Sunday, May 13, 2012

All the buzz: M^C^O

Image above from MACAO page on Facebook

I paid a visit to the new space M.A.C.A.O this week to see what all the hype is about. M.A.C.A.O is an abandoned building in Milan originally called Torre Galfa owned by some corporate (don't remember who) and it was "taken over" or occupied as they say (I hate that word - it is like the new key phrase used by all trendy liberal associations) by cultural workers and young artists to convert into a experimental cultural centre. It  follows in the current trend of movements (Occupy Wall street etc) taking over capitalistic spaces for a more social use.

Radical chic is all the rage these days so it is not surprising that people want to be apart of this movement, but what is nice to observe is the enthusiasm and hope that such a take over represent for people. There are tons of people working in the space renovating it, fixing the floors, making a garden and bringing furniture and things that can be used in the space, all doing it without receiving any money for it. Something new like this attracts a lot of different people and creates a space for experimentation and exchange. It provides what is needed perhaps as a catalyst for other actions. Another thing to observe how they used social media from the start of this project to interact with public and create hype and audience. 

The space itself is amazing and gives a lot to the imagination, I am sure many artists (me included)  and curators would love to utilise the space itself for installation. As a new experiments go, it is of course chaotic and probably doesn't yet offer the possibility to do something with more body. However already between the chaos a lot is going on, there were spontaneous talks by Nobel prize laureate Mario Fo, concerts by musicians, and also open lessons by universities taking place in there. 

It will be interesting to see what happens there. Hopefully the company owning the building will not try to take it back and hopefully M.A.C.A.O can retain its independence. They (or us) will also have to at some point forget the hype and make projects with more body that can add a little bit more to just being a cool Facebook topic. And we must not forget that it can become absorbed by the systems it tries to defy or it itself can become an institution. Nevertheless, at the moment it is a blank slate with possibility and that is a beautiful thing.

To see  more about M.A.C.A.O visit the Facebook page or webpage.

I also attended a talk held on the 10th floor, led by Bert Theis and presentation by Isola Art Centre on their projects and how cultural spaces such as M.A.C.A.O can  affect or improve a neighbourhood.

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