Luca Longobardi explains us the immersive art experiences

Luca Longobardi explains us the immersive art experiences

Giulia Guido · 2 weeks ago · Music

There is a place where art, performance and music come together to become a single thing capable of enveloping the viewer. They are called immersive shows and among them we can say that the Immersive Van Gogh and Immersive Klimt shows are the best. 

For almost two years now, more than 3 million people across North America have bought tickets to be transported into the imagery and works of these masters of art. Sitting under the stars of Starring Night, stepping into Van Gogh’s bedroom or taking a walk in a field of sunflowers: thanks to the work of Massimiliano Siccardi, author and director, and Luca Longobardi, pianist, composer and sound designer, all this is possible. 

On the occasion of the reopening of Immersive Van Gogh in New York scheduled for tomorrow, November 17, we had the opportunity to speak with Luca Longobardi, starting of course from the creation of the soundtrack and musical direction of these shows and coming to analyze the relationship between places and music. 

Read on to find out what he told us, follow him on Instagram so you don’t miss his upcoming work and on Spotify to listen to his compositions. 

Tell us who you are, what your background is and how you got to where you are now.

I started playing the piano when I was 4 years old, thanks to the foresight of my parents who, as non-musicians, supported my passion from the beginning. My training path has been quite “classic”: diploma in Piano and Composition at the Conservatory, Bachelor in Piano Performance in NY, Second Level at the Conservatory and then a PhD in Digital Audio Restoration at La Sapienza in Rome.I started very young as a concert pianist, it was what I imagined for me when I grew up, but when I later came into contact with the reality of traditional theaters and independent productions of contemporary dance I discovered a passion for directing, digital visual arts, installations and experimental composition. This is how my research of a total performance started, finding in sound and visual multimedia the language I prefer.

In 2012 I started my journey in immersive art by signing the musical direction and the original soundtrack of the immersive performances of Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence, Atelier des Lumières in Paris, Bunker de Lumières in Jeju (South Korea), Bassins de Lumières (Bordeaux) and Kunstkraftwerk in Leipzig.

In this period, my artistic relationship with Massimiliano Siccardi, video artist, director and guru of immersive art to whom I am also linked by a deep friendship, has been consolidated becoming more and more productive. This has allowed me to undertake in this field an authorial path even more precise and experimental. This is how Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit was born, which debuted in Toronto at 1 Yonge Street in the middle of the pandemic in July 2020. After a year and a half, the show has become the most popular entertainment show in North America with 3.5 million tickets sold.

What are your go-to artists and musicians?

Beethoven is my first choice. During my years of study in New York, I took a monographic course during which I had the opportunity to analyze his works almost in their entirety and also to read a lot about his life and approach to music. His concepts of musical writing, of “thinking by parameters”, of cohesion and timbral division have been a real epiphany and have strongly influenced my approach to composition over time. In the contemporary scene, I would say Arvo Pärt, for his minimalism and expressive purity, and Murcof, who handles the concept of noise and silence in such a way that they become structural in the creative process.

You took care of the sound design and original compositions of the immersive shows on Van Gogh and Klimt. What is your creative process? What do you start from and how do you develop the compositions?

Immersive art is a very complex concept, it’s not just a technical way to represent A/V in huge spaces. The word “immersive” indicates a deep engagement of intentions that connect images and sound so that the audience may be able to experience a different perception of art. The music should not “overpower” the images but, on the contrary, should allow for a different, more personal and intimate yet collective approach. For example, the soundtrack assembled for Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit develops following two main narrative concepts: the human and emotional condition of the artist and his way of expressing his sensitivity through creative action. The clear image of Van Gogh is that he often looks for understanding in other artists, even if he ends up finding solitude as the only possible condition – both in a positive and negative sense – and this is the constant that links the two concepts.

Whether it’s the introspection he often indulges in or the isolation in nature to paint it in all its power, Van Gogh is alone in his uniqueness and psychic fragility. A feeling that unfortunately became easily shared when the show debuted in July 2020, in the midst of the disorientation due to the pandemic. In this case, original pieces in which I made extensive use of soundscapes or very famous songs such as Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne Regrette Rien” invoked that involuntary memory (to use Marcel Proust’s concept) that allowed people to generate new and specific attachments to the experience, a new madeleine moment.

For Immersive Klimt Revolution, however, the discourse changes. Klimt’s art communicates a different concept, his paintings are revolution, rupture, eroticism, concepts that explode in the eyes of the viewer thanks to an impeccable technique that leaves you breathless. The soundtrack, in this case, is more dense and textural, very complex and articulated, with large proportions and quite different from the other immersive works created so far, probably because there was a strong need to recreate the time for a transformation, for a clear perception of freedom and novelty brought by the revolution. It is a slow construction of an emotional tension that explodes in the final 8-minute techno track during which some details of the works completely fill the space as in the visuals of a rave. It is for all of us the moment of reaction, of rebirth and with this choice, I thought to give voice to a dance that could allow everyone to perform an act of initiation, a tribal ritual of liberation, to dance until feeling part of a sociality that unites us, where distance is only the space that our reinvigorated aura takes to shine again alive and without fear.

