State of the Union


Since 2011, the European University Institute has organized the annual Conference on the State of the Union, which occurs during the celebration of the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which created the European Coal and Steel Community, the first brick in the creation of the European Union, on May 9, 1950. The conference convenes important political leaders to discuss the status of the European Union and its current challenges. Discussing the State of the Union has never been easy. It was particularly challenging this year, as the conference was held the day after the UK elections that confirmed David Cameron as Prime Minister. His agenda includes a referendum to discuss the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Additionally, the UKIP, a Eurosceptic party, was the third most voted party in the United Kingdom.

Professor J. H. H. Weiler, President of the EUI, took the floor after the introductory remarks of the Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella. Weiler explicitly said that “the State of the Union is not as it should be and is not as could be.” Continue reading

PEN Participants and the Definition of Satire

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On April 27th, we held “The Meaning and Margins of Satire,” a dialogue that explored the interpretations, purposes, and psychologies of modern satire. We learned the difficulties of drawing hard lines on what constitutes satire and of predicting to what extent society will react to it. Debate continues to exist, especially as a reaction to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the cartoons that provoked them. Continue reading

Suzanne Menghraj and Davide Lombardo in conversation with Sergio Staino and Marco Solinas on Satire

Image for Satire Event

Tonight NYU Florence professors Suzanne Menghraj and Davide Lombardo will moderate a conversation between Sergio Staino and Marco Solinas on The Meanings and Margins of Satire: Reading Images at 7pm @NYU Florence.

How do satirical images ask to be read? What ideas and inspirations inform the creation, interpretation, and reception of such images?

The evening takes as its occasion the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and the debates that have followed in the wake of the January 7, 2015 attack at the magazine's offices. Discussion will focus on the mechanisms of satire: its purposes, devices, philosophies, and psychologies.


Marco Solinas is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Florence.

Sergio Staino is an Italian cartoonist and satirist.

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano Premiers at Trebeca Film Festival


Photographer Phillip Toledano, who took us on a 'Disconcerting Stroll' through his mind this Spring at NYU Florence, is the subject of a new film that has premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival. Based on the photographic project he presented in the dialogue, the film follows him as he explores the many possible future paths his life may take, including those that frighten him most. The film's director Joshua Seftel says

a little over three years ago, I ran into Phil just after his father had died. My father had also just died. Phil talked about his new project with psychics and prosthetics. It resonated with me in part because of the passing of my dad, because I was grappling with a lot of the same things Phil was dealing with.” Toledano adds, “when Josh asked to film me, I agreed because I trusted him. That trust matters when you’re exposing the inner mechanism of your unfinished art.”

Read this interview with Seftel and Toledano in The Eye of Photography magazine and see the films' trailer below.

For more information about this weekend's screenings in New York visit the Trebeca Film Festival website.

See our Dialogue with Mr. Toledano in NYU Florence's Documentary Photography: Through the Lens series curated by NYU Florence professor Alessandra Capodacqua here:

Simone Donati of Terra Project's New Book Project on the Collective Rituals of Italians

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Terra Project photographer and fall 2014 LPD Documentary Photography speaker Simone Donati's new book project Hotel Immagine will be published at the end of April. The book includes 48 photographs that document his trip across Italy in 2009 to photograph public congregations and group rituals.

"From politics to religion, going from music, sport and television, between 2009 and 2015 Simone Donati crossed his country in search of myths and icons of the Italian contemporary imaginary. This project provides a glimpse into the Italian society with an ironic but also purely documentary look."

Read an interview with Simone Donati about his new book here on Vice

Watch our discussion with Terra Project in our Dialogue Collective Perspectives: Photographic Collaboration and Today's Photojournalism below, part of LPD's Documentary Photography series curated by NYU Florence professor Alessandra Capodacqua.

