November 17, 2011

Musica per parole, Olivetti method for Letter 22

Here the english translation of my article appeared on Inutile Magazine web site

In 2007 MTV Italia presented again a contest that at the end of the '90s excited my home town, Pordenone, the italian capital of independent music since the days of Great Complotto, and the city with the highest concentration of nerds (Devo always stop here for a concert). To participate was sufficient to send a self timer picture with the favorite record in the hands. The citizens of Pordenone who participated chose amazing rarities and were all selected (at least the ones I knew personally). I did not send a picture because I was shy and insecure and I could not find the right Lp to represent me. Now I've finally found it, even if ten years too late. It is Musica per parole, sound tipyng manual for the mythical Olivetti Lettera 22. A work of graphic and sound (!!!) design with all the warmth that only true poetry can give to what is close to perfection. The exercises were dictated by the writer Mario Soldati will be music for your ears as well! (For an extract from the LP and to learn more about Olivetti company listen: Passioni, RaiRadio3, Adriano Olivetti: progettare per vivere, second episode ).

[Musica per parole,
Olivetti method for Letter 22, 33 rpm Lp with dictation exercises read by Mario Soldati, Olivetti SpA, Ivrea, 1959.]

October 3, 2011

WIRED ITALIA Programma 101

On Wired Italia September 2011 Issue there's an interesting article about Programma 101 (pp. 78-81). Soon the tranlation of the related chapter of my thesis Second stage: from mechanics to electronics. The social impact besides the technological innovation.  
Wired and Wired Italia were very important for me in writing the thesis, exspecially for the chapter about Google 4.1. An unwitting heir: the Google case (see Thomas Goetz, L'ultima sfida di Sergey in December 2010 issue, about Sergey Brin's efforts in Parkinson releted genetic studies).

October 2, 2011

4.2. A fictional example: "Il Nemico" by Emanuele Tonon.

Questo paese è tutto quello che ci è dato vedere dell'universo, prima di attraversare il capannone dove stiamo come le bestie che devono, le bestie che devono stare per forza, e la nostra vita è lì, tutta nei pannelli di truciolare, nei lettini che costruiamo con la precisione disperata di chi si sta disfando, di chi sta a guardare lo sfaldarsi della propria inutile, miserrima vita.
(Emanuele Tonon)

On the literary side, here in Italy, there aren't yet important
works about the world of the new economy. But many pages were spent to tell the condition of precarious workers, in particular employees of call centers (ironically, portions of the Olivetti factory in Pozzuoli and, news of the end of 2010, also the historic headquarters in Via Jervis in Ivrea are used today as call centers).
On the theme of work, in the panorama of Italian contemporary litterature, a remarkable book was pubblished, always set in a factory, this time in the North East. The factory connects the fate of fathers, unskilled workers, to the fate of sons, graduated but
, however, without other employment possibilities in the region of Friuli, always the contrary of Ivrea because of the production areas divided as colonial monocultures. The novel is Il Nemico by Emanuele Tonon. It's inspired by autobiographical episodes, but real life contents are transformed though the language and the narrative tecnique. It's a dense work that describes the Friuli of the past through the figure of a father, an unconscious Don Quixote, and the contemporary reality by projecting the present Friuli in the inner world of the narrator who moves his discomfort and anger in the conflict with God. The book does not tell a story in the sense traditional sense, but through a succession of descriptions and streams of consciousness the reader collects informations about the lives of the characters. The climax of the book are the consequences of few dramatic events on the psyche of the characters.
The book recalls Memoriale by Volponi, not only because they are both set in a factory, but especially for the use of a hallucinated narrator that sees in the surrounding world the reflection of his pain. The heir of Albino Saluggia received high school education so the deep degree of introspective awareness is justified, while in Memoriale the critics often attacked the level of selfconsciounsness of the working-class main character .
Il Nemico is a book full of literary references, biblical and philosophical, but naturally suggested. Infact the empathy of the reader
does not lean in a shared destiny, but in the common cultural background that includes classic literature as well ad parables learned during catechism lessons as well as online pornography.
So, if Saluggia's story wasn't commonly read between those who were workers at the time of the book, Il Nemico is a voice for the generation of those who now are thirty or forty years old, well educated, capable of self-analysis, that are simultaneously facing, as the protagonist of the novel, the death of their parents, an alienating job and the problem of infertility: 