The immersive shows for which you curate the musical direction and soundtrack are staged all over the world and in different countries, with different musical traditions. Do the places they are staged in influence your work?

It’s definitely something I keep in mind especially in the choice of already published songs, both pop and classical, because some characteristics, such as the language of a song sung or its success in a country, contribute in a fundamental way to the construction of the emotional attachment that the public creates with the show. Music is a cultural fact, music is identity, it is belonging, and although it objectively “belongs to everyone” it creates a very subjective emotional relationship because it shifts its perception to a more intimate sphere, pushing us all, despite cultural or age differences, towards a wider sense of belonging.

Tell us three tracks that could never be missing from your perfect playlist.

Stand by Me in the version by Florence and the Machine, Says di Nils Frahm and Doomed di Moses Sumney, strictly in that order.

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MIRO: a window to the world by Jacopo Di Cera

MIRO: a window to the world by Jacopo Di Cera

Chiara Sabella · 2 weeks ago · Art, Photography

When we think of a trip we usually imagine a combination of novelty and adventure that pauses our routine. MIRO, the new photomaterial project by photographer Jacopo Di Cera, offers us a different kind of journey. The destination is already predetermined, the route is known and obligatory, but the road is no less significant: it is the daily journey of the commuter.

For ten years, Jacopo Di Cera’s adventure has taken place in the same location, on the same Milan-Rome Frecciarossa train, with his gaze fixed on the same window that the artist incorporates into his photographic work. The result is a collection of twenty train windows that capture the amazement in the monotony of the kilometers that succeed one another. The project can be seen until November 21 at Paratissima in Turin and from November 17 to 21 in the capital, for Roma Arte in Nuvola.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da jacopo di cera (@jacopodicera)

Each shot marks a stage, an unrepeatable moment of light, colors and subjects that present themselves to the viewer, the commuter, from an apparently anonymous window on the world, like the compartment of a train we usually take.
In Jacopo Di Cera’s shots, the extraordinary and the everyday seem to be sides of the same coin. With a photomateric style, the artist starts from the physical and narrative properties of the photographic support and launches himself into challenges that become works to “contemplate closely, touch, listen and smell”. A research that gives body to the soul of the image to transport us, with humanity and delicacy, in the story it tells.

Italy running on the railway tracks shows itself in all its unpredictable beauty, along a route that we no longer call a journey. In front of an “outside” that evolves with the seasons, we sense the importance of those hours and feel the journey as the photographer means it: an intimate experience where we can grow and rediscover ourselves, thanks to the world that surrounds us.

In his artistic journey, the photographer lets us know the thousand shades that this word takes on, from the mythological journey to the tourist one, up to the journey of the migrant. This time, he starts from the routine of a “monotonous” working life to reflect on the places that we frequent every day without really living. A station, a ticket, a train taken thousands of times lose the charm of the first time, are not able to excite a distracted glance.

“But it’s not like that, the experience is there, waiting for you, outside the window, far from any digital screen, ready to be lived”. By putting us in front of the same window, Jacopo Di Cera appeals to the curiosity and amazement that are within us and asks for an active gaze, to go beyond the banality of everyday life and rediscover its beauty, “to go out of oneself to find oneself in a different way”.

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Zerocalcare and 4 other Italian cartoonists to discover and rediscover

Zerocalcare and 4 other Italian cartoonists to discover and rediscover

Andrea Tuzio · 2 weeks ago · Art

Chances are, even if you haven’t seen it, you’ve come across at least one scene or frame from “Strappare lungo i bordi”, Zerocalcare‘s new Netflix series – animated by Florence-based DogHead Animation – released November 17.

The impact of the series has been literally deflagrating, a huge success that has led the first Italian animated production for Netflix, to become the most viewed series in Italy on the American streaming platform. 
The motivations and explanations behind this incredible boom are simple: to address deep and important issues through the universal key of irony and with a direct and simple language – despite the Roman dialect and the arrogance of some passages – able to reach everyone and that is for everyone. 
A perfect balance between laughter, sharp points of reflection and profound moments able to make us clench our stomachs to the point of tears.
6 episodes of 20 minutes each that take us on a personal journey but that affects us all, in which each of us can identify and identifies, as in an automatic reaction of connection with the characters.

“Strappare lungo i bordi” is a small masterpiece of Italian animation that talks about disorientation, paranoia, feelings, hypochondria, love, loneliness and death. Zerocalcare deals with all this marasmus of human emotions in his own way, the way we started to know thanks to his most famous comics such as Kobane Calling, La profezia dell’armadillo, and many others, in addition to his already established fame on the web, this last aspect explains very well the current phenomenology of the cartoonist from Rebibbia. The meeting with the general public, however – before these Netflix series – came thanks to his participation as an “almost” regular guest on Diego Bianchi’s show Propaganda Live on LA7, where Zerocalcare shared his Rebibbia Quarantine, a mini-series in which Michele Rech – this is his real name – described his personal lockdown invading, even in that case, all our bulletin boards and feeds. 
Landing on Netflix Zerocalcare has made the definite leap into the mainstream, which is not a bad thing eh you mean, it has only given the opportunity for those who were far from the world in which Michele Rech lives and moves and that tells his alter ego comics through his adventures, to immerse themselves in a new and unknown world but that he immediately felt his own. 

