From 12 to 16 May, Florence will open its doors to the world, displaying some of its most important architectural and artistic treasures during an important cultural event organised by the international fashion institute, Polimoda: MOMENTING THE MEMENTO – the 2015 IFFTI Conference.
The annual conference, part of the of the IFFTI network (International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes), is an international project that every year unites over 46 advanced training institutes specialising in fashion, and art & design, bringing together important universities, companies, and representatives from all over the world.
In this 17th edition of the annual conference, to be held in the heart of the Renaissance, Polimoda will create a “moment” that aims to reactivate and stimulate the city of Florence, by remembering its history and focusing on its inspirations through debates, performances and installations involving the participation of “visionaries”, including international artists, experts and opinion leaders from the worlds of art, fashion and culture.
In 2015 we are 15 years into the 21st century. In the year 2000 the world was ready for change. We had been anticipating the year 2000 for many centuries… and when it arrived it was not really a great surprise. Life continued as before while we were hoping change would come as a messenger of hope and understanding between people, cultures and religions. None of this actually happened. Wars are still going on; the internet and our ever more streamline devises give us all the information we need to move faster, buy more, read more, improve choice, or communicate with friends, teachers and unknown bloggers. But do we have a better life?
Well, I feel we communicate better, we know more, and we are more curious, but we can also do more. The quality of life, the quality of teaching, of writing and of speech has to improve. During the 5 day conference in Florence in 2015 we will try to connect more extensively with students, faculty and education leaders. Our goal is to link all IFFTI institutes and their history to our city, Florence, Italy; to its culture, its locations and its archives. By gathering scripts, installations, garments, projections and performances, we will inject new blood into the city, thoughtful creativeness, connecting fashion, education and the city. Installations, debates and salons/papers will inspire us to find a more open structure for education.
We believe in the bridge we are going to build.
We will create an urban laboratory while also looking towards our Florentine Renaissance ‘MONSTER’ minds such as; Leonardo da Vinci, Dante Alighieri, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Brunelleschi, Arnolfo di Cambio, Bronzino and many others. Creatives who looked for new technology, for new innovation and a new way to challenge public and private institutions.
I also hope you will be inspired to join us in Florence in 2015, and make this vision a reality.
Florence, Italy. The heart of the Renaissance has once again a chance to promote creativity from the coming together of creative minds, curious minds, and new, innovative minds. I am proud to be part of this creative banquet, in which Polimoda is a Thought Leader – working towards an International Conference that will unite our unique city with different cultures, different styles and new technology. Polimoda began back in 1986 and together with the continuing support of the City of Florence and the Tuscan Region alongside many private and public institutions, encourages the very best standards in teaching and education.
Back in 1927 my father chose Florence as the base for his business, working on designs which are still recognised as visionary, as well as traditionally elegant. Today, I also very much look forward to welcoming new visionaries from all over the world to my hometown of Florence, and to join in this hub of creativity.
