May 12th-16th, Florence will open its doors to the world, displaying some of its most important architectural and artistic treasures during an important cultural event organized by the international fashion institute, Polimoda: #MOMENTINGTHEMEMENTO – the #IFFTI2015 Conference.

The annual conference, part of the of the #IFFTI2015 network (International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes), is an international project that every year unites over 46 advanced training institutes specializing in fashion, and art & design, bringing together important universities, companies, and representatives from all over the world.

In this 17th edition of the annual conference, to be held in the heart of the Renaissance, Polimoda will create a “moment” that aims to reactivate and stimulate the city of Florence, by remembering its history and focusing on its inspirations through debates, performances and installations involving the participation of “visionaries”, including international artists, experts and opinion leaders from the worlds of art, fashion and culture.


 

 


 What can we do to enjoy creativity? How can we encourage creativity? How can we discover creativity? How do we select creative minds? How and why are we searching for creativity?


DRESS

Especially during Art Fairs, Art Biennales, Fashion Weeks or Festivals of different disciplines our sixth sense is more attentive. We are in search of a new hype, a new style or a different aesthetic, a new emotion, or what I call “moments”. And so, in the Fashion world, when we are happy with a more sensual and feminine Gucci for men, a more deconstructed silhouette for Raf Simons, and a sleeker silhouette for Givenchy menswear that pleases women as well, we have a positive reaction to the world we live in. And if Walter van Beirendonck says ‘stop terrorizing our world’ we agree, because we have just experienced a wake-up call about freedom of expression and a religious perception of what freedom might mean to each of us. And when we see a new expression of our body language, or dress to be reborn in a more abstract concept, then we feel history might be ready for a new experience or a new decade of creativity. The 21st century has not brought great innovations and therefore we are just copying and pasting the old ones. We are not creating new ones and that might signal the start of decadence in our society. And if we look at past generations and past decades we still like our ancestors, their stories, their dreams, their disappointments, their drugs and decadence, and their naivety. We must overcome the dangerous memories and stop living amidst nostalgia for the past. 

BODY

We are looking for the next Art or Architecture Biennale and we dream and discuss the titles and the curators. They will give us the answers! Pavilions will again be our meeting points to create the moments in which we recognize our personal cultural attachments, linked to the place where we were born. Manifestos will be launched and talks organized, discussions and open platforms will be programmed to initiate the debate about art – is it still relevant? does it reflect society? – bringing wise and experienced visionaries together. During these encounters we try to understand the future, often because we look to the past. Here our body and our body language are the only ways to express our fears and dreams; they can suggest solutions for the suffering, the questions, the uncertainties of the world we live in surrounded by war and terror. We use our body to express those fears and to connect with an audience that is also searching… searching… should we all follow the Master Classes of Carolyn Carlson to understand better the functions and possible uses of our body? 

IMAGERY

We live the hybridization of a liquid society. A hybrid society is one that comprises a range of social and cultural influences and components, rather than having a homogenous identity. A liquid society is defined by its fragility, its temporariness, its vulnerability and inclination to constant flow and change. Thanks to the liquid society we are hybrid, we are multiverse; we are a set of infinite or finite possible universes comprising everything that exists such as space, time, matter, and energy… We are visible but simultaneously invisible; we are versatile, but also liquid. We are multi but also one. Thanks to the www we know more. We find data we were searching for, we have the answers to our daily questions, and following up the eventual answers we can start doing research. Conclusion: the World Wide Web stimulates our curiosity. Thanks to the www we are connected; the place, the location, the city, the house, the shop, the school, the museum we live in become abstract… We are here but also elsewhere, we have more friends, the world has no borders, we Skype and talk, we are connected all around the clock. We are social, but are we? We travel more, but do we travel better? We eat more but do we eat better? We learn more but do we learn better? We write more but do we write better? We love more but do we love better? We live a new concept that is named space, time, science or poetry. Thanks to this new concept of space, our generations are multi-faceted. The 89+ generation of Hans Ulrich Obrist is a society emerging from the strata of generations, born after 89. Therefore our messages have to be redefined; our vocabulary is different; our visual perceptions are layered; our language has changed; our dreams are the same but they are composed of different memories; our museums are old, our archives dusty, our writing does not reflect our present emotions; our perceptions of art and culture change in a multi-layered perception. 

