Archive for the 'Antonio Scarponi' Category

“Veiling the unveiled truth”: the conceptual art of Silvio Berlusconi

Antonio Scarponi – Italy. We all know that the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is a man of talents. First of all he is a man of spectacle, a perfect actor from the old school. He is able to dance, sing and his practical jokes are famous world wide. As an actor he also have very good make up artist in his stuff. He is also a good soccer coach as well as many other talents including the playboy skills he uses for his diplomatic aims. For instance he ‘seduced’, as he publicly declared, the Finnish president in order to elect the world capital of ham and Parmesan (the Italian city of Parma), as the European Capital of Food. We all know these skills, but recently in two occasion he demonstrate also to have great talent as conceptual artist.

Together with his Architect Mario Catalano, his consultant for the media design appearance, also famous for the design of the set of a sort of ‘soft porn’ TV show  from the eighties named ‘colpo grosso’ ( a sort of strip poker, see video below) they have decided use a Tiepolo painting as background for the press conference room of the Parliament. Tiepolo painting is titled “La verità svelata dal tempo” (the truth unveiled by time)

Recently they have noticed that the naked nipple of the allegoric figure representing the truth was distracting the attention of the TV audience. In the picture below you can see the press conference set with two representative members of the female gender of the Italian power. On the left there is the president of ‘Confindustria’, the association that represent Italian industries. Here you can also see the naked nipple. On the left image you can see Mara Carfagna, former show girl, now minister of the “equal opportunities” between the genders. As you can see the nipple in the right image has been covered. It is not photo-shopped, no, that is a solution that only cheap artist uses. It has been painted over the real thing!Well we do not want to say anything about Berlusconi as prime minister. The time will ‘unveil’ perhaps the wiseness of his political will, but as conceptual artist he definitely worths Duchamp. I find the idea of using Tiepolo painting as background for the press conference in the Parliament a brilliant idea. Especially with the iconographic symbolism that it has… “the truth unveiled by time” … excellent. But the real geniality of Berlusconi’s Art is to to cover the nipple that distract the TV audience! He plays with iconography of one of the masters Italian painting. “re-veil the truth unveiled by time” this is the title of Berlusconi’s Work. We can look upon it as manifesto of his politics. A genius.

But this is not the only prove of his wicked artistic talent. The girl on the right picture above was democratically elected as minister of the ‘equal opportunities’ between the genders. She was a very talented showgirl recently involved in a sort of ‘sex scandale’. Gossipers wants her as mister president lover, perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, more likely she is one of several, as we all know Berlusconi’s sensibility towards beauty. In fact the scandal apparently was about some telephone tapping of a theoretical conversation between her and another minister (woman) discussing mister president’s preferences about blow-jobs. We are not allowed to know details about this conversation, a specific law was designed to protect the public integrity of the political forces in order to protect them by the known communist forces of the magistrates that missuses their power to discredit Parliament representatives. And nevertheess is not our business not interests. So we are not allowed, now we want to know about this. But if there is some truth about the love affair, I would propose to democratically elect mister Berlusconi as one of the greatest conceptual Artist of our time. In order to elect as minister to the equal opportunities between the sexes one of his lovers, he really have to be a conceptual genius. In the picture below a picture of our minister before the public mandate.

Perhaps it is a bit courageous to say that Berlusconi is a great conceptual artist… perhaps we have to give time to time to “re-unveil again the truth” of Gianbattista Tiepolo nipple. Or maybe we have to unveil again the one of Mara Carfagna that it has been recently covered by tailleurs, a costume more accurate for her new public mandate?

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What geography is really about

The market of last things: a point of view on Torino Geodesign

Antonio Scarponi, Torino – The Architectural Magazine Abitare launched a project called Geodesign in collaboration with the international event Torino World Design Capital 2008. The aim of this project is about connecting designers, community, and companies to design specific project related to a specific need of a specific community in a specific context: this is a geodesign practice. A competition was launched. Designers from all over the world applied with a methodological approach. Workshops were carried on with different communities of people in the city. An exhibition presenting the prototypes produced was opened on May 23rd in Torino, Pala Fuksas, Piazza della Repubblica 25.