Chairman Salvatore Ferragamo Spa & President Polimoda
What can we do to enjoy creativity? How can we embrace / inspire / encourage creativity? How can we discover creativity? How do we select creative minds? How and why are we searching for creativity
Especially during Art Fairs, Art Biennales, Fashion Weeks or Festivals of different disciplines our sixth sense is more attentive. We are in search of a new hype, a new style or a different aesthetic, a new emotion, or what I call “moments”. And so, in the Fashion world, when we are happy with a more sensual and feminine Gucci for men, a more deconstructed silhouette for Raf Simons, and a sleeker silhouette for Givenchy menswear that pleases women as well, we have a positive reaction to the world we live in. And if Walter van Beirendonck says ‘stop terrorising our world’ we agree, because we have just experienced a wake-up call about freedom of expression and a religious perception of what freedom might mean to each of us. And when we see a new expression of our body language, or dress to be reborn in a more abstract concept, then we feel history might be ready for a new experience or a new decade of creativity. The 21st century has not brought great innovations and therefore we are just copying and pasting the old ones. We are not creating new ones and that might signal the start of decadence in our society. And if we look at past generations and past decades we still like our ancestors, their stories, their dreams, their disappointments, their drugs and decadence, and their naivety. We must overcome the dangerous memories and stop living amidst nostalgia for the past. DRESS
We are looking for the next Art or Architecture Biennale and we dream and discuss the titles and the curators. They will give us the answers! Pavilions will again be our meeting points to create the moments in which we recognise our personal cultural attachments, linked to the place where we were born. Manifestos will be launched and talks organised, discussions and open platforms will be programmed to initiate the debate about art – is it still relevant? does it reflect society? – bringing wise and experienced visionaries together. During these encounters we try to understand the future, often because we look to the past. Here our body and our body language are the only ways to express our fears and dreams; they can suggest solutions for the suffering, the questions, the uncertainties of the world we live in surrounded by war and terror. We use our body to express those fears and to connect with an audience that is also searching… searching… should we all follow the Master Classes of Carolyn Carlson to understand better the functions and possible uses of our body? BODY
We live the hybridization of a liquid society. A hybrid society is one that comprises a range of social and cultural influences and components, rather than having a homogenous identity. A liquid society is defined by its fragility, its temporariness, its vulnerability and inclination to constant flow and change. Thanks to the liquid society we are hybrid, we are multiverse; we are a set of infinite or finite possible universes comprising everything that exists such as space, time, matter, and energy … we are visible but simultaneously invisible; we are versatile, but also liquid. We are multi but also one. Thanks to the www we know more. We find data we were searching for, we have the answers to our daily questions, and following up the eventual answers we can start doing research. Conclusion: the World Wide Web stimulates our curiosity. Thanks to the www we are connected; the place, the location, the city, the house, the shop, the school, the museum we live in become abstract… we are here but also elsewhere, we have more friends, the world has no borders, we skype and talk, we are connected all around the clock. We are social, but are we? We travel more, but do we travel better? We eat more but do we eat better? We learn more but do we learn better? We write more but do we write better? We love more but do we love better? We live a new concept that is named space, time, science or poetry. Thanks to this new concept of space, our generations are multi-faceted. The 89plus generation of Hans Ulrich Obrist is a society emerging from the strata of generations, born after 89. Therefore our messages have to be redefined; our vocabulary is different; our visual perceptions are layered; our language has changed; our dreams are the same but they are composed of different memories; our museums are old, our archives dusty, our writing does not reflect our present emotions; our perceptions of art and culture change in a multi-layered perception. IMAGERY
We write more but do we write better? This might be a nonsense question but the speed of the life we live is responsible for our superficiality and fragility; remember we are liquid and search for constant change. Marcel Broodthaers chose art as an expression because of his failure as a writer; the juxtaposition of text and image becomes poetry. The question of the meaning of art, querying the venue of the exhibition, the role of the gallery, querying too the institution of the museum and its functions are all part of art itself. Broodthaers says, “For me, film is an extension of language. I began with poetry, then visual art, and finally cinema, which brings together several different elements of art. Writing (poetry), the object (visual art) and the image (video or film) are brought together”. The example of Broodthaers is important for understanding the different meanings of the act of writing. In China calligraphy is an art itself and has to be improved by repetition to refine the skill that gives the word its expression. Cobra used writing as painting and painting often means writing a colour or expressing a mood or communicating a manifesto. The artist On Kawara expresses moments by painting a date on a canvas. Dante, the famous Florentine writer and poet, became a pharmacist because, at the time of the Middle Ages, books were sold from apothecary shops. Writing about art, design, fashion, dance, literature has become merely reporting what one sees and not what one feels. We write about the style, colour, line, shape, volume, size, and texture but do we write about the essence of the work? Can we start a debate about what calligraphy can teach us to be a better writer? CALLIGRAPHY
