Thursday, November 10, 2005

An Update about Me

So this past weekend I returned from a week trip in Spain travelling alone. I hope to write an entry on it in the near future (I'm very busy), but for now, I'd just like to give a brief update on what I've been up to (as opposed to purely those little moments and key awakenings that breathe life into experience). My trip in Spain deeply changed me and my life, and is un molto importante punto in un grande linea di punti. If you think you know me, guess again; because, for one, I'm just starting to barely figure that out myself.

Aside from the few integral moments of my make that I've shared, I have been doing things such as travelling (such as to Venice and experiencing the Contemporary Art Biennale, Paladio, Scarpa), taking classes (italian, italian cinema, and my central focus of architecture), and working (interning with UNESCO Firenze). Each experience, and in fact, each moment of my time here, has been infinitely valuable and important. I have four and a half weeks left, the clock is ticking, and I have much to see and do!

So, I've been interning with UNESCO Firenze. Our last major project was a film short about the cultural heritage of Firenze. I helped work as a production assistant, and then I did post-production promotional design for the film. This project was great fun, and working with the director, project manager, UNESCO, Commune di Firenze (the local city government), and the friends I've made along the way, have all been truly amazing. The next part of the project is really cool: I'm working on an accredited training course about the cultural heritage of Firenze, to be offered (decembre through mid-2006) by UNESCO Firenze and the Commune di Firenze. If you will be (or are) studying or living in Florence, whether Italian or anyone else, you can take this course. In fact, the course is also designed for teachers, and will be an awesome way to learn about and then share Firenze's rich cultural heritage and history.

A key component of this course about the cultural heritage of Firenze is a screenplay contest. Yes, UNESCO Firenze and Commune di Firenze will be asking italian and foriegn students to submit screenplays about Firenze. The winning entry will then be produced into a feature length film. This is very exciting.

Now for a short jaunt over into one of my academic adventures--architecture. More than anything, I have been enjoying my studies of architecture. The other day we had our first serious crit, and I loved it and learned a lot from the critics. We have two main projects: a garden villa project that is sited in the Medici Villa of Fiesole, and a "biography" project where we focus on authors who have written about Firenze and then bring to life--by reading their books and studying and drawing sites focused within them--the experience of Firenze captured in their time, their moments, their expressions. Nel futuro, puoi fare una domande particulare di Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Santa Croce, EM Forester e DH Lawrence. I passionately believe in drawing as a process of learning and something everyone must do, enjoy working in studio, have a great amount of respect for studio life, and am deeply interested with architectural and urban problems (problems are postive things).

While I was waiting for my flight in the Girona airport outside Barcelona, I picked up a copy of "Newsweek".

Given that I hadn't seriously read American news-media in about a month, this was a very interesting experience. America appears to be falling apart, fragmenting, and aloof. I first read the cover story on "Cheney's Cheney". The article, surprisingly liberal and full of Bush-admin bashing, also was thick-through-and-through with American-Nationalist Rhetoric. This was so bizarre: to see these "liberal" expressions and ideas parsed through such crass Islam-hating, masculine, militant, nationalistic, competitive phrases. (And to consider the current US-obsession with "framing": it's like people have become so obsessed and hyper-sensitive to framing that 1) they forget their only speaking in English, and 2) it has gotten to the point where the frames you look through are not out of whack, but you have a vision problem yourself!)

From my quasi-European, quasi-American perspective, I see the United States with a crumbling governmental face and a populace that thinks they know everything. Hell, if you think you know something feel free to do a double take in the mirror, because there is a friggin' huge world out there that is very deep and very complex and it is safe to say you don't know jack. I'd suggest this assumption of knowing something has occured because most US citizens haven't ever left their country and seen some of the world, experienced different languages, different ways of existing, thinking, and being... which in return breeds ignorance and isolationist sentiment in the mouths of both liberals, conservatives, and everybody in-between. In short, reading this "Cheney's Cheney" article reminded me of some I have encountered in the US... per esempio, militant liberals with good intentions but poor actions and experiential educations.

Even if you think you're doing the "right" (or wrong, or whatever) thing--right for culture, the environment, the economy, society, humanity, the world, your local community--please, for a moment, pull your head away from the camera obscura and take a look around... you might find that the you haven't even left the room.

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