Mau Mau Belly Dance

Reunion Torino

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Mermaids Trail Guantanamo Bay

Hacking History

The Three Sisters of Gavrilo Princip,
Hacking History, or, Don’t Follow the Principles

On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip assassinated in Sarajevo the Austrian Archiduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria ( heir to the throne) and his wife Sofia. This act allegedly triggered the World War One.

History is not written by the victors but by the historical visionaries, and it’ s not about truth but about paradigms. It’s an art to argue, a performance to convince, and the victory condition of history itself is to create a story that seem plausible, and also applicable to different times, in the future, in the past.

Consider the First World War, the first Great War, a war without precedent and supposedly impossible nowadays. The lad who pulled its trigger was Gavrilo Princip , a teenage Serb, a Bosnian Serb one might say, a Pan-Slavic conspirator against the Austro Hungarian Empire, a Yugoslav, an activist, a terrorist, a patriot, a national freedom fighter… what a lot of names he has.

Our world today doesn’t lack for passionate teenage street fighters. In my neighborhood, in San Salvario in Torino, Princip might be a tattooed anarchist who ends up in prison because he threw stones on a cop, while protesting against the imaginary European high speed train between Turin and Lyon, the TAV. What passions this obscure train provokes, a white-elephant pro-EU project will never be realized anyway, because nobody really wants the train on either side of the French Italian border, and worse yet, nobody can afford it.

Gavrilo’s fatal plan met with success, even though he never saw a Yugoslav nation ( he died in prison 4 years after he was promptly arrested). More history passed and Yugoslavia itself ended in bloodshed. Now, a century after the deed that made him known worldwide, the figure of Gavrilo Princip has been used in this memorial centenary by contemporary visionaries for their own purposes.

He fits pretty well as a standard terrorist, as an evil zealot who destroyed a wonderful empire of tolerance and benevolence, the Austro-Hungarian empire. He threw his own life away to do it, but the violent suicidal method is common nowadays among Muslim martyrs. One of Gavrilo’s armed comrades in the conspiracy was a Muslim, and just as ready to kill the Archduke as Gavrilo was.

Perhaps he’s best understood as an embittered outsider with a crank’s motivations to kill a celebrity, like the young men who murdered John Lennon, or President Kennedy. Or he might be a national martyr, a patriot who gave his life for the liberation of a long-suffering people, aspiring a better world, against a regime of royal foreign oppressors.

And yet, in the region where he killed and died, his name is fading. Young people in the Balkans find little to celebrate about him. They suffered too many recent losses of identity and family, to celebrate a remote act, which, during the span of a century, merely added to the turmoil.

Some presumptuous intellectuals dare to say: he could have been me, I understand, I might have done the same in those conditions. They are sitting in comfortable armchairs rather than stalking the streets for a motorcade, gun in hand. How many young men today are dying in irregular street wars, in paramilitary ambushes, raids and revenge attacks, in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Xinjiang, the Caucasus and now even Ukraine. What a difficulty it can be to survive one’s own historical visions! Are ancient nations any wiser in their old age than they were in their foolish youth?

What would Gavrilo Princip recognize in our world of patriots and terrorists? Where and how would he strive to make his name, if he were alive and unknown today? A policed world of austerity and globalized fundamentalism, of growing superstition and religion conquering science and secular politics. Perhaps he’d care nothing for the flags and coins of outdated nation states and choose to become a killer mercenary, out for the highest price. Who needs a gold coin with the face of some royal potentate when the world has Bitcoin?