We are surrounded by architecture. Some buildings were made 3000 years ago, others date from the last decade or are built by Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry. We are living in those earlier monuments, cloisters, palaces or previous temples. Ou Ning, Chinese activist, art director, writer, is escaping from big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai and is going back to the rural environment of Bishan. He is a part of the ‘Rural Reconstruction Movement’. Can we choose the act of construction and reconstruction? Are we able to build spaces we can inhabit, use as institutes for education or for museum activities without disturbing skylines? What do we conserve and what is to be destroyed? Is history the right driver for conservation? Is the Santa Croce basilica a history book for art and architecture lovers or is it tool for reading history in a contemporary context? From the simplicity of Giotto to the dramatic tombs of the Romantics we are surrounded by clashes of history and we are confused. Does this collage reflect the actual state in which the cities of the world are growing and creating an ever more complex urbanistic chaos? Some houses in far away cultures are still today built by hand with ice, leaves, wood or plaster, but handicrafts are disappearing. Hands are becoming useless. We use three-D, scanning and super technologies to show us our way around unknown cities. Drones follow every step we make and we feel that is ok. We are not anonymous, we are multiple, and we are both universe and universal. SPACE
Last but not least we reflect on craft, the noble art of creating an object, a form, a material, a liquid, or simply a pot or a vase. We are seeking to preserve this art as we find it is disappearing as a result of its insignificance to our modern word. The speed of our society leaves no time or place for craft. The slow pace and processes are not acceptable to our new way of thinking, working, dreaming. Craftsmen are lone individuals, slowly facing isolation. We are global and global seems to be linked to loneliness. Industrialisation changed our perception of time and centuries later we are again fascinated by the undiscovered potential of science and scientific research. We are fascinated by the capacities of our new devices, our new communication tools, and our supernatural technologies by which we are connected. The sky is the limit. Researchers are giving us endless surprises but these are only the beginning of what our imagination can do. We are torn between the lack of slowness and the longing for fastness. We are addicted to this new technology that offers us a new human and trans human relationship. The artist is the thinker and he uses craftsmen to realise their dream. CRAFT
At the next IFFTI conference, May 2015, we will create a MOMENT. A moment not focused on the latest collection, but instead on the latest emotion. This MOMENT will emerge from the energy created by all those artists, designers, sound designers, teachers, researchers who may not sit in the first row of fashion shows, but who are the real protagonists of the fashion movement of tomorrow.
So watch and join in this moment…!
February 8, 2015
The city opens its doors: Opera di Santa Croce, Florence National Library, Odeon Cinehall, Palazzo Vecchio Town Hall, Villa Favard.
Internationally renowed visionaries and opinion leaders discussing Art, Fashion, and Culture.
A moment where we are inspired to think, write and design the future.
Lectio Magistralis by Michel Maffesoli, Professor of Sociology, Sorbonne University, Paris.
One of the most brilliant contemporary minds.
Top level installations, selected from international projects, based on 6 themes:
#CRAFT #CALLIGRAPHY #BODY #DRESS #IMAGERY #SPACE.
“Bishan Project” exhibition: ‘The rural Reconstruction Movement’ by Chinese activist/writer Ou Ning (Florence National Library).
Visions / Propositions / Emotions.
An unconventional view on fashion culture through images in motion.
The world in Florence.
An international network of over 46 fashion and design institutes from more than 37 different countries. Projects and performers from Australia, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA.
Site specific events involving international performers and audience interaction in expressive locations and spaces.
“Momenting the Memento – Fashion, Education and the City” is the starting point of debates among visionaries and the main theme of the IFFTI 2015 conference in Florence, gathering the most important fashion schools in the world.
Written by Danilo Venturi, introduced and edited by Linda Loppa, the book features Filep Motwary’s unpublished interviews with Tim Blanks, Christian Lacroix, Bruce Pask, Robin Schulie, Diane Pernet and Rick Owens.
More info on SKIRA website.