Art and Science

When the Renaissance polymath Alberti developed the western world’s first formal study on the concept of linear perspective - arguably the most essential artistic development of Renaissance art - he was able to do so with a geometric proof. When Galileo peered at the surface of the moon through a telescope for the first time, it was his training in art and his familiarity with the concept of chiaroscuro that helped him understand its topographical features. Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man describes the unique mathematical proportions of human anatomy and their relationship to Classical orders of architecture.

A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Vitruvian Man

A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man.

In the Renaissance, art and science were inseparable. In fact, one could not be produced or developed without a cognizance of the other. They were considered means to the same end: achieving universal harmony, perfect aesthetic beauty, and a complete rational knowledge of the world we live in. In a period of time that was one of the most accelerated periods of growth for both disciplines, the question remains: do art and science have an inherent connection? Are both necessary, in conjunction, if we want to be able to come to a comprehensive understanding of reality?

Continue reading

A Message from Cecile Kyenge

European Parliamentarian Cecile Kyenge was the first black Minister in Italian history when she served as Italy's Minister for Integration in 2013-2014 in the government of Enrico Letta. NYU Florence invited Hon. Kyenge to speak in LPD's Black Italia series this Spring to discuss the legal and political context in which the issues of identity and belonging that have traversed the 'Black Italia' project are framed. Engagements abroad prevented Hon. Kyenge from joining us, however, she sent the following message to the NYU Florence community.

Middle East Now Winning Film


Choosing one film to win the NYU Florence prize for Best Short Film in the Middle East Now Film Festival was not easy. I, along with the other members of the student jury, watched 12 films, and each one had unique qualities.

Our hearts were captured by Amira, a five year old in the film “Peau du Colle” who superglues her hand to a chair in order to not go to school. We were energized and reminded about the importance of creativity with Yassin “The Narcicyst” Alsalman’s film “RISE.” And we discovered the incredible story of Tarzan and Arab, twin brothers in Palestine who grew up in a place without cinemas, yet grow up to be filmmakers. Continue reading

Introducing Tonight’s Dialogue: Surviving Lampedusa and Moving North


When Italian journalist Imma Vitelli came to last year’s Black Italia dialogue, she discussed the Lampedusa shipwreck that occurred on October 3, 2013. This ship was carrying over 500 refugees and 366 of them, mostly Eritreans,  died. She described the trip to Lampedusa as being “a pilgrimage through the heart of Africa’s human smuggling darkness.” Clearly her witnessing this event has manifested in her mind as a horrific memory. Vitelli was very curious as to how some of these migrants were able to survive, so she traveled to Africa to understand the struggle the migrants went through. “I wanted to trace step by step the hellish stations that I would [have to] go through to survive,” Vitelli said at the dialogue, emphasizing her desire to understand the migrants troubles. Continue reading

Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

By Anna Fay Wainwright

90% of Wikipedia editors identify as male, and this marked imbalance is evident in the paucity of the site’s entries on notable women. Over the weekend of March 7-8, in conjunction with International Woman’s Day, the largest global edit-a-thon to date took place. Launched by the New York-based organization Art+Feminism, and funded with a grant by the Wikimedia Foundation,the second annual edit-a-thon’s goal was to empower women to learn how to edit Wikipedia through the addition of entries on female artists. The event proved quite a success: ArtNews reported that this year’s event, based at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art with 70 satellites in over 17 countries across 4 continents, saw 1,300 volunteers globally. “Most importantly,” ArtNews pointed out, “334 new articles were created globally compared to 101 at last year’s event.”

NYU La Pietra sponsored Florence’s satellite event, which was organized by Ph.D. candidate in NYU’s Department of Italian Studies, Anna Wainwright, and held at the historical center for Florentine feminism, Il Giardino dei Ciliegi, on March 7th. Graduate students from La Pietra and neighboring universities worked alongside NYU alumni, librarians, professors, and members of the Giardino to add entries on a number of Italian female artists and writers from the Renaissance to the contemporary art scene.