In the former Yugoslavia, there used to be a joke about how to tell the difference between a Serbian girl and a Croatian girl. If you tell Croatian girl that she is pretty, she smiles. Say the same to a Serbian girl, and she scowls. What about the Bosnian girl? No jokes about her, but she is the third sister, the Cinderella of the region!
In Bosnia 28 June hundred years later Gavrilo is celebrated in the Serbian part as a hero ( organized by famous director Emir Kusturica), while in Bosnian Sarajevo he is remembered as a terrorist.
The paradox of Balkan history is that killers become rulers, warriors become peace makers, sisters become enemies then sisters again on new terms, and law exists mostly as a hoax to make this vicious circle seem like local politics as usual.
In Belgrade, Gavrilo Princip has his own road, which descends from the seven Belgrade hills, to the banks of the meeting point of two big rivers Sava and Danube. The flow of water unites the Balkan region in good and in bad: in recent tragic floods they were helping each other notwithstanding the ethnicity . Suppose that young Gavrilo Princip paid a compliment to the Croatian girl today, as well as to the Serbian and Bosnian one? Who would scowl, who would smile and who would pull the trigger?
Maybe those three girls could somehow offer this historic terrorist a chance to drop his gun, in a clinch between a kiss and a scowl, carrot and a stick, so that he can live in a country without borders instead of killing and dying for a song, a slogan and a bloodstained page in a history book.

Kiev

Life is tense, these days in Kiev. The faces of the locals are stiff and their reactions are fast, as in an emergency ward.  One cannot lose one’s nerve in a life threatening situation. 

The street-fights are over for now, while the war tourism has started.  In the famous Maidan Square where a hundred protesters were shot dead in the February struggles, the paramilitary camp tents are still standing.  Rubber tyres are piled in long, tall, ugly barricades, and the revolutionary militia are sitting on stools inside their tents and bomb shelters, chain-smoking and brewing coffee on campfires of scrap wood. However, the ex-President Yanukovych has fled for Russian sanctuary, and the stands of tourist attractions have arrived. 

    Ukrainian women sell tiaras of plastic flowers with the national colors of yellow and blue.  Fridge magnets  carry symbols of the uprising: flags, militia logos, Internet memes,  pics of Vladimir Putin depicted as Adolf Hitler, and so on.

     The “EuroMaidan” is loud with the sound of mourning for the nation’s fallen.  Orthodox priests have the biggest stages and the loudest amplifiers, these days. In their tall hats and gilt robes the priests endlessly chant and croon, and the random passers-by join in with their hands pressed devoutly to their hearts.  The EuroMaidan is like a wounded heart still pulsing after an attack, trying to heal.

      The recently-elected president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko,  swore into office these days with the words: we are not giving up Crimea. The Crimean region of Ukraine seceded to Russia, or it was seized by Russia more or less, while refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russian-ethnic dominated cities,  are fleeing every day to Kiev. The nation is splitting up on ethnic lines.  It is the beginning of a national struggle and not its end.

     The “Mezhyirya Festival,” a one-time international conference about investigative journalism, activism and hackers, was held in an estate once commandeered by Viktor Yanukovych, in a huge park north of  Kiev: http://mezhyhiryafest.com.  The event was organized by the Yanukovych Leaks group and the Share Foundation from Serbia.   The scenery was fantastic: a privatized hunting-grounds half the size of Monaco, next to the vast public reservoir for the city of Kiev, which is a beautiful artificial lake on the Dnieper River.  The numerous and lavish buildings and villas in this huge estate were conquered by the rebels, after Viktor Yanukovych fled the uprising for safety in Russia. 

    Strange militia figures in makeshift uniforms, with walkie-talkies and black wooden batons, patrol this vast park.  The secret elite stronghold has been opened to the citizens of Kiev and even a few of us tourists. Wedding parties have appeared, along with improvised carts and trucks offering bottled water, ice cream dispensers, local beer…  No one seems to drink from that lake, and there are no sign of swimmers despite the June heat.

