Category Archives: arte

Perché bisognerebbe disegnare, invece di fotografare

A fine ‘800, il critico d’arte inglese John Ruskin tentò una battaglia di retroguardia per convincere la gente a continuare a disegnare, nonostante fosse stata inventata la fotografia.

Ora che le fotografie sono sempre più facili da fare (con i telefoni, presto con gli occhiali) le sue argomentazioni sono forse ancora più attuali: disegnare aiuta a vedere meglio; la fotografia (non tutta la fotografia, certo quella fast food) è a volte un modo per consumare velocemente la realtà, senza goderla davvero.

Why you should stop taking pictures on your phone, in The School of Life.

Alpina

Alpina is a proposed Roman town, located in the Piedmont region, in the North-West of Italy, right below the Monviso mountain where the longest Italian river, Po (in Latin, Padus), begins.

Alpina is a traditional Roman castrum, positioned in a flat valley, at the elevation of about 700 metres. Its strategic value comes from the fact that the castrum sits right on one of the major ways leading from Italy to Gallia (the actual France), where the Romans made a rather short (80 metres) but precious hole through the mountain, in order to improve the passage of militiae and merchants toward French and British provinces.

The castrum has a traditional topology, with cardus and decumanus crossing in the middle, whe the remains of the forum may be found. Very few traces of the Roman buildings survive, however, likely because they were made of wood and stones, with the very notable exception of the Dome.

People living in Alpina are very active during spring, summer and fall, when the road through the Alps is busy and many foreigners pass through the town. They practice agriculture and there are many cows, sheeps and goats.

During the winter, however, the passage through the Alps is closed, because of rigid temperatures and of the fact that there is a lot of snow around.
So the main activities in Alpina during winter are skiing and other winter sports, that made the town similar in historical importance to what Olympia has been for later Summer Olympic games.

The ingenuity of Alpina inhabitants made possible the creation of wooden skis and sleds, and the environment makes possible both Alpine and Cross-Country skiing, as well as snowshoeing. A few of the soldiers and merchants that pass through Alpina in good seasons heard about these winter activities, and decided to stay in the town during winter.
This peculiarity of Alpina, unusual in the Roman empire, gave also rise to local cults in honor of cold divinities (algidi dei) with seasonal temples made of ice, rather similar to eskimo igloos, of which, with great despair of architecture historians, few traces remain.

The only remaining trace of those ancient cold cults is a statue of a Bear-Goddess suckling two little twins, a clear adaptation of the Roman foundation legend. This statue is positioned inside the main surviving Alpina building, a huge dome made of concrete and covered with bricks, where Alpina people played Curling. The Curling Dome was built in honor of Ursus Alpinus, the first rector provinciae, founder and main sponsor of the castrum.

Notes: the fictious Alpina castrum is located where now is the town of Paesana, 44°41′N 7°17′E. The hole through the Monviso mountain actually exists, but it was built during th Renaissance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Viso_tunnel). Earliest skis found date from the 6000 BC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skis#History. Curling was invented in Scotland, in the Middle Age: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curling#Origins_and_history

(Assignment for the Roman Architecture course, taught by Prof. Diana Kleiner of Yale at Coursera).

Musica del Mali

Qualche assaggio:

Ali Farka Toure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkSsN4dFj2E e http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWUcI7bGmY
Tinariwen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUS0-0Fv7c8
Ludovico Einaudi & Balake Sissoko: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMrYqla9uP0
Rokia Traoré: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS0qioPXjeE
Fatoumata Diawara: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J2j9U4_nC4

Hallelujah

Non avevo mai fatto caso al testo di Hallelujah di Leonard Cohen, nelle sue varie versioni (tra cui quella di Jeff Buckley e molte altre). C’è anche un libro.

“Hallelujah”

I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah