NIGHTS CALLED MILAN: INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST MICHELE GORLERO

By Kevin Carrara

Nights Called Milan has just started in Osaka and in order to celebrate the success that it is receiving across the ocean, we wish to offer you an interview with Michele Gorlero, voice and essential figure of this initiative.

Milano Genius 2019 pursues the goal of enhance the relations between the two twinned cities of Milan and Osaka offering the Nights Called Milan initiative produced by the Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka alongside the Swissôtel Nankai in Osaka. This project is patronized by Municipality of Milan and is sponsored by iFOODQ and distributed by ASG-Produzioni, branch of Asian Studies Group.

Before the start of the interview, we offer you a quick introduction to Michele Gorlero made by Paolo Cacciato, Director of Asian Studies Group and focal member of the production of Milano Genius:

Michele Gorlero is an artist that has already started to focus his professional theatre experience in order to approach the Japanese culture and society. This can be seen thanks to his participation as co-protagonist in the Asian Studies Group theatre production Fushikaden. Michele immediately came to my mind for the Nights Called Milan initiative. I believe that his sensibility and skill will reach the Japanese public that will be bewitched by a play in which words’ meaning leaves the narration to voice and gesture.

What is your opinion regarding the Nights Called Milan event in which Milanese music meet the typical Lombardy’s cuisine?

I was born in San Remo, but I lived in Milan for twelve years, so I consider myself as an adopted Milanese. Regarding Nights Called Milan, I believe that Milanese cuisine and songwriting tradition are two excellence of our country. This experience focused on the cooperation between those aspects will allow the mutual growth for both of them, while emphasize the Milanese atmosphere and tradition. Nights Called Milan will permit to everyone, especially Japaneses, to experience emotions common to us Italians but that can be expressed differently in some societies. Our art is completely different from the one in Japan especially when talking about music. In fact, there are themes that are completely new to Japaneses and the first example of this statement that comes to my mind is the song “La Parola Io” of Gaber that translates in “The word I”. This play focus itself on the personal ego inside every person and I believe that it will allow to the guests of the Dinner Gala to experience and consider for their first time this particular and selfish aspect that the songwriter decided to analyze. I look forward to watching firsthand how Japaneses will relate to the Italian way of life.

Do you believe that the meaning of the track will be able to surpass the linguistic barrier and reach the Japanese public? Furthermore, what is your personal experience with Japan?

I see the linguistic barrier as a valuable addition to every play. I consider it as a thin veil that if used right can bring great profit to the show. The producers of Nights Called Milan had the brilliant idea to deliver to the guests a description in Japanese, English and Italian regarding the meaning of each song. Even if the attendants won’t have an exact translation, that will be for the better since this decision will allow them to bond the meaning of the texts given to them and the words that will come out of my mouth. This procedure is commonly used in abstract art exhibitions in order to give to people the opportunity to think critically and to give their own interpretation regarding what they see. Vecchioni, Jannacci and Gaber were three songwriters very experienced in transmitting emotions to their public. They were true masters of their sector and I believe that thanks to their work even Japaneses will be able to understand what we wish to communicate to them. Many of the songs chosen for Nights Called Milan contain a deep meaning that cannot be understood focusing only on their texts. For example, without spoiling anything too much, I will sing a particular track in a jolly way while my coworker, Alberto Mancini, will play his piano in order to express sadness and anguish. Thanks to those arrangements made by the songwriters, the public will surely make an inner analysis to give the song the meaning that suits it the most. This type of correlation is different for each person and is easily influenced by what we experienced during our life. I was always fascinated by Japan. In fact, I already had the pleasure to work in Italy in productions focused on the Japanese way of life like Fushikaden. This experience will be my first opportunity to export the Italian culture in Japan and I live this duty as a great honor and pleasure. I honestly believe that Nights Called Milan will be a wonderful experience.

Annunci

Genius is back to Milan from Osaka. Mistero Buffo with Elisa Pistis for Urban Theatre

By Kevin Carrara

On 5th of May at 9 pm Elisa Pistis will bring at Corte dei Miracoli in Milan her re-interpretation of Dario Fo’s play Mistero Buffo. The performance is offered by Paolo Cacciato, director of ASG-Produzioni. Milano Genius 2019 is produced and organized by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka thanks to a collaboration with ASG-produzioni. Furthermore, the initiative is patronized by both the Municipalities of Milan and Osaka. In order to present to our readers the point of view of Mistero Buffo’s director, we interviewed Elisa Pistis.

What is Elisa Pistis’ Mistero Buffo and how does it relate to Dario Fo’s play?