CALLIGRAPHY

We write more but do we write better? This might be a nonsense question but the speed of the life we live is responsible for our superficiality and fragility; remember we are liquid and search for constant change. Marcel Broodthaers chose art as an expression because of his failure as a writer; the juxtaposition of text and image becomes poetry. The question of the meaning of art, querying the venue of the exhibition, the role of the gallery, querying too the institution of the museum and its functions are all part of art itself. Broodthaers says, “For me, film is an extension of language. I began with poetry, then visual art, and finally cinema, which brings together several different elements of art. Writing (poetry), the object (visual art) and the image (video or film) are brought together”. The example of Broodthaers is important for understanding the different meanings of the act of writing. In China calligraphy is an art itself and has to be improved by repetition to refine the skill that gives the word its expression. Cobra used writing as painting and painting often means writing a colour or expressing a mood or communicating a manifesto. The artist On Kawara expresses moments by painting a date on a canvas. Dante, the famous Florentine writer and poet, became a pharmacist because, at the time of the Middle Ages, books were sold from apothecary shops. Writing about art, design, fashion, dance, literature has become merely reporting what one sees and not what one feels. We write about the style, colour, line, shape, volume, size, and texture but do we write about the essence of the work? Can we start a debate about what calligraphy can teach us to be a better writer?

SPACE

We are surrounded by architecture. Some buildings were made 3000 years ago, others date from the last decade or are built by Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry. We are living in those earlier monuments, cloisters, palaces or previous temples. Ou Ning, Chinese activist, art director, writer, is escaping from big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai and is going back to the rural environment of Bishan. He is a part of the ‘Rural Reconstruction Movement’. Can we choose the act of construction and reconstruction? Are we able to build spaces we can inhabit, use as institutes for education or for museum activities without disturbing skylines? What do we conserve and what is to be destroyed? Is history the right driver for conservation? Is the Santa Croce basilica a history book for art and architecture lovers or is it tool for reading history in a contemporary context? From the simplicity of Giotto to the dramatic tombs of the Romantics we are surrounded by clashes of history and we are confused. Does this collage reflect the actual state in which the cities of the world are growing and creating an ever more complex urban chaos? Some houses in far away cultures are still today built by hand with ice, leaves, wood or plaster, but handicrafts are disappearing. Hands are becoming useless. We use three-D, scanning and super technologies to show us our way around unknown cities. Drones follow every step we make and we feel that is ok. We are not anonymous, we are multiple, and we are both universe and universal. 

CRAFT

Last but not least we reflect on craft, the noble art of creating an object, a form, a material, a liquid, or simply a pot or a vase. We are seeking to preserve this art as we find it is disappearing as a result of its insignificance to our modern word. The speed of our society leaves no time or place for craft. The slow pace and processes are not acceptable to our new way of thinking, working, dreaming. Craftsmen are lone individuals, slowly facing isolation. We are global and global seems to be linked to loneliness. Industrialization changed our perception of time and centuries later we are again fascinated by the undiscovered potential of science and scientific research. We are fascinated by the capacities of our new devices, our new communication tools, and our supernatural technologies by which we are connected. The sky is the limit. Researchers are giving us endless surprises but these are only the beginning of what our imagination can do. We are torn between the lack of slowness and the longing for fastness. We are addicted to this new technology that offers us a new human and trans human relationship. The artist is the thinker and he uses craftsmen to realize their dream. 

Linda Loppa, Director of Polimoda on #IFFTI2015


IFFTI POLIMODA MOMENTING THE MEMENTO CONFERENCE 2015

The Creatures Factory

Follow Reykjavik Boulevard live feed @RvkBvd from #IFFTI2015 on:

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 LIVE @ Palazzo Vecchio, Salone de’ Dugento (Piazza della Signoria)

PRESS CONFERENCE

Giovanni Bettarini, Assessore di Firenze

Firenze vuole essere una città che assieme ai valori di bellezza e grandiosità della sua storia, punti sulla creatività e la capacità di creare valore. 

Vogliamo essere all’altezza: la riflessione su moda, arte e creatività possa creare valore e futuro in termini di idee e capacità di leggere il mondo nelle sue trasformazioni e in termini di creazione economica. 

Questo evento deve essere un evento di creazione anche a partire dalla sua “distribuzione” nella città: Palazzo Vecchio, Biblioteca Nazionale, Santa Croce, Villa Favard, Palazzo Strozzi, Odeon Cinehall. L’intento è di coinvolgere la città attivamente. 

Ferruccio Ferragamo, Presidente Polimoda

IFFTI è un progetto molto bello, un’occasione per confrontarci e per confrontare i nostri punti di vista cercando di guardare sempre avanti, mirando il più lontano possibile.

 47 Istituti da 36 Paesi diversi presenti alla #IFFTI2015, e Polimoda è l’unico ente Italiano. Firenze ospita per la prima volta questo evento internazionale e crediamo che da questo confronto venga fuori un terzo polo, un terzo dipartimento dedicato all’innovazione nel mondo della moda.