      We stayed inside an administrative building for the State Guard of Ukraine, the men who guarded the blind metal gates for the secretive estate they called “Object 109.”  Behind the vast, rambling, two-story-high metal walls, crowned with security videocameras, Yanukovych and his inner circle built odd structures like huge, half-empty hotels.  Our rambling former guard-house seemed scarcely used:  the Revolutionaries had arrived and kicked in the door-jambs, removing the police computers and leaving snarled wiring, scattered DVDs, fancy sofas and ugly chairs.  However, the karate gym,  numerous security brochures and antiterrorist shooting targets made it entirely obvious to us that this was the headquarters of Yanukovych security. 

     I slept inside a narrow room that declared itself to be “bookkeeping” for some alleged company called “Grosser,” yet it was full of abandoned almanacs and empty notebooks for the  uniformed Ukrainian State Guard.  A few kilometers down one of the best-paved roads in Ukraine was the colossal hunting mansion of the former President.   
 
     This Citizen-Kane extravaganza, now widely known as the “palace of corruption,” blazed all over with crystal and gilt.  Money can really hurt when its controllers lack taste.   This palace is now well-symbolized by one of the ex-President’s ideas of refinement, a gold-plated loaf of Ukrainian bread.

    Our little group of activists and journalists had to visit this legendary, sinister palace, and by night, as well.  Although we numbered a round two dozen, we were like mice in this vast over-lit labyrinth of conference rooms, gyms, spas, a vast indoor tennis court, a private full-sized boxing ring, dangling hosts of golden crystal chandeliers, Gothic viewing rooms with huge TV screens and robot massage chairs, marble saunas, baroque inlaid elevators, endless parquet floors, acre-sized plush carpets, hosts of antique bronze statuary and several spotless white grand pianos, one of them crowned with a skinned and stuffed housecat.  

     Despite its “private” status, it was entirely clear that no one had ever had any private life in this mansion.  It was a deliberate showplace in which a tiny, anxious elite attempted to impress itself.

    One of our journalist hosts was a young Ukranian woman who had never seen the palace herself.  Now they charge people twenty American dollars to see all this mess, she told me. The sight of it will make only people more angry, but it will take a lot of cash to keep this park running. 

     The privatized compound has become a national park nowadays,  run by revolutionary volunteers. Someone has to feed the exotic ostriches and mind the giant wooden galleon and the antique car barn, so moms with toddlers clean the rooms, while old men mow the weeds.  Somebody also had to feed us foreign conference tourists, so bright-eyed women in braids and kerchiefs and aprons somehow appeared, to make us blintzes with jam, and potato pancakes, and pork chops. 

      There was no packaged food. This brand new revolution of the Ukrainian poor is like some refusal of the industrial age. Viking-tall yellow-haired women with big blue eyes are like the personification of the blue-yellow Ukranian flag.  They were the main audience for us invited foreigners, and they listened to our ramblings politely, took notes and said almost nothing.

      Of course we had plenty to tell them — mostly about surveillance marketing, the collapse of free expression on the Internet, and the many depredations of the American NSA.   Bewildered and shy, they listened.

https://vimeo.com/97874428    
In October 5, 2000, Milosevic was toppled in Serbia.  The same heady post-revolutionary atmosphere reigned for a while — maybe a hundred days.  However, the Serbian revolution never achieved a “lustration” like in the Czech republic, or the “truth and reconciliation” of South Africa.   Milosevic died in a Dutch prison in The Hague, but Serbia, fourteen years later, is mostly ruled by the younger and smarter people from the old Milosevic establishment.

      A revolution that fails to make a clean break with the past is just a changing of the guard. The people of Ukraine people are aware of this, which is why there are still wary militia camps inside the Maidan.  But whose government is it, when your nation shatters in the struggles between superpowers?  It has been a hundred years since a young  Serb shot and killed the royal heir to the great throne of Austria-Hungary, and to this day no one knows if he was a hero or a terrorist.

   It was an honor and a pleasure to visit Kiev: it brought me sadness, but it felt important and necessary.  I lived in Serbia during our own political mayhem, and when strangers came to visit us notwithstanding the so-called danger, we felt better and safer.  Of course we were stuck there on the ground while they had a jet return-ticket in their pockets: but at least there were those, few precious moments when we looked them right in the eye. 

