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Expo Milano 2015- ‘Feeding the planet, energy for life’. You could have been an ambassador but you declined. What were your reasons?
«There were lots; from gangster contamination to the little respect for people’s work like how the staff recruitment issue was handled within Expo, and to the total absence of privileged areas devoted to the poorest parts of the world where people fight a battle not only for their food, but also for ours. Those who grow mangoes, coconuts and pineapples work their arses off and, in many cases, risk their lives and are given no consideration – there’s no place for them. There aren’t even any facilities for public bodies or Regions, nor the right to a representative even for a short period, reserved for those who don’t have the size and financial capacity to pay for their stay».
So that’s it – “the last stay last because first is unreachable”?
«We’re in Italy, Expo is Made in Italy. If you pay you can get in and experience all the wonders; if not you have to stay out, and I think this is unfair for an event that should be for everyone. For all these reasons I didn’t want to be involved».
What is the ‘social’ role of artists these days?
«I found my social role in 1990 and I haven’t given it up! I’d say that the social function of public figures is when they optimize and exploit their notoriety in the collective imagination to externalize their personal views, not for their own benefit, but for the improvement of society».
Some small businesses and makers of typical products will be going to Milan from Città di Castello and Umbria and hosted by side events. Do you think that a showcase like Expo may have created important opportunities for those who make such products?
«Most of the world’s media attention is concentrated on the ‘food, nutrition and derivatives’ theme within Expo. Obviously being a bit outside of this is to be away from the absolute centre of attention. This doesn’t take away from the fact though, that it’s clever to do different things and despite the bad management Expo itself is an event where being on the sidelines can be very useful. I hope all these companies get the rewards I imagine they will».
During the Festival of Nations in 2002 you held a performance at the Burri Museum (ex Seccatoi). This year marks the centenary of Burri’s birth. Are you attending any events in his honour and most importantly, what would you suggest to exploit his art?
«I haven’t been involved in any events nor sincerely thought about creating something to celebrate the centenary, even though I think he was a great artist. Rather, I hope that lots of people come to Citta di Castello and visit all the places where he left his mark. I’d go further and say I’m sure that in this time of crisis, art will attract the world’s attention to Italy and Città di Castello, and we won’t lose this important train for the future».
What are you doing this summer?
«I’m not having a summer tour, or I should say a concert tour. This summer I’m going to be touring with a showcase, in which me and DJ Pandaj will do a 1950s Swing years repertoire . As in the best tradition of artists and acrobats, we’ll entertain the public this summer in every way possible».
What future projects have you got planned? Music, photos, television or something else?
«I ‘ve got various projects planned, but at the moment I’m very involved in my photography. In September I’ll be in New York for a number of things, where I aim to produce one of my photo exhibitions as well as other musical and artistic projects. Later, I’ll bring them to Italy».
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