Mi auguro che #IFFTI2015 possa costituire un importante valore aggiunto e un simbolo di riconoscibilità. 

Linda Loppa, Direttore Polimoda

Il progetto #MomentingTheMemento è nato e si è sviluppato in lingua inglese, una lingua con la quale riusciamo a comunicare tra diverse culture. 

In questa conferenza si vuol approfondire un dibattito anche sulla metodologia di insegnamento e apprendimento. Si vogliono cercare nuove strategie per il futuro: si vuol creare un progetto multi-disciplinare, una piattaforma che copra sei aree: Mestiere, Calligrafia, Corpo, Abito, Immaginario e Spazio. Si è voluto fortemente evitare la parola MODA, per una volta, cercando di creare una rete con professionisti di vari settori creando un ponte tra il passato e il futuro creando una nuova famiglia tra Paesi e Culture diverse del sistema moda. 

Abbiamo ricevuto 75 diversi progetti provenienti da diversi istituti internazionali e con queste persone ci siamo tenuti in contatto in tutto questo tempo grazie al mezzo Internet. Questo ci ha fatto comprendere appieno come la tecnologia abbia cambiato la nostra vita.

Questo progetto è iniziato quattro anni fa, quando Danilo Venturi – autore del libro – scrisse il primo capitolo del libro #MomentingTheMemento, con in testa questo momento che potesse rappresentare una spinta verso il futuro, un momento da cogliere assolutamente. 

L’organizzazione e la distribuzione di questi eventi nella città di Firenze è stato un progetto insolito: gli artisti si sono presentati a noi partecipando al bando di concorso. Un processo diverso dal solito di cui andare fieri: invito tutti a visitare le varie location all’interno delle quali si trovano le varie installazioni per far accadere una vera interazione con le opere.

La nostra intenzione è ottenere uno scambio di idee attraverso uno scambio di emozioni. Abbiamo la sensazione che nel sistema moda si sia perso questo scambio di emozioni, e vorremmo che questo cambiasse a partire da adesso.

Molto importanti saranno anche i “Talks” condotti da intellettuali visionari che si terranno presso l’Odeon Cinehall. Tra questi interverranno personaggi del calibro di Tim Blanks, Jane Rapley, Stefan Siegel, Sissel Tolaas, Clemens Thornquist, Ou Ning, Maria Sebregondi, Jan Debbaut, Michel Maffesoli e Diane Pernet [leggi l’intervista su Reykjavik Boulevard].

Ou Ning, Artista e Attivista

Sono felice di presentare la mia opera “The New Rural Reconstruction Movement” nell’ambito del mio progetto BISHAN PROJECT (nato nel 2010 quando ho deciso di lasciare Pechino per approdare in un minuscolo villaggio nel Sud della Cina) alla Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze in questa occasione speciale e voglio ringraziare infinitamente la Direttrice di Polimoda, Linda Loppa: il suo pensiero mi è piaciuto tantissimo fin da subito e ho deciso immediatamente di partecipare fin dal nostro primo contatto su Skype.

Il progetto che presento parte dal fatto che negli ultimi 30 anni la Cina ha visto uno sviluppo unico che ha portato anche ad uno svuotamento delle aree rurali ed uno spostamento della popolazione verso la città. Quello che sto cercando di fare è l’opposto: ricreare una società rurale, con la sua economia, con la sua vita culturale e sociale, incoraggiando un movimento opposto di ritorno dalla città alle aree rurali sostenendone una rinascita non soltanto basata sull’economia ma sulla rete sociale. Una sorta di “comunità utopica” che ho iniziato a ideare su un taccuino Moleskine dal 2010, quando ho scritto le prime linee guida di questo utopistico progetto diventato poi realtà. 

Annotando le mie idee, disegnando i miei progetti, ho dato vita alla collezione “Taccuini d’artista” di lettera27. 

#IFFTI2015


 MOLESKINE / LETTERA27 • #IFFTI2015 #MomentingTheMemento Workshop: How to make ideas happen

#IFFTI2015 (4) #IFFTI2015 (3) #IFFTI2015 (2)#IFFTI2015 (7)#IFFTI2015 (6)#IFFTI2015 (5)


Odeon Cinehall • #IFFTI2015 #ASVOFF Fashion Movie Contest Winner: Dis-comforting by Anna Maria Sadkowska

DIS-Comforting is a 1:16 min short video by Anna Maria Sadkowska (UK) winner of the #IFFTI2015 POLIMODA annual conference in collaboration with Diane Pernet: A Shaded View On Fashion Film.