Dark Eyes

Politkovskaya_Anna_01_03
Lyrics and vocal
Jasmina Tesanovic
Horns and accordion performed by Bandragola Orkestar arranged by Sebastiano Giordano
Arranged and produced by Luca Morino
@ Mulino MAUse House

For Anna Polikovskaya

Oh these black dark eyes,
Big Brother’s russian eyes
Burn with bullets eyes,
how they hypnotize
How I need you so,
how I fear you though
Since I saw you glow!
Now my spirit’s low!

Your darkness seals
a fire real
My fate now i feel
my soul burnt with zeal
Mother Russia’s love
smothers every soul
Everyone becomes
Both her tool and fool

Ochi chornyye, ochi strastnyye
Ochi zhguchiye i prekrasnyye
Kak lyublyu ya vas, kak boyus’ ya vas
Znat’ uvidel vas ya v nedobryi chas

No, not sad am i
yes yes mad am I
all my comforts lie
in my destiny
Just to realize
my life’s greatest prize
I ‘ll not sacrifice
for those Russian eyes

I’m Ukrainian, i am serbian
I am muscovite , Politkovskaya
Putin’s dark black lies,
big brother’ s russian fires
make us all his tools
with fools he rules

ochi chorniyi, nepovtorniyi,
ochi yasniyi i prekrasniyi,
yak lyublyu ya vas, yak boyus ya vas,
znaty vgledila u nedobryy chas!

Sorrow in the Balkans

In English, in French

Sorrow never stops in the Balkans. It’s the favorite topic, the inspiration, the poetic lament. It’s the history.

The recent flood that drowned the region, the biggest recorded since 120 years, as usual showed how the scale of human tragedy translates into human solidarity. There was more ironic black humor on display than I’ve seen since the NATO bombings of Serbia and Kosovo.

The Balkan countries are warlike and fractious, but they tend to unite when oppressed by a common enemy, in this case a fantastic Global Warming cloudburst. Soldiers and bayonets are worthless against the floods, the bad dams, the lack of any plan to deal with the reality of the climate crisis. Suddenly the Balkan locals forgot their religions, ethnicity, sexual and political orientation.

But not all of them forgot, of course. The Orthodox church official immediately blamed the floods on the ungodly tolerance of gays. In fact, even the gays couldn’t manage a political protest because of the floods.

River waves several meters washed away rural villages, leaving people stranded on the roofs without food and water, no medicines, no boats… Well-known scenes from disasters all over the world, but there’s nothing quite so real as major disaster in your own court yard. It was like the disintegration of Yugoslavia all over again, but in reverse, as Serbs Croats and Bosnians, against their own intentions, were unified in a bath of mud.

World stars reacted to the tragedy, from Novak Djokovic the local tennis star to Billy Idol, Angelina Jolie, Paulo Coelho, etc… Nowadays, only stars can draw attention to anything real happening in the world, for the world press reacts promptly only when the stars stopped talking about their costumes and marriages and mentioned massive disaster. Then many humanitarian concerts/actions sent money and kind words. God bless them, that’s the world we made, our stars carry the world’s sorrows on their shoulders when they exist just to look good.

Serbian politicians were the picture of hysterical pathos, outdoing one other with wild guesses and an obvious lack of accurate information and institutional organization. I bless the common people and their proverbial common sense. The heroine of the social networks is a humble Serbian granny talking frankly about her survival. It is always the most modest that prove the most enduring when it comes to general catastrophes. They have nothing to lose, especially when they tell the truth.

All over the world humanitarian actions have been organized to aid the stricken areas with relief supplies. The diaspora usually gets very active in those matters, out of sense of nostalgia, guilt, whatever. As a member of diaspora myself nowadays, I’ve learned never to speak in the name of those you are aiding. Let them talk: you should listen. No matter where you went or where you are now, their situation is waiting for you. Global warming is entirely global, it spares no part of the world, it is no longer freakish or unusual, and it can strike hard with no warning. Get ready.