la sezionatrice a controllo numerico serie MTR (monoasse a tavola rotante) è la macchina che ci tiene in questo mondo. La tavola rotante, la giostra come la chiamo io, perché, a volte, durante la manutenzione ordinaria, andiamo a pulire tutta la segatura e la polvere incrostata sulla macchina. La mia sposa sale sulla tavola dove provvederà a usare la pistola ad aria compressa negli interstizi e sulla tavola stessa. Lei sta lì, in piedi, con le sue gambe di gazzella, e io aziono il comando di rotazione della tavola. Le faccio fare qualche giro e lei sembra quasi che sorrida [...]

July 19, 2011


The author of a book I analized in my thesis (Il Nemico by Emanuele Tonon) found my essay and posted it on facebook. Wow! Soon the translation of that chapter!

July 17, 2011

2.1. Almost an applied botany

The english botanist A.G. Tansley developed the concept of ecosystem in 1935. The term he invented defines the set of living and not living elements that, in a same physical space (the so-called habitat), are bound and kept in balance by a series of complex interdependencies. Today is a common used word.
In this context, the term ecosystem is used figuratively to draw a set composed of three parts: the first is what, in the previous chapter, was defined habitatOlivetti (products, architectures and services of the company); the second is represented by individuals who operate at different levels in the habitat; the third is the complex of relationships that connect the first two components.
The observation is restricted at the so called, in scientific studies, climax, which is the stage the ecosystem reaches its balance: in this case, the climax is the period from the Second World War till the death of Adriano Olivetti (1945 - 1960). Adriano Olivetti is what the sun is in the natural ecosystems: source of energy flow.
The best method to analyze this ecosystem throughout is to choose a common denominator related with all the elements and that itself is part of the ecosystem. The product that characterized the period of climax reveals to be the most useful for this aim: the electromechanical desktop calculator Divisumma 24. A wide variety of aspects of the Olivetti history - from great personalities to their literary and artistic works, from social and psychological services to production systems, from the architectural projects to issues of principle - are analized through the relationships between the common denominator and the parts of the ecosystem going back, in the end, to the starting point without ever losing the overview.
A bizarre solution, supported by two distinct methodologies. The first has been developed by Franco Moretti, who proposes
in his essay La letteratura vista da lontano an unusual point of view for the observation of the history of literature:

mentre dunque la teoria letteraria dell’ultimo ventennio – la “Theory” con la T maiuscola delle università americane - si rintronava di metafisica franco-tedesca a me sembrava che quelle da cui avevamo davvero da imparare qualcosa (anzi: molto) fossero piuttosto le scienze naturali e sociali.

On this basis, Moretti borrows methodologies applied in historical, geographical and genetical studies
to improve the research in the field of history of literature. Moretti opposes to the
method of close reading - in which only the text is central - the method that, half-jokingly, he defines distant reading: a quantitative reading, a spatial evolution of the "substance" of literature, in which the text is an "accident" within the context.
The second methodology is the theory on media presented by Marshall McLuhan. Starting from his observations,
it becomes central also in the study of Fine Arts the relationship with the tecnological progress, as a principle that revolutionizes the way people perceive and conceive the world. According to this criterion, the periodization of art history is reformulated in function of great inventions (printing with movable type, Pacinotti's ring, first transatlantic telegraph cable). Moreover it develops in a theory of generations that highlights the correspondence between technical revolutions, artistic movements and artists' dates of birth, argued and supported by a large number of examples by Renato Barilli in his most remarkable studies.

July 14, 2011

Letter of intent

I graduated in March at the University of Bologna (Italy) with a dissertation on Contemporary Italian Literature entitled Habitat Olivetti: intellectuals and factory (1945-1960). Although my study is incomplete I noticed that are missing texts in English that analyze the social and cultural role of this great company even if Olivetti has inspired worldwide many projects in many areas (from design and graphic to computer innovation and sustainable architecture).
My purpose is to translate my thesis in English week after week.