My Mistero Buffo is of course no copy of Dario Fo’s work, rather it develops from a very simple starting point: a woman who alone stages Mistero Buffo. My re-worked version starts therefore from a feminine sensibility, that doesn’t exclude the master’s point of view, but which necessarily has a different expressive outcome.

I keep Dario Fo’s vision as a starting point when I begin to approach his texts. However, my goal is to re-elaborate the material at my best in order to perform it according to the needs of our times, which are completely different from the ones when the play was written.

How the Japanese public reacted to the show?

Japanese viewers were very focused and intrigued by the play. The public was large, very silent and respectful. One of the strengths of Mistero Buffo is its physical and gestural language, that allows the comprehension of the play even for people coming from a cultural background very different from the Italian. The work of instant translation made by the interpreter has permitted to everyone in the public to dunk themselves into the world of Mistero Buffo and enjoy it at its fullest.

What is the major insight you gained with this experience in Japan?

Surely, this experience in Japan developed my desire to expand my theatre work to all over the world. It was an opportunity of both artistic and human growth. I could see numerous performances and learn the expressive modalities of this thousand-year old nation. I was fascinated by one of Team Kabuki’s play, five hours of pure show with an active participation from the public. I was intrigued by the fact that at the end of the performance, after the drop of the curtain, the actors didn’t come out to take the well-deserved applause. The exchanges during the play between them and us, the viewers, were enough. Unlike in Italy, it is not common to thank the public and bow while waiting for the applause. So the five hours flew like in a moment and at the end of the show the exchange of emotions and regards was not needed. I dunk myself into the Japanese culture visiting less touristic places and trying to grasp some aspects of the local way of life. During my visit, I realized that few days aren’t enough to fully understand a population and its history. Instead, one should live there in order to do so. Since my work is focused on words, it was beautiful to listen their language. I took home the memory of many acoustics typical of Japanese alongside their way of greetings and playing music.

What should we expect on 5th of May in Corte dei Miracoli?

I hope to find a moment of sharing, since Mistero Buffo is a performance focused on the direct relation with the public. I like the idea to talk straight to each person attending my plays. I believe that a space like Corte dei Miracoli will be perfect in order to create the atmosphere that I seek. I hope to make people laugh lots and maybe make them shed some tears, too. I wish to transmit a part of myself in the play and leave an emotional message with the intent of making the public think while enjoying a beautiful evening together. For me it is very important that performances become a way to get in touch with people.

Jacopo Fo: Mistero Buffo in Osaka, discovering Italian culture and history through Commedia dell’Arte.

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When we decided to describe italian Genius considering Milan as general frame for selection of various representations, from arts to music, including design and theatre we couldn’t ignore the role of Dario Fo for those aspects that concern Italian theatre and literature and his tribute for revival of Commedia dell’Arte into contemporary performing scenario.

We absolutely wanted to explain to japanese people how, thinking about Italy, they cannot ignore the heritage represented by Fo’s activity, in particular about one of his most important works, Mister Buffo, that was performed for the first time 50 years ago at Milan University.

The occasion has been represented by Milano Genius in Osaka (12 of April 2019) at Osaka Central Public Hall thanking the production by Italian Institute of Culture under direction by Dr. Stefano Fossati who accepted to present first ever in Osaka, Fo’s masterpiece performed by Fronda Anomala, with official distribution by ASGProductions.

With great pleasure of organisers, Jacopo Fo, Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s son, decided to send greeting’s video, focusing in particular on commitment of Elisa Pistis, for this performance in Japan member of Fronda Anomala, who is currently working hard on special version of well known Mistero Buffo.

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Elisa is wholly involved on important new re-adjustment of Fo’s masterwork that will be followed for future performing opportunities in Asia by ASGproductions (managing direction by Paolo Cacciato) that will also present solo version by Pistis of the work on 5th of May in Milan at Corte dei Miracoli (Via Mortara 4) always as part of Milano Genius programme and special tribute to Dario Fo.

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You can enjoy Jacopo Fo’s video contribution as follows.

Milano Genius 2019: Organizers, Patronizing cities and Designers meet each other at Palazzo Marino.

By Kevin Carrara

The Milano Design Week represents for Milano Genius 2019 an opportunity to strengthen institutional and cultural ties between the two twinned cities of Milan and Osaka. The project, produced by the Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group, allowed young and talented designers to exhibit their works, selected under different themes, located to three important partners:

Take a Seat in Superstudio Group.

Design and Planet in Asian Studies Group.

Cool Japan in Corte dei Miracoli.

The joint efforts of the organizers, the patronizing cities and the partners resulted in an important event on April 8. Last Monday, the figures who have invested more in Milano Genius 2019 met with the designers involved in the project at Palazzo Marino in Milan:

Paolo Cacciato, President of Asian Studies Group.