After the three-day shock of the emergency situation, three days of mourning follow.

My favorite good and bad stories are these two. Upside: Gypsies came over to the emergency staff and said: we have nothing, we are gypsies, we have nothing to lose but we can give, because our women can breastfeed the babies! After the first startled moment, their offer was accepted!

Downside: an eminent professor from Serbia accused the USA of covert weather warfare, using the HAARP military science project to produce artificial clouds and the floods so as to exterminate the Serbs, who are of course the elected people of the world in this phase of history. These conspiracy theories never lack in natural disasters all over the world. These Serbian fables are particularly dear to my heart because they come in my own language of ignorance and megalomania. The HAARP paranoia comes straight from the legendary claims of Nikola Tesla that he could use electromagnetic wave power to destroy the world. Of course Tesla was a Serb (or a Vlach, which is close enough) and he serves as a kind of Moses for Biblical-scale devastation of this kind.

During the Yugoslav wars I saw and heard many of these conspiracy theories, which served as some psychic relief for the guilty consciences on all sides. But at least bombs were a genuine military action, hard to mistake for black magic evil forces. Climate science is entirely aware of why people get washed away by cloudbursts these days, but in our human neglect and ignorance, we Balkan locals like to call science some kind of corrupting force in service to a sinister New World Order. Instead of avenging ourselves on the big polluters who literally wreck our homeland, we talk about God’s wrath instead of carbon-dioxide exhaust fumes. We live in a miasma of ignorance as thick as the clouds above our heads. May the gypsy mothers and the reasonable grannies find some way to endure the dreadful failures of the high and mighty! Amen and inshallah!

