There is an issue of time that cannot be surmounted. Rocks have to be broken; it takes time. A castle has to be built; it takes eight years. However much we may talk about craft, making and re-making, construction and all the details, time is still an element, in the same way that wood, lime, iron and stone are. Time allows discipline and the dance of the hours seeks a rigorous narrative. Argentaia is the title of a cerebral choreography that controls the work of the hands, the strength of the legs, the skill of the words. Italy, a land of resilience and of water—the pure water that slides on the Alps, that streams down through the pine trees and the white marble, that collects in the rivers, flows through the cities, the taps, the construction sites, that is soiled, by mud, by people and by soap—but in the end, gathers at the sea; and what is more beautiful for human beings than the sea? No land has ever been cross-contaminated by so many transitions, so many different dominations, roads, routes, interchanges, mixes, as much as Italy. Nowhere is more international than Italy—only the Italians don’t realize it.
At the home of Massimo Listri in Florence, we spoke about Counter-Reformation together with Ettore Mocchetti, architect and director of AD Italia. The Counter-Reformation, which brought so much economic and infrastructure development to Milan thanks to Carlo Borromeo, can be seen as the reason for the fall of the supremacy of the Italian civilization. If, in Northern Europe, the Protestant Reformation upheld the virtue of work, in Italy the Counter-Reformation restored vigor to the Catholic vocation: if in the North, the economic rise of a free man was a cause for approval, in Italy it remained subject to suspicion: exploiting connections, cunning, opportunism. In the Roman Catholic world, glory could be only be achieved through virtue and purity—or social background. More so, in the North it was cold and it was rainy—what else could people do other than work? In Italy, in the past as today, at seven in the evening, no one wants to miss watching the sunset.
Ignorance is not resolved with education but with curiosity. If one fails to wonder what meaning 1789 has for us today and how it succeeded in changing history, that is their own fault: individual, personal—in the same way as someone who does not know how to write a C-sharp and talks about hip hop culture. Madame de Staël won’t be forgotten in any case: if people do not understand that reading, watching, listening to what others do and have done means placing your own life at the world’s disposal, that is their own fault. If a nineteen-year-old does not have the curiosity to hop on a regionale train towards Mantua or Urbino, to turn a thousand pages, that is their own fault—they will remain a predictable person, to their friend, their lover, and their employer in an interview at thirty-five-years-old. They may be able to earn as much as they yearn to, to become famous, too, there at a card table or on a screen where luck, cunning, talent and hard work play with the same pack of cards—though still as part of a team with the top university professor or the Voghera housewife. It is only in the evening, when you switch out the light, when the wrinkles appear on your face and the skin beneath your chin begins to sag, when you stand in front of a mirror or in front of a tear where you become aware that the questions have already been posed and that it is still the questions that count and not the answers.
Lampoon is an American word that means a magazine, a stinging, irreverent satire. In this first issue in its new form, Lampoon has chosen craft as the approach for each of its pieces—making with the hands, the search for the prototype before production, the science fiction of a laboratory product compared to the workshop of a master craftsman. We’ll stay clear of captions. The mental forms of the stories and images will be worked with a scalpel of humor and twisting, cuts that I like to think are inspired by the scissors of Alexander McQueen, cutter/dressmaker in Milan. With Lampoon we strive to achieve this attitude without ever needing to provoke; the language will remain calm, while the intellectual connections may appear chaotic or agitated—sophisticated in a utopian manner, like the pure drops of Mother Teresa in changing the ocean. For no particular reason, Kerouac’s words come to mind, those about two mad guys—just like us: “…mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…” and we are there, looking up, and still saying awww!