Saturday, April 19, 2008

Piazza Vittorio: An example of Cultural Transformation in Italy

Hi all,
this is the title of a paper I'm giving at a conference in London, on Friday 25 April.

In 2002 the Italian musician Mario Tronco and the film director Agostino Ferrente decided to create an orchestra in the multicultural area of Rome, known as the Esquilino quarter. This project came out of their desire to put together the multi-ethnical variety of musicians that were dwelling in that part of Rome. The result was truly amazing: an enormous group, directed by Mario Tronco, constituted by almost twenty musicians coming from many different countries, formed the so-called “Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio” (“The Orchestra of Vittorio Square”). The Orchestra is now internationally known and is currently on tour all over the world. In 2006 Agostino Ferrente made a documentary about the Orchestra telling the story of its constitution. This film received many awards and has been screened all over the world (also in London on the occasion of the latest Italian Film Festival). The same year, 2006, saw the publication of a novel by the Italophone Algerian writer Amara Lakhous called “Scontro di civiltà a P.zza Vittorio (“Clash of civilizations for an elevator in Piazza Vittorio”), which is again a story about the multicultural reality of Rome, an example in fact of the transformation of the Italian society and of the importance that Italian migrant literature is gradually gaining.
Starting from these musical, cinematic and narrative examples, this paper aims at analysing how migration in Italy is beginning to produce cultural performances that enter the larger context of popular culture. In other words, this paper will try to analyse the importance of what Mieke Bal has defined as “migratory aesthetics” - in this case of Italy.
I feel a lttle bit nervous about this, considering it is the first time I present on these issues. I know I still need to do a lot of work on it, but I hope this will be a good starting point to pursue my research. By the way, for those who haven't seen yet the film-documentary, L'orchestra di Piazza Vittorio, by Agostino Ferrente, I highly recommend you to do so. It's a brilliant document that looks at migration as a valuable source of cultural practices.

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