Yuji Amamiya, General Consul of Japan in Milan.

Silvia La Ferla, Chief of the International Relations and Cooperation Development office of the city of Milan.

Gisella Borioli, CEO of Superstudio Group.

Federico Filippo Fagotto, Director of Corte dei Miracoli.

The Meeting

Paolo Cacciato, as co-organizer of the event, summarized the project Milano Genius 2019 and the value that it represents for the two twinned Municipal Cities of Osaka and Milan. He emphasized the importance that ASG has always given to creativity and young talent: he has always tried his best in order to create opportunities to express such qualities. He also pointed out already planned events in Osaka of culinary, musical and artistic nature.

During the ceremony, the guests had the pleasure to hear a speech from Yuji Amamiya, the General Consul of Japan in Milan, in which he stated how much proud he is of the project:

It has been a great joy for me and this Consolate to learn that in occasion of the Milano Design Week there would have been hold an event like this one, capable of representing a starting point for youth Japanese artists and designers and for their international activities.

Silvia La Ferla pointed out the relevance of Milano Genius in order to enforce and strengthen the relation between Milan and Osaka and how cultural and creative exchange are the foundations for a greater mutual understanding necessary to create, together, projects and tools that benefit both realities. Then, the Municipality of Milan donated to each designer some images of Milan of past years, believing that the medieval beauty of the city will help them remember the wonderful collaboration that took place here.

Federico Filippo Fagotto talked about the importance that he gives to art and creativity. Furthermore, he spoke about his pride and joy regarding the wonderful collaboration that Corte dei Miracoli found working alongside Asian Studies Group, a long-standing collaboration that began with a casual meeting between him and Paolo Cacciato. A fortuitous event full of opportunities, personal growth and mutual benefit.

Last but not least, Gisella Borioli pointed out how she started her personal relation with Japan during Osaka Expo 1970 and how her personal passion could finally be applied in a creatively and valid project. Working with Japanese designers has allowed her to absorb part of their culture while encouraging new collaborations in the future.

At the end of the institutional speeches, certificates of participation in the Milano Genius 2019 project were delivered to every designer by the individual partners. The involvement of cultural partners, city institutions and young creative people is a winning formula that benefits and brings honor to all those involved.

The making of Milano Genius logo and direct call with its creator

Milano Genius 2019 is finally ready to present its official logo and to reveal the creative process behind its creation through the words of Arianna Galuppo, designer of the logo.

As an important cultural project, Milano Genius wants not only to enhance and reinforce the artistic cooperation between Italy and Japan, but also to create opportunities and international visibility for many young artists involved in the artistic development of the event.

This is surely the case of young and talented Italian designer Arianna Galuppo, graduated with honour in Design at Libera Academy of Fine Arts and specially chosen for the creation of the official logo for Milano Genius, who now presents her work by explaining what led her to its creation.

When asked about the reasons for her participation to the project, Arianna claims that “Milan and Osaka are united by what would seem to differentiate them the most: the world of art, design and music. This is what, initially, intrigued me most about the possibility to participate, as creator of the logo, to the project.

The collaboration with Milano Genius surely represents a great opportunity for her to  “to get involved in a real work project to practice what I have studied at university. I am honoured to contribute with my logo to this collaboration, which will certainly be positive and valuable for both the cities and for anyone who will take part in it.”

As a result, Milano Genius 2019 and Switch On Your Creativity 6th Edition, the creative accelerator of which it is part, encourage  youthful creativity by involving young designers, like Arianna, to develop cultural projects and to give them the experience necessary to enter into the world of work.

Talking about the concrete inspiration for the design of the logo, she explains that “The project has three main characteristics on which I had to focus my attention while developing the logo. The first is the ambition of Milan Genius 2019 to act as an international representative of contemporary art and culture that makes Italy great all over the world and recognizes it as a driving force of creativity. The second is the need to enhance, in particular, the metropolitan city of Milan as a privileged symbol of design, art, and of course Italian music. Finally, the need to highlight the modernity and dynamism that the project needs to test itself in a foreign cultural environment.”   

In the creation of the logo Arianna felt necessary to include traditional elements of our identity such as the Italian flag and the Milan Cathedral, as “symbols that brings together people and nations in a united cultural community”.  

As for the general style adopted for the logo, she concludes by explaining that “ to express the effort of Milano Genius 2019 to project itself in a modern and dynamic way in cultural contemporaneity of various and numerous foreign environments, I thought to use a minimalist and essential style in order to make the logo adaptable to all the cultural environments in which it will be presented.”

The logo is therefore not only the official symbol of Milano Genius, but also a tangible reminder of what the project stands for: cultural exchange beyond geographic barriers and the celebration of cultural expressions of any kind.