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Grafica e comunicazione

The studio was very busy during the stretch of time from late summer to early autumn. We present in the Portfolio section of our website in a small part of the work we produced in this period: the image of the new brand of sportswear Alé and the resulting product design, the new image for 2013 Cipollini (The fine line), the second video teaser for the book Fluidità, and the new image for 2013 of DMT (Vega-Revolution).

Provided that it’s not at the 25th hour

"The study of the past is anamneses that allows one to analyze the present, which allows one to predict the future". With these words, Thucydides has enlightened us for centuries. He speaks of living like it’s a disease. However, he promises a cure, which presupposes a notion of time that seems lost. He proposes even a “study” of the past, which is unthinkable today. Individual time is experienced as regret or remorse in the past; and as a frenzy in the present; and as a threat in the future. It is never evaluated, much less studied but almost always removed. Who loves to live constantly with the feeling of remorse, frenzy or threat? Our “here and now” is, therefore, made mostly of forgetfulness. I do not know if what we call crisis is also a direct consequence of this forgetfulness. Or rather, I think I know, I think so. If I look at the root causes of this trivial “crisis of economic totalitarianism” I can’t help but think of a movie I have already seen too many times but never assimilated as a lesson, to reinforce the belief that the good man of Nietzsche hit it spot on with the eternal (empty) return.

I believe that every period in history has experienced a “big crisis”. I'm pretty sure that even in the Athens of Pericles or the Rome of Antoninus Pius large sections of the population, more or less intimately, experienced their own version of a crisis. There has always been a crisis of some form, economic (obviously always the worst), or moral, religious or political, or others, or all together at once. Perhaps because man is greedy, envious and arrogant nature, and therefore dissatisfied? Greed, envy and arrogance are the cause of all evil, and therefore of every great crisis, no doubt. But not only, because a crisis involves everyone a little bit, even those who are not so greedy, jealous and domineering. The crisis is in fact also an alibi, a passing off of responsibility. A sort of institutional, universal, incontestable obstruction: a limit to individual ambitions. "Without the crisis, who knows what I would do, who knows what would have become... " For supreme paradox, this crisis is also a driver of development (not of real life, but only for development as it understood today on a large scale, bound to inhuman units of measurement, such as GDP). The crisis offers an alibi to the individual, which allows the masses to move forward. The idea of a crisis that falls from the sky like a menacing and relentless god, and to whom we are not responsible at all, is healthy; this crisis, which inevitably hinders our potential, makes sure that, after an initial period of confusion, we do not despair too much of our limitations and failures, making us productive rather than mortally depressed. You do not suffer the same trauma if a fire is caused by lightning rather than if it is the result of having left a gas on at home.

In 1989, founding my graphic design studio, I was certain I was getting my start at the worst time possible. The hangover of the Eighties had passed and we could see the first signs of recession - although in compensation Inter (with Matthäus) won the Scudetto. Our industry, after having previously been led by an intelligent, and very well paid, intellectual elite, was becoming a mass of barely literate computer-based graphic designers, with all the disastrous consequences, from the loss of credibility and prestige to the lowering of prices. There were also a couple of turning points laden with consequences: the Berlin Wall collapsed and Chinese students opposed the regime, two events in themselves positive but that reshaped the world as we know it today, shattering political balance and a market that seemed unassailable.

Since that 1989, I witnessed a succession of stages of this crisis, even when, looking back, some of these moments now seem like the golden years compared to today. The only major difference from other crises is that this one leaves no room for even a personal, original, particular revolt; everyone is focused only by the value of money and economic exchange; individuals obsessed, as entire Nations, with finance, the single global measure of all things, visible and invisible. An individual deprived of his imagination, relegated to the margins of real life, in his onanistic virtual corner, simulated, digital. Incidentally, a mass of individuals, so subdued by a single thought looming and relegated to a continuous self-fiction of life, is in reality the dream of any unconfessed “magnate,” of every age and latitude. It greatly simplifies the task of keeping the masses at bay, to maneuver a single mechanism. No more ideals, beliefs, passions, ideologies, hopes, not even bread. Only: money, and for totality, even virtual.

For the individual the result is primarily a collapse of desire and dreams, which causes a mild reactivity in real life, perhaps deceptively redeemed, as mentioned, by a powerful virtual life on the web. One doesn’t live anymore, at the most one organizes s life, simulates a life, in order to photograph it and publish it online, testifying that "yes, we are living". This leads to fierce frustration alternating with continuous recaps of what has not succeeded and will never be able to do so (not so much to “be”) for lack of means. This isn’t a study of the past nor the diagnosis of the present. It's just disease without possible prognosis, with no solution.

We are all feeling the current crisis more intensely because purely economic. But it is not true, it is a ridiculous thought: never has a crisis been more superficial. Precisely because it is totally economic, that it affects the same cornerstone of this system, it would be easy to say goodbye and move on, now, untying the knot that holds us all bound, some more than others. Because breaking away from this system made up of Nations hostage to the financial bureaucracies and politicians who represent only their own interests has never been so easy, for centuries now, because this system, as the old situationist Raoul Vaneigem says, "there is no need for great revolts since everything is falling apart with one’s own hands". And it is right this time, then, to reflect on what to do as a constructive and optimistic alternative. Instead of letting go and falling into despair (because from a system on it’s way to implosion there’s no risk in moving on to another, perhaps even worse - which is true to the adage that there is no end to the worst).

But what kind of alternative, constructive and optimistic action is possible today? I do not know; actually, I ask for advice for you readers, if anyone ever really managed to read this far. I am trying to do something, based on a reinterpretation of the concept of culture (well beyond the profit that can possibly generate), creativity, dreams, desire (desire for real life) and gratuity. Recovery, in short, the taste of life lived authentically, to finally regain possession of taste in order to design, create, invent... freely, for the sake of it and for the sake of proving my intelligence in the world, or even just to those who love me, beyond the vanity and money, because I am convinced that any glimmer of intelligence, creativity and invention is good, really good to me and to the world. That at the very least it diversifies the infinitesimal fraction granted me.

The hope that I wish for all, but to myself first of all, in honor of twenty-fifth anniversary of my design studio (twenty-five years of crisis surpassed in beauty) is therefore to try to imagine a new world, which is not is not however only a most beautiful expression of a non-life (like in Spike Lee 's masterpiece The 25th Hour). A world in which to invent another destiny, beyond yet another crisis starting from our daily lives, with optimism, creativity, intelligence, as opposed to the Nations (held hostage to financial bureaucracies) and representatives of the people (who represent only their interests) are trying to do, treating us like a bunch of dumb sheep in need of many threatening sheepdogs (not only Germans).

10/10/2013 Filippo Maglione

Post Scriptum

On this particular occasion I must recognize (since memory is crucial!) all the men and women who in these twenty-five years have contributed their skills to the success of this enterprise (since remaining together in all these years has sincerely been an enterprise, in many ways). I remember them all and hug them and thank them, especially Silvio Salotto, who I started out with in the basement that wonderful space in the apse of the Chiesa degli Eremitani. We were young and strong, and "not" dead.