This landing and the consequent success of Zerocalcare also gives us the chance to discover and rediscover those Italian cartoonists who, for one reason or another, are little known to the general public who don’t read comics but who loved “Strappare lungo i bordi”.

The first to mention is certainly Gianni Pacinotti, aka Gipi.
Cartoonist, illustrator and director, Gipi’s work is a synthesis between adventure and realism that ranges between the news and personal experience. He is not a very prolific author but he asserts himself very quickly thanks to his drawings and his bitter and at the same time touching poetics often linked to existential malaise. His 2013 comic Unastoria is the first graphic novel to enter the twelve finalists of the 2014 Premio Strega. 

Next is Leo Ortolani
The father of Rat-Man, with his unique and peculiar brilliant style, makes fun of contemporary society through the typical stereotypes of superheroes. 
Rat-man is in fact an atypical and tragicomic superhero, short and clumsy who spends his days eating and lazing around rather than training. Hypodotised, with a bad smell and without any superpowers, Rat-Man lacks intelligence, physical strength and common sense but manages to exploit the bad luck that haunts him in his favour but above all our superhero does not give up.
Of this iconic comic book was also made an animated series, personally supervised by Ortolani, aired by RAI, consisting of 52 episodes of 13 minutes each.

Mattia Labadessa is another one that if you don’t know you must do everything to catch up.
Cartoonist of absolute talent, the twenty-eight year old Neapolitan is an illustrator and graphic designer as well as the father of a character-bird protagonist of simple and crude situations where dominates the anguish typical of our everyday life related to personal vicissitudes that each of us faces, all accompanied by a devastating humor. His books, Le cose così, Mezza fetta di limone, Bernardino Cavallino and Piccolo are real literary cases thanks to the success of public and critics. 

We close with the young Jessica Cioffi, aka Loputyn.
Illustrator and cartoonist with a crystal clear talent, Loputyn stands out for her delicate and soft style and for her mysterious, dreamlike and disturbing drawings.
Her work is a novelty in the Italian comics scene, especially in the world of fantasy and horror. An absolute pearl.

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Being a newborn in the pandemic according to Pia Bramley

Being a newborn in the pandemic according to Pia Bramley

Tommaso Berra · 1 week ago · Art

White sheets in which only a thin line shapes the forms of simple, ordinary characters, intent on common gestures, hurried and pure. The English illustrator Pia Bramley creates drawings and engravings of daily rituals, vignettes without filters or pictorial complications, as in the case of the works collected in the latest book “Pandemic Baby: Becoming a Parent in Lockdown“. The illustrated volume (available here) deals with the fluctuating period of the pandemic through the eyes of a newborn who slowly discovers the world, sitting comfortably in his mother’s arms or looking enchanted outside a window.
Pia Bramley’s book is a testimony to the discovery of a new world, inhabited by adults wearing masks who are unaware of anything strange in the eyes of the child. This unawareness is represented through childish gestures such as rebelling against the mother or playing with cutlery, while everything is seen through the eyes of a parent.

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Michelin star awarded dishes that look like works of art

Michelin star awarded dishes that look like works of art

Tommaso Berra · 1 week ago · Art

On the evening of Tuesday, November 23rd, all the Michelin stars of 2022, the greatest international recognition in the world of catering, were announced for the first time in live streaming.
The 67th edition has awarded 378 restaurants, 56 only in Lombardy (the region with the highest number of stars), 36 are the restaurants introduced for the first time in the elite of Michelin stars, 15 instead have not confirmed the high standards required by the guide established by the French company.
Among these standards there is certainly the taste and respect for raw materials and sustainability of cooking, but also an aesthetic component which must have the dishes once presented on the table. Scrolling through the menus and the sites of the restaurants included in the 2022 guide it is possible to see how the technique and creativity of the chefs leads to create real works of art. The profile of the dish becomes the frame of small masterpieces of color and texture.

Pastas, meats, fish and sauces look like they were laid by painters on ceramic canvases. Dishes look like monochromes by Kazimir Malevič as in the case of “The five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different texture and temperatures” by Massimo Bottura, or wonderful expressionist palettes as in the dessert “Pannacotta Matisse” by chef Enrico Crippa.
The search for balance, be it chromatic or taste, the contrasts of textures and the union between craftsmanship and abstract concepts is what brings cuisine and painting closer together. The only real luck is that the works of art of the Michelin Guide can be eaten.

Check out the full list of starred restaurants for 2022 HERE.


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