The film explores older men’s experience of fashion and clothing. The result to-date includes a set of themes capturing the richness of the male ageing phenomenon in relation to fashion and clothing, their writer interpretation and corresponding fashion artefacts and films.

The submitted film (one of the nine films inspired by Craft, Calligraphy, Body, Dress, Imagery and Space main topics to reach the final part of the competition) “is touching upon the development of a unique system of values by the study of participant where the physical comfort has often been compromised for the sake of a fashionable look”, said the voting committee.

#IFFTI2015

Do you want to find out Reykjavik Boulevard favorite short movie from this competition?

Check it here below!

Kevin Frilet • UNDER

 


HUMANZINE by Aki Choklat and Ruggero Mengoni

This unique magazine is 125 cm in width and 200 cm in height. When the pages are opened the width will be close to 2.5 meters. The Finnish artist describes it:

“Normally, magazines are viewed from above, with small images, possibly evoking the fantasy world of fashion. We are the controlling giants and have the power to “flick” through pages in a god-like manner. We are the superior in this instance. With our magazine, we decided to match our human size. This will allow the reader to closely examine the images. The text was kept normal size, since we did not want to make a “blown up” magazine, just a magazine that is bigger. The launch issue is dedicated to fashion and the body. The magazine is void of any articles of clothing since the body is the essential starting point for fashion in our opinion. Also, we felt that it’s time to wipe the fashion plate clean and start from the body. There is one text related to the body, and several others on the main topic of the moment: is fashion dead?”


Art of Dress by London College of Fashion

For centuries dresses have been crafted in many styles and silhouettes. Constructed, deconstructed, reincarnated, decorated, exaggerated, celebrated, procrastinated, desired, berated and adored. The dress is the archetypical item of clothing.

In 2014-2015 London College of Fashion celebrates the art of dress in a project that will retrospectively umbrella centuries of dress evolution in all its various guises. The intent of the installation is to engage an audience to physically interact with the work on display. What begins as a designed untouchable item could end up in ashes, depending on how people interact with the work.

Of course, most of the people didn’t really “invest” on their personal creativity, destroying the item and just leaving with a funny smile on their faces. Creativity or disaster?


Absence by Charlotte Goldthorpe

Having a love of personal possessions allows one to create new artifacts from the already existing, rather than re-design for commercial gain. It enables sustainability from up-cycling the landscape, yet preserves the memory of what once was. Casting objects in a translucent, platinum cure silicone that holds it shape yet has a rubbery malleable feel to the surface.

The silicone is cast in spherical molds with the object suspended until it sets. This creates an almost holographic impression of the object when it has been removed. The silicone in this form is usually used as mold to produce a “positive”, however in this work the mold is the finished piece allowing the “negative” space to become the positive object.

This installation tries to capture the beauty, elegance and detail of bygone objects, allowing the onlooker to see the space the object once occupied without it actually being present: this is Absence.


 Wearable Homes by Bunga Gauken University, Tokyo (Japan)

Cultures have, for many centuries, juxtaposed concepts from divergent disciplines in order to create entirely new areas of study and exploration. This trend remains prevalent in contemporary society, with Japan and other countries, increasingly developing innovative fashion-based concepts. Widespread creative collaborations has lead to the negation of exclusivity.

This installation, inspired by the aforementioned trend, attempts to bridge the divide between architecture and fashion. Wearable Homes chose architecture and fashion on the grounds that these disciplines are familiar to those from all walks of life, and therefore does not require expert knowledge to be appreciated. The key concepts of this installation lead to the selection of “to wear” and “home”, merging these two concepts gave birth to the title: a living and authentic design theme.

We had fun sitting or entering physically the diverse homes, watching through the eye-holes or imagining a new destination to the forms abandoned on the ground. And suddenly felt like this kind of fashion-architecture could even be real in Japan.


Fragments by Andrea Cammarosano

In this installation the artist elaborates the themes of destruction and reconstruction. Coming from a family of historians, textual and archaeological fragments have always been part of Andrea’s imaginary. Culture is not unitarian, he suggests: it is a laborious collage of these fragments.

Fragments is composed of parts of an imaginary uniform, pasted together in a fragmented configuration. Blank areas, plaster casts and the hollowness of the garments, suggest the presence of a wearer by exposing his absence. The materials used are plaster, cotton muslin and oxydized surfaces.

Conceived as a three-dimensional collage, the installation also represents a dialogue with the surrounding environment of Santa Croce, which is itself the result of a centuries-long collage of styles.