I was one of them and now I am going to tell you a bit about the project we made.

Marco Lampugnani (co-author of this project) and I, applied with a methodological proposal for a free market called “Balon”. This is a special place. “Free” meas that anyone could go and sell stuff. Anything have a marked and a value there. You can buy the most meaningless broken chair, toy, spare shoe or hardware tool. If you have nothing to loose, in the sense that you do not have anything, but you collect something in the street – means that you have something to sell in the Balon market.

Every Saturday at five a.m. a battle for “the two square meters” begin. The negotiations of land occupation takes time and bitter blood. The association “vivi balon” is there to “rule” the place and make sure that anybody get hurts. Our task was to find a way to define the market plots in an ultimate way. The street is made of stones and paint is washed away very easily. They’d liked also to have folding trolley to deliver the goods and shelters to protect merchants from rain and sun.

In our proposal these are the tree elements of an instant kind of urbanization, as the market is, an instant place. We worked associated with two multinational companies: IKEA and Italcementi.

1. dices: a gambling game like an other. We started defining a tile to be graved in the pavement like a stumbling stone in order to design an element that could qualify the public space and spot the market position. The tile would have nine holes, say like a special dice. Closing the holes would allow to make a number. And by attaching them one next to the other, a number with one or more ciphers could be made. So trough the production of one single tile we would have the possibility to customize an infinite possibility of numbers by simply closing the holes with liquid concrete. The tiles would be arranged in the pavement in a way that they could spot a car park plot when the market is not in use as it happen during the week.


2. broder: “My name is buck and I am here to fuck”. Each tile has a square hole in the center. This allow to stick a vertical element produced by IKEA belonging to the series called “broder” (8€). With four of them one can clear a position. We used a shower curtain, also from IKEA to make a shelter. And by using the Broder hight extension, the shelter an inclination.

3. RIKEA: A manual without kit. So the folding trolley was called. We have assembled it using a “svingen” (a folding bed 25€) two IKEA bags sawed together (2€ each), three “broder” shelf and two bicycle wheels. Everything is assembled together with dry hardware, no welding and no drilled oles (pure brico-freaks).

Here follows some pictures of the exhibition.

The next issue of “abitare” will be released with a catalog of this event and a special report on Geodesign. Stay tuned.

Ageing Modernity

Here is the blog of the course I am teaching at KTH, Stockholm. The blog is about the design process that students are following in the project. The course is (of course) about the ageing of the population, a topic in which I am writing my PhD thesis on… However this is a media design course. I wish my academic work will be as fun and stimulating as this course is. Students started to dig in to the ageing issue from the “X-ray” of an “object” that could represent an ageing human condition. Each team work than followed different ways… the course ends the 12th. We’ll make an exhibition. Pictures of it to come.

Conceptual Device: a little effort. A sort of initiation

Very nice post. Thanks Martijn!

Yeah, conceptual devices… I have tried to give a definition that you can find on my website, here it is: conceptual devices are the result of interdisciplinary research projects, involving design, architecture and visual culture, with the aim to engage practises and social behaviour in everyday life. A conceptual device transforms information into a visual knowledge that produce and shift symbolic values.

I am not quite satisfied with this. The key issue is to define what a device is. Wikipedia says “category: disambiguation“, very true, it belongs to many disciplines, in different ways.

Let’s try, instead, to start an initiation rather than making a definition.
I’d say I am referring to the use of the word device that Faucault makes. All thought he never gave a definition. Which is why it is an interesting term. Reading Deleuze‘s essay on Foucault, it seems that there is a similarity between the use of the word “device” and the use of the word “diagram” in Foucault discourse, but I do not want to go that far without a compass.