Tristesse dans les Balkans
La tristesse ne s’arrête jamais dans les Balkans. C’est le sujet favori, l’inspiration de la lamentation poétique. C’est l’histoire.
Le déluge récent qui a inondé la région, le plus grand enregistré depuis 120 ans, a montré comme d’habitude l’échelle de la tragédie humaine traduite en solidarité humaine. Il y avait plus d’humour noir ironique en jeu que je n’en avais vu depuis les bombardements de l’OTAN en Serbie et au Kosovo.
Les pays des Balkans sont guerriers et turbulents, mais ils ont tendance à s’unir quand ils sont opprimés par un ennemi commun, dans ce cas-ci, une fantastique averse énorme du Réchauffement global. Les soldats et les baïonnettes sont inutiles contre les inondations, les mauvais barrages, l’absence de tout plan pour s’occuper de la réalité de la crise du climat. Soudain les habitants des Balkans ont oublié leurs religions, leur ethnicité, leur orientation sexuelle et politique.
Mais pas tous, bien sûr. L’Eglise orthodoxe officielle a immédiatement placé la responsabilité des inondations sur la tolérance impie pour les gays. En fait, même les gays n’ont pas pu organiser une manifestation politique à cause des inondations.
Des vagues de rivières de deux mètres ont éliminé sous l’eau des villages ruraux, laissant les gens échoués sur les toits sans nourriture ni eau, pas de médicaments, pas de bateaux…Des scènes bien connues de désastres dans le monde entier, mais il n’y a rien d’aussi réel qu’un désastre majeur dans sa propre cour. C’était comme la désintégration de la Yougoslavie une fois de plus mais en sens inverse, comme les Serbes, les Croates et les Bosniaques, contre leur propre intention, étaient unifiés dans un bain de boue.
Des stars mondiales ont réagi à la tragédie, depuis Novak Djokovic, la star locale du tennis jusqu’à Billy Idol, Angelina Jolie, Paulo Coelho, etc…De nos jours, seules des stars peuvent attirer l’attention sur quelque chose qui se passe réellement dans le monde, car le monde de la presse réagit promptement uniquement quand les stars s’arrêtent de parler de leurs costumes et mariages et mentionnent un immense désastre. Alors beaucoup de concerts/d’actions humanitaires envoient de l’argent et des mots de sympathie. Que Dieu les bénisse, c’est le monde que nous avons fait, nos stars portent les tristesses du monde sur leurs épaules alors qu’ils n’existent que pour qu’on les regarde.
Les politiciens serbes étaient l’image du pathos hystérique, se surpassant l’un, l’autre avec des suppositions folles et une absence évidente d’information correcte et d’organisation institutionnelle. Je bénis les simples gens et leur sens commun proverbial. L’héroïne des réseaux sociaux est une humble grand-mère serbe parlant franchement de sa survie. Ce sont toujours les plus modestes qui témoignent du plus d’endurance quand il s’agit de catastrophes générales. Ils n’ont rien à perdre, spécialement quand ils disent la vérité.
Dans le monde entier des actions humanitaires ont été organisées pour aider les régions dévastées avec des équipements de secours. La diaspora devient habituellement très active en ces matières, par sentiment de nostalgie, de culpabilité, ou autre chose. Comme une membre de la diaspora, moi-même, aujourd’hui, j’ai appris de ne jamais parler au nom de ceux qu’on aide. Qu’ils parlent : nous, on doit écouter. Peu importe où vous avez été ou bien où vous êtes maintenant, leur situation vous attend. Le réchauffement mondial est entièrement mondial, il n’épargne aucune partie du monde, il n’est plus insolite ou inhabituel, et il peut frapper dur sans avertissement. Tenez-vous prêt.
Après les trois jours de choc de la situation d’urgence, trois jours de deuil suivent.
Mes bonnes et mauvaises histoires favorites sont ces deux-ci. La bonne : Des Gitans sont venus auprès de l’équipe d’urgence et ont dit : nous sommes des Gitans, nous n’avons rien à perdre mais nous pouvons donner, parce que nos femmes peuvent nourrir des bébés au sein ! Après un premier moment de surprise, leur offre a été acceptée !
La mauvaise : un éminent professeur de Serbie a accusé les USA de guerre secrète en jouant sur le temps, utilisant le projet scientifique militaire HAARP pour produire des nuages artificiels et les inondations pour exterminer les Serbes, qui sont évidemment le peuple choisi du monde dans cette phase de l’histoire. Ces théories de conspiration ne manquent jamais dans les désastres naturels dans le monde entier. Ces fables serbes sont particulièrement chères à mon cœur parce qu’elles entrent dans mon propre langage d’ignorance et de mégalomanie. La paranoïa HAARP vient directement de l’affirmation légendaire de Nikola Tesla qu’il pouvait utiliser le pouvoir de vagues électromagnétiques pour détruire le monde. Tesla était bien sûr un Serbe (ou un Vlach ( ???), ce qui est suffisamment proche) et il a servi comme une sorte de Moïse pour une dévastation à l’échelle biblique de cette sorte.
Pendant les guerres yougoslaves, j’ai vu et entendu beaucoup de ces théories de conspiration, qui servaient d’un certain soulagement psychique pour les consciences coupables de tous les côtés. Mais au moins les bombes étaient une action militaire authentique, difficile à confondre avec des forces du mal de magie noire. La science climatique sait parfaitement pourquoi ces jours-ci des gens sont chassés par l’eau des averses, mais dans notre négligence et ignorance, nous les habitants des Balkans aimons appeler science une certaine espèce de force corruptrice au service d’un sinistre Nouvel ordre mondial. Au lieu de nous venger contre les grands pollueurs qui ravagent littéralement notre patrie, Nous parlons de la vengeance de Dieu au lieu des émanations de fumées d’oxyde de carbone. Nous vivons dans un miasme d’ignorance aussi épais que les nuages au-dessus de nos têtes. Puissent les mères gitanes et les grands-mères raisonnables trouver un moyen pour endurer les épouvantables fiascos des haut-placés et des puissants. Amen and inshallah!