The New Body by Saumya Pande

The basic concept of this installation finds its origin in the idea of Brahmasutra. In its simplest form, it is cosmic (Brahma) thread (Sutra), the imaginary thread that passes through the core of the human body. It simultaneously connects the body with cosmic expanses above, and grounds it. It not only assists the body in its posture but also enables it to extend and elongate. As it passes through the body center balancing right and left, it simmetrically divides the body in two. This imaginary line stretches the body, enables it to discover the sheath, unravels the layers underneath and seeks alignment within.

This installation amalgamates the experience of dance and textile, and encapsulates certain postures from Tribhangi (a dance form in which the dancer discovers the three bends of the body along the shoulder, waist and knee, in the process playing with the “S” curve. These dancers also learn to divide the body into various planes in the posture of Chauk, the square formation in which arm(s) and knee is bent). The Brahmasutra is visualized as the intangible core around which the body is seen as an organic form.

The New Body installation was created by various handcraft techniques such as knitting, knotting, wrapping, splicing, braiding and more with basic raw materials like fiber and yarn.


The Coreographed Garment by Ulrik Martin Larsen

This work explores choreography and costume design with a focus on how garments can inform and direct movement, choreography and performance, and in turn how movement may inform and contribute to the development of dynamic garments.

The seven movies of this installation represent and relate to different aspects of choreography, scenography and performance space: the garments act as co-creators and directors of movement proposing new patterns derived from the action of dressing, undressing and wearing.

The work seeks to demonstrate how the agency of garments can function as a manuscript in modern dance, and how performance itself redefines the notion of wearing and the conception of garments.


 Intervening Space by Lisette Ros

The artist is using her own body as medium reframing conventions. It is an open, visual research of human behavior and its relationship with space. The installation – amongst our favorite – pays special attention to spaces rendered boring and mundane by society. It chose the act of “sitting”: research shows that the average person sits between 8-10 hours a day, and this increases our chances of premature death with up to 40%.

In this installation the artist’s aim is to experience what is like to sit down on the same chair for eight hours, making use of performance techniques such as emphasizing, isolation, repetition and over-exaggeration in order to fully experience what happens to the body during these eight hours.

I set with Lisette, with only a clock dividing our bodies, close to a sign with “Sitting is the new smoking” written on it. The serious expression of the artist together with the background sounds brought me to a sort of “meditation” space, where me and Lisette were eye-on-eye for half an hour, a time where I completely forgot being sit and started asking myself things about her life like how her voice did sound or what kind of music she listened to and much more. Maybe being silent holding glance would be a good way to understand each other? If you never try, you never know.


 Neo Ornamentation by David Thomas and Vicky Fong

A group of six individuals worked within a controlled and recorded environment in order to produce a united creative expression through the mediums and crafts related to Fashion design and production.

Three films were produced, each recording being 90 minutes long and each student had a time slot of 15 minutes to create, destroy, manipulate or refine existing garments. The film’s objective was to capture a creative reaction and suggest the possibilities of translating them into potentially valued commodities for both educational and commercial purposes.

The power of this installation is maybe to be researched more in the location chosen to project the films, inside the crypt of Santa Croce church, in the space where stairs run to an ornamental picture that became active part of the Neo Ornamentation, like an old layer juxtaposed to the new work.


The Echo in Her Heart by Gianpaolo D’Amico

However fascinating, fashion shows seem to warranty an overall similar experience: focusing the gaze on models clothed in designer-creations. The audience, generally speaking, gives meaning to these creations. Alternatively, what goes on in the minds of models before treading the catwalk? What feelings are present? Although their bodies are prepared, surrounding sound overwhelms their minds. Sensory overload, even deprivation, precedes their walk. Minds trapped in temporary hallucinations. A dream: a new awareness.

Echo in Her Heart is a sound installation that mimics the very sounds models auscultate before passing onto the catwalk, echoes that allows for participants to live this very experience. Participants move along a narrow corridor in which models are placed: unseen microphones are attached to the models’ chests, echoing their heartbeats. The sound is processed in real-time, diffused in space, in order to create a music composition experienced by models. The multiplication of human heartbeats builds a catwalk of sounds, only to be experienced by those standing nearby.

Gianpaolo D’Amico’s installation was the most impactful of the whole event: we chose this as our favorite because of the feelings it gave us and because of the power of the concept chosen by the Polimoda teacher. The model in the picture we took is Qiuyu Wang and the fashion design is by Yojiro Kake.


Palazzo Strozzi • CCC Strozzina • #IFFTI2015 Live Performance: Amelie Duchow