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?

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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.



Introducing Tonight's Speakers: Dagmawi Yimer and Andrea Segre


Dag Yimer, Filmmaker

Director and writer, Dagmawi Yimer was born on December 6, 1977 in Kabale, Ethiopia. He left his country after the electoral fraud and violent protests in 2005. Yimer moved to Lampedusa, Italy on July 30th 2006 where he obtained humanitarian protection. That dramatic and horrific part of his life is in fact told in a documentary, Like a Man on Earth. Continue reading

Immigration to Lampedusa

The small island of Lampedusa is more than just a home to 5,000 people or a quiet getaway destination. Since the 1980’s, migrants from Africa and the Middle East have used the island as an entry point to Europe. The number of migrants have increased over the last decades. Maaza Mengiste, who was a recent guest speaker, discussed her experience when she arrived at Lampedusa. She visited the island to learn more about its history with migration and to observe the ceremony held for migrants who have drowned trying to reach safety. She was also able to witness a ship arriving from Libya that was full of women, men and children. Mengiste observed that the Italians who live on Lampedusa stared at the migrants with resentment. She was stunned by the type of reaction that she saw from the Italian community. “It was hard for me to watch with the same detachment.” Mengiste said. Continue reading

Nuclear Peace

Iran nuclear deal

Anyone following international politics for the past 20 years must be aware of the continuous conflict surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. As of now, the International community is still trying to extend peace talks to reach a preliminary agreement. After the 1979 revolution in Iran, years went by without an American diplomatic presence in the country. This absence left Iran’s nuclear question officially in the hands of the rest of the international community. America has only recently reengaged and has breathed new life into negotiations.  Michal Onderco, a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute, came to a La Pietra Dialogues event and delivered an engaging dialogue explaining the events that have contributed to the Iranian nuclear crisis. It was very informative and clearly outlined the political actions of the United States, Iran, and the EU in and out of the UN legal framework. The most interesting part of the dialogue was when the attendees were presented with the opportunity to assess leaked security documents relating to the United States’ attempts to limit and control the nuclear power of the Iranians in conversations with other countries who similarly wanted to work to limit Iran’s nuclear capacity. It was interesting to read the informal tone that was used when discussing such a potentially dangerous situation within the leaked documents. The casual language that can be used between governments when concerning such a weighted topic was almost humorous in its attitude. Behind the scenes, the charade of power plays was much less dramatic than how it is portrayed in the media. Continue reading