Wired Next Fest, Milano

wnf-14-eighteenThe Indro Montanelli park in downtown Milan   in  three days in May 2014,  during  WIRED NEXT FEST was a meeting point of the best of Italian digital culture.  

       Spread within seven dome-shaped tents, from the Museum of Natural History to the playgrounds for children, with free chocolate bars on every stand, the display of the ideas and technologies for future gave me a warm feeling for the prospects of Italian society.  Italy is always on the verge of being too conservative, probably because there is so very much to conserve. 

     Odd conferences, vivid performances, live music and even a loud demonstration of angry cab drivers, which brought the famous Italian street rebels  to the venue, along with a crowd of Milanese cops in full riot gear. These cab drivers were opposed to the use of “Uber,” a smartphone application which would disrupt their business model.  Phones and databases are taking away jobs from humans — a kind of networked Napster for cars. 

     An American attendee told me, amazed: but I just came here from California, there people were delighted to have cheap, fast cabs with just a phone app!   Such an improvement for every passenger and cab user, what do these taxi people want for themselves? 

    A cab driver explained: we are already overtaxed, underpaid,  the state is not taking care of us!  

     A businesswoman from UBER was at the festival to explain her company’s arrival in Milan.  However, she was shouted down with firecrackers, bullhorns and derisive threats, so she stepped aside so that the show could go on. She was expecting the trouble, I was told.  Sometimes she receives death threats because of her phone application.

    We must find a way to be serious about these new and potent things in the world, the applications, the robots, the Internet mega-companies; they’re not mere technical wonders of pure and painless progress.   

     The  Oscar winning movie director Gabriele Salvatores, director of the cult SF film “Nirvana,” broke out in indignation when pressed for his reaction to recent Internet developments.   He scolded Facebook for abusing privacy and wondered aloud how Europe could fail to defend elementary civil rights online. It’s no longer the electronic world he knew, said Salvatore, back when he read the first cyberpunk books.

     The Piemontese inventor  of MPG standards said that digital music is accessible and fast, which is good — but that technical achievement didn’t have to mean the ruin of the music industry. Instead, he expressed disappointment with a society in which not just music standards, but seemingly every similar invention has been turned into a model for economic crisis, and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few.

      Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, known as @astro_luca to his many social-media admirers, spent six months in orbit in the International Space Station.  He described watching the planet Earth every night through the space station’s glorious European windowpanes.  The explorer told us that there is no better joy in human life than to control the human fear of the unknown and direct that into great discoveries.  Awestruck Italian children demanded his autograph.

     Alex Bellini is a young Italian adventurer set on superhuman endeavors such as living inside a iceberg, or rowing across entire oceans.  Bellini told us that his major interest is exploring the limits of human physical and mental abilities. It was remarkable to see this traditional Italian derring-do turned into a life-story performance project.

     Near Future Design fiction is a new form of creativity where designers, artists and writers think and test their ideas freely by creating on the spot future scenarios.  Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico led a big workshop, using the topic of telepathy and uploading the results to Facebook. 

    Then came a cavalcade of internet video celebrity talk shows, musicians, novelists, celebrity chefs, break-dancers, scientists, and raucous comics with politically non correct agendas!  Thirty-thousand everyday people enjoyed the famous Giorgio Moroder DJ concert in the park, where electronic Italo-disco blasted over the happy masses. 

      Wired Italia seems to have found a brilliant combination of the very Italian big-scale piazza show along with hacker, Internet-geek informality. The combo felt awesome, truly vivid, brainy, engaging and emotionally genuine.  The Italian technoculture world seems to be finding its own way of approaching a good life, maybe even creating some brand-new and exciting form of open-source Milanese chic.  As was once said in Lampedusa’s novel “Gattopardo,” probably the most Italian novel ever written:  “Everything must change so that everything can  stay the same!”

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