I think that a conceptual device is a tool that represent a differed kind of social order. An order established under different symbolic values I mean. A device itself (in the sense of Foucault) produces a different order of society, since is the product of power. A law, for example, or a very successful gadget, like, say, a mobile phone, the type machine, electricity, a computer, a map. Different kind of powers. A Device is as tool for social reproduction (Marxist definition of infrastructure, sight!).

Here maybe I could come to a conclusion. If, say an invention like a mobile phone, alone as prototype is a conceptual device – in the sense that it produces a representation of a different society, a society that uses mobile phones, or a society that has the need to produce and use them; If such device is used then it creates a social innovation (product for the elites). When the device is widely used like today it creates a revolution, a society organized differently than ever before. It produces a different order of society.

So back to us. A conceptual device, makes an assumption (what if …..) so in this sense it produces an “hypothetical revolution”, or in other words produces an image of a different social order. I guess it produces a shift of perspective, a different point-of-view.

I am not sure for how long I’ll be satisfied with this statement, however I have made an effort to be clear. Comments on it are very welcome so that we can go somewhere together.

Zurich: Kubrick (2007 odissey in the shopping centre)

So, I have seen the exhibition. I have to admit I am a bit disappointed.
The web sites are very well done, and most of the iconographic material that I like were mostly there. All thought it was very interesting to see it.
The exhibition takes place in a new shopping centre, not crap, a well designed shopping center. Swiss know how to do these kind of stuff. No complain, bu still a shopping centre.
The exhibition has a travelling format: easy to mount, easy to ship, easy to set up, easy to store. With a very traditional and chronological order. You enter with Kubrick photographer, you get out with Tom Cruise and some documents on Artificial Intelligence. Fine. Also interesting is that there is a combo with the movie theater near by where they are showing all the Kubrick movies. Very nice if you missed one of them in the theater. By the way 2001 is highly recommended to see in a movie theater, it is an other experience, not even comparable. When I have seen it in a theater for the first time it was my 3rd year of school of architecture. I believed than I had finally understood what architecture is really about. Hum… maybe I should watch it again. Is is truly an architecture experience or trip.

What I really hated is the fact that the last door when you leave the exhibition is an emergency exit that close right behind you. You end up on fire security stair case, high up in the rain. They just leave you in your poor existence, lost you do not know where exactly and there is anybody to ask since the last person you have seen is behind a fire security door that won’t open from the outside. Just like in those super movie theater with thousands of rooms. The only difference is that there was no pop corn smell around. But I felt some how betrayed. Just like a kick in the ass, or worst. Not even the possibility to complain with someone.
So I came to the conclusion that a good exhibition space has to have a decompression area, a small space where you can end the ritual of the exhibition, just like the ritual of getting in. Of course could be the same place. But really you have to know where you are and where you have to go. It needs an intermediate space before stepping back in to the real life.

Here above a Kubrick sketch of Lolita’s mother house. You can clearly recognize the cupboard and the stairs case where the telephone was placed. It is amazing I could really draw out the plan of the house. The spaces are really clearly distributed.

1st of may 2007 Estonian Trial and Error (Horror?)

Tomorrow is the first of may. Happy celebration!

In Estonia the situation is a bit tense, and it is not quite clear what is actually happening. At list from the western side of Europe (here and here reports from Estonian networks).
What Bourdieu called symbolic violence, is no longer symbolic. Culture is violence as we can clearly see in Estonia: the fight began around the removal of all the former soviet union symbols and monuments, starting from the official language, since the beginning of Estonian Independence back in the 90’s. The problem is that a large amount of the Estonian population is still Russian. The fight around the removal of the first of may monument involved last week, police, Estonian and Russian speaking populations.

Trial and Error is an artists answer on this kind of symbolic violence, it is a great work that help to keep violence “symbolic”, maybe. Trial and Error is a Swedish artist duo, Janna Holmstedt and Po Hagström, working with projects related to national identity and the use of public space.
One more time artists got there before things happened: the project is based in Tallinn, around the discussion of the removal of a Soviet monument and its replacement.


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