Never before have we needed symbols of beauty, solidarity and peace as much as we do now. It is with these values in mind that in recent days Azuma Makoto has set to work in one of the most spectacular locations in Japan.
Inside the “hill of lavander” near Sapporo, just where a few years ago the architect Tadao Ando created a huge statue of a Buddha, the floral artist has created an installation entitled “Atamadaibutsu to hana”, or “the hill of Buddha and flowers.
Right between the hands of the huge statue, Azuma Makoto placed a giant bouquet of flowers. At this time of year, the colors of the different flowers create a contrast with the white of the snow that covers both the hill and the statue. It is a representation of hope, of something that manages to bloom despite the weather.
As he did a year ago, the artist took advantage of the extremely low temperatures to freeze the flowers by spraying water on them and thus managing to keep their beauty intact.
Milan is the place where things happen, the city of ‘miracles’ in the words of 5tate Of Mind, a brand that has launched its new collection dedicated to the city, which celebrates the entry into the brand of Guè, a symbol of a certain Milan at least as much as the Madonnina. It is precisely the Madonnina, together with the Biscione and a well-defined iconographic repertoire, that has mixed with the street world that has been part of 5tate Of Mind since its foundation in 2011. Founder JimmySpinelli explains that “Emme-I Miracles wants to recreate the character of a city and an entire movement, the miracles of Milan are seen through the eyes of the street, which does not wait for them but tries to make them happen“. “The collection was born years ago when we associated the brand motto with various cities, starting with Bologna and a JAY-Z cover. We wanted to give each city a team, without renouncing two aspects that even today are essential for a brand: credibility and authenticity with which ideas are born and transmitted“, the founder told Collater.al at the launch event in the Atipici store in Milan.
In this collection, a direction is indicated that tries not to deviate from the path traced by hip-hop of its origins, there are garments and elements that reinterpret elements of the underground tradition since the 90s: “authenticity is important, timeless style has seen iconic garments and elements that return and are reworked such as a collegiate sporty style, technical-military style and the use of graphics on hoodies and t-shirts”, elements that appear on Miracles garments in orange, black and grey.
Giacomo Berti Arnoaldi Veli, a partner in the brand together with Guè, talks about how the aim is to ‘reconnect with the communities in the cities that are part of the movement of which we are an expression’, then adds that 5tate Of Mind has a ‘connection with the world of music and cultural movements that hardly other brands have. We are really connected with musicians from north and south and will do so in the future through events and faces that belong to the scene. Emme-I Miracles is not a collection that follows a movement but moves in unison with it, it represents and at the same time is part of a movement. In the background some of Guè’s hits from recent years play, he has arrived in store and we ask him to tell us about the project too.
Some symbols of Milan are taken up in the collection, what is your symbol of the city? Milan has famous symbols everywhere but there are many others. One of the ones I am attached to is Parco Sempione, it shaped me a lot in the 90s, there was a mixed humanity and I got into hip hop through the graffiti and writer scene that frequented the park. The Milanese are portrayed in their stereotypes, that too is a symbol of Milan, as is the fact that it is the most European city in Italy and the mecca of hip hop, if all the major artists live here there must be a reason.
The collection wants to be a unifying element for the scene, what is the aim of Emme-I Miracles? The collection aims to pay homage to an original style, which is where we come from, I came into the project, we started from Milan but we will pay homage to other cities.
What do you like about rap music today? There’s no one direction and I like that, so there’s no one drift. Everything is rehashed and it’s a cycle that comes back, a more original sound is coming back and it’s successful, Marracash does hip hop for adults and it works, kids on the other hand interpret the genres of now and it’s normal. There are many facets and many are successful, I prefer certain sounds but I don’t condemn anything, I listen more to reggae and Jamaican dancehall but everyone brings something new to their projects. Everything ends up in a blender and that’s interesting, then in the end one already listens to what one wants, there are interesting things everywhere.
Spotify’s Wrapped recently came out, which artists did you listen to the most? In Italy the one I listened to most was Paky, on the chart I also had light artists like Bad Bunny, who I have always appreciated, and Drake, who although he has disappointed me with his latest projects is perfect for more chill situations. Among the underground I had Joey Badass, he was quite strange my Wrapped.
Among the many moments in December that one could begin to describe with “it’s that time of year again when…,” it is certainly that time of year again when the Pantone color authority company decides what shade will influence the coming year. For 2023 the color chosen has code 18-1750 and its name is “VivaMagenta.” As can be guessed from the name the color is reminiscent of the primary color, only darker, Pantone in its release describes it as “bold and fearless, a pulsating color whose exuberance promotes a joyful and optimistic celebration. It is a bold color, full of spirit and inclusive of all.”
The pantone executive director also revealed the origin of Viva Magenta: “In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known. Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.” Viva Magenta thus takes the place of Very Peri, Pantone of 2022.
In Santeria Paladini 8 in Milan, on the occasion of the series of meetings organized by Curiouser and Curiouser was guest artist KensukeKoike, or as he better describes himself, an “alchemist of the image.” Koike’s work starts from painting; it was in Venice, during his years of studies, that due to circumstances he decided to shift his attention to photographic images, especially those yellowed and abandoned by time, which would lead him to develop a style close to collage, but also to kinetic art, and magic.
Photography for Kensuke Koike is an object to be transformed, which is why he does not consider a photographer, whose creative process is the result of a moment, of speed of execution. Koike also takes months and months before he is able to find the correct combination and arrangement of elements, in a creative method typical of Japanese art and ritual in general. From his archive of some 80,000 photos he then begins a journey through sepia-toned subjects and faces, which are cut, torn, superimposed, combined, rotated, giving new meaning to unknown stories. It is the simplicity of how Kensuke’s works work – well documented on Instagram – that draws the viewer in. The way the works unravel and deform create videos that we might find in a “satisfying” section, a result achieved by the precision of the cuts, the manic study of composition and movement.
As of Saturday, November 19, the Via Spaventa neighborhood in Milan has two new “Paladins of Dreams,” these are two figures painted by artist La Fille Bertha together with the boys and girls of the UIA project “Wish Mi: Wellbeing Integrated System of Milan.” Over the past few months, together with ActionAid Italia educators, the artist and the boys and girls involved in the project identified themes capable of telling the identity of an entire neighborhood, but also the dreams of the new generations living in it. The artwork presented filled the Milanese neighborhood with energy not only thanks to the bright colors and the artist’s geometric and minimal style, but also to the action of the boys and girls, who, after coming up with the concept of the work, took cans and colors themselves, contributing to the creation of the mural.
Wish Mi showed art as a tool for participation, sharing and dialogue between residents and the city. The talent of La Fille Bertha helped push further the imagination horizons of the boys and girls, who in turn opened an imaginary of symbols and subjects, in a mutual exchange that culminated in “The Paladins of Dreams.” The nature of the project, co-funded by the European Commission-European Regional Development Fund and developed by the City of Milan, ActionAid Italy, Milan Polytechnic Foundation, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, and ABCittà Cooperative, is to define the needs and dreams of an active community, whose dreams must be represented by the context that surrounds them and by figures that are totems of hope, just like the paladins represented in the work. After the mural created in 2021 by Mister Thoms in the Comasina-Bruzzano neighborhood, Wish Mi 2022 returns to reinterpret the role of Milan and the young generations that inhabit it through public art. A wall that will be the backdrop to the walks of an entire neighborhood, it will be the background and starting point of stories yet to be written and dreamed.