Sébastopol where the crowd is. “CHANGE OF PRIORITY.” Accordingly, the symbol of the movement is a stylized hourglass.

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The prefecture has banned the rally scheduled for the morning. It doesn’t matter. The rebels soon reorganize, call a meeting right under the banner.
There is no shadow of the gilet jaunes here: just some hasty tags on a bus shelter. Gilets orange are what the people of the order service are wearing, and peaceful protesters are on stage.

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After adjusting the amplification system, a skinny and whiskered blond young man takes the microphone and starts a rap with ecological rhymes for the crowd that is beginning to gather.
His militant lyrics reach beyond the Fontaine du Châtelet to the Pont au Change, which is blocked at the end of the Quai de l’Horloge by the offshoots of the Extinction Rebellion village.
While two young men are intent on cleaning the stone parapet of the old bridge, smudged by tags, a gilet orange shows an alternative way to the Île de la Cité to an Asian tourist in fluent English. Two dogs play nearby following in the footsteps of passers-by while their masters kneel on the pavement creating new tatzebaos.
Persons who are just curious mingle with activists. Someone asks questions. Someone else takes pictures. Here and there you can see the discreet presence of reporters ready to collect impressions and news on the events of the day.
In rue de Rivoli a lady in a raincoat is bent over the asphalt intent on leaving a mark of her militant participation: “REBEL FOR LIFE.” On a window “ANIMAL REBELLION – INSURRECTION – STOP FARMING/LIVESTOCK AND FISHING.” To partially shade an igloo tent decorated with a red and black ladybug-style motif another banner announces: “HERE WE CULTIVATE.” Less than ten meters away, a field with timid plants sprouting out of the humid dark soil.

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The attention returns to the rue de Rivoli where the young rapper calls another person to the center of the scene.
A girl announces the name of Carola Rackete.
The brave German captain of the rescue boat Sea Watch 3 timidly emerges from the crowd with her long dreads. She smiles as she advances with a firm step. The signs of the judicial events of the summer – linked to the rescue of migrants in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea – left memories on her young face. Her eyes reveal the ideals in which she believes and for which she fights.
She greets everybody and announces that she will make her speech in French, apologizing for her pronunciation, holding a smartphone with the text of her speech.
Carola speaks for about ten minutes: she tells about her commitment to the environmental cause – she spent time at the North Pole studying the effects of pollution on ice – and underlines how the phenomenon of migration has always been linked to environment and climate changes. Saving people at sea is simply the logical consequence of her environmental activism.
Everyone listens.
Someone is preparing a question.
I take some pictures.
I take one frame in particular.
At the back of my mind a painting preserved in the Louvre Museum, just a few hundred meters from where we stand.
A fraction of a second before the CLIC and everything is done!
Carola Rackete magically enters in a black-and-white version of Le Radeau de la Méduse (1818-19) by Théodore Géricault – the painting depicting a tragedy at sea which at the time had a great international impact.
Or maybe I just imagined seeing one of Lucas Cranach’s Madonnas…Painting and photography… Past and present.

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Looking at the black writing on the side gate of the Théâtre de Ville, which is all wrapped up for restoration, it would seem that the future also looks back to the past: “1871 VIVA THE COMMUNE!”
Perfectly complementary to the “OUR DESIRES PROVIDE DISORDER” graffiti which I had come across a few hours earlier near the Pompidou Center.

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MATTEO CESCHI & JIM MARSHALL’S “RISE AND FALL” IN SARAJEVO

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Matteo Ceschi and Jim Marshall‘s Rise and Fall multimedia art exhibition (with high-patronage of the Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina) at Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zmaja od Bosne 5, Sarajevo)

 

OPENING EVENT: TUESDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2019, 7PM

 

Walls are absolutely central to the history, experience, interaction, culture and condition of humans. From ancient paintings on the walls of caves, to the Great Wall of China, to the Walls of Jericho, the Wailing Wall, and the Walls of Babylon, to the modern perspectives of the Berlin Wall, right-wing dreams of border walls, and contemporary graffiti, not least in the context of the internationally recognised works of Banksy and Blu, et al.

While walls can divide and exclude, they can also function as shared, inclusive, even sacred spaces. They can communicate cultural, historical and political events and experiences through fading signs, plaques, shrapnel marks, other more subtle features, and of course street art.

Urban environments, such as Milan and Sarajevo, speak through their walls, telling stories of often tumultuous change.

Jim Marshall and Matteo Ceschi’s photo project presents a dialogue between two different contexts and artists, reflecting the humour, the horror, the light and the darkness of the stories told by the walls of our cities. Stories of events and of empires, and indeed of walls as they rise and fall.

 

SEE: https://www.unimib.it/unimib-international/winter-and-summer-schools/summer-schools-2019

BOATS WITH NO SEA

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Boats can remain in the harbor without sailors. Boats can be abandoned at the mercy of marine currents. But a sea-less boat must make people think. A ship with no sea attracts attention and suggests questions about its dry fate. Why does it lie there on dry land after a lifetime in the water? Who was its captain? Who were its sailors? And its passengers? The camera lens records the fate of these boats with no sea and tries to give them back a poetic fate. The camera lens imagines new ports and new sea routes for them. How many lives could these ships with no sea save?

All frames taken in Naxos, Greece, with Fuji X100 and Ricoh GX100

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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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JAZZ & SACRED SOUL KITCHEN (AND SOUL PHOTOGRAPHY)

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As a Jazz Ascona Festival press officer, I had the opportunity to meet many artists and chat with them. One evening while writing a press release, I was distracted by a spicy fragrance. While still trying to figure out where the good and intense fragrance came from, I heard the sound of a trumpet. It was a clear sound full of heart. The melody accompanied the growing perfume to perfection.

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I stopped writing and I followed the fragrance & sound down to the basement. The darkness was lit by a light. The kitchen door was open. Pamela Pierre Brown, the Gourmet Sacred Soul Kitchen chef, was committed to the stove; a little further, her husband Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown saturated the scented gumbo air with the notes of his trumpet. That was my unrepeatable chance to capture the quintessence of jazz: a greeting and an unobtrusive gesture to indicate the digital camera I had with me. The session started. The whole kitchen was pervaded with Souls: Pamela’ s Soul; Kid Chocolate’s Soul; my colleague Simona’s Soul; and my Soul. The feeling was to be living a real jazz moment that we wouldn’t be able to find another time. No book could ever describe the scene in a realistic way. I hope my photo shooting maintained that soulful fragrance and reflected for the observer the melodies of New Orleans jazz. After all, even photography is a question of soul… Let’s jazz, let’s groove, let’s swing!

P.S. The day after musicians and Jazz Ascona staff sat in the kitchen and tasted Miss Pamela’s gumbo (and fried fish).

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