Turning 40 on a Senseless Residency

October 6, 2018

Turning 40 with fireworks

I couldn't have been more lucky to be invited to the Residenza Insensate of Cose Cosmiche (Cosmic Things) by the Arthur Cravan Foundation when I happened to turn forty. I mean, imagine turning forty with a meaningful project... You would know for sure that nothing exciting is gonna happen to you anymore. The idea of the Residenza Insensate is to spend most of your time horizontally on the sofa. The sofa is big and you can really spread out. It also involves a lot of coffee breaks and dinners as Chinatown. As my friend J. said, how great and exceptional to have a residency that is not focused on production and status, but on having an experience and building relationships: "If you don’t have rich experiences (and only focus on competition), what are you going to use to make your creative work???"


Helga and Silvia, the brains behind Cose Cosmiche

Helga Franza and Silvia Hell are the brains behind Cose Cosmiche. Cose Cosmiche is also the instigator of other projects like a conference on a tour bus and a collection of artists' notebooks in Les Sublimes Archive. Helga and Silvia know how to try out things  in a different way. Under their influence, I even ended up hanging my  poems on the wall, calling it an exhibition, and I taught a short form writing workshop at night accompanied by wine. 


Writing result at short format workshop



Writing at night




Helga and Silvia themselves are artists. Helga likes to take the tension out of things, particularly the geometrical ones. And Silvia made what is probably the biggest dust piece ever. It was inside a building that hadn't been opened for about a decade. It involved a lot of cleaning − two weeks in total, Silvia told me.   


Silvia Hell, Cleanland, 2015


Studio visit with Helga Franza

I kept a diary in Milan. Here it is below. You can also check out the photos of my residency here



Day 1

A woman and a man are sitting next to each other in the airport. The woman whispers something into the man's ear. "Das ist völlig uninteressant!" the man cries out. 

“What is the English word for 'traversare'?” Helga asks me. A friends of her is going from Greece to Italy with a boat. “Crossing the sea,” I say. Later I read in the fanzine of Cose Cosmiche: “Isn’t every movement a form of fleeing?” 

Silvia and Helga invite me for espresso at the local bakery. As a welcome present they buy me a smiling cookie, which is called "sorriso." 


Day 2 

Sitting in the car to Varese, Silvia notices that there are five lanes now instead of 4 on the highway. She tells me it leaves her indifferent. 

“Terrible” is the favorite word of Matteo. He uses it all the time, especially to refer to everything outside Milano, like Varese. Varese is terrible. But at the end of the evening, also Milano turns terrible. 

Helga is wearing the same colors as me. A Helga is an Helga is An Helga, I rhyme. Helga writes me back: "An An is An An is An An."


Day 3

I’m doing a residency about half thoughts in Italy, which is funny because I only understand half of what people are saying anyway. 

Italians not only like to talk about food but also about the machines that make food, or drinks. Helga complains that her coffee maker called “mocca” spills the coffee. This leads to a long discussion about real and fake moccas. 
  
Domenico is having an exhibition in New York titled “Young Italians”. I ask him how long one is considered to be young in Italy. Until 40, he says. I realize I have two more days to be young. 

Silvia tells me she made the biggest dust art piece ever. Later on that evening at her piece we eat pasta dusted with bread. 

Helga and Silvia are wearing T-shirts with holes. The one of Helga are fabricated whereas Silvia ones are natural.   


Day 4

I’m struggling to get a normal cup of coffee in the morning. “Cafe”, I learn, means expresso and when I try “cafe lungo in tasse grande” I get an espresso in a big cup. Silvia tells me to order a spremuta d’arancia with my coffee if I want to drink. 

It’s hard to do senseless things. I turn every senseless activity into a useful one. Even my silly poems now turn out to be an exhibition. 


Day 5

The dachshund is trending in our neighborhood. A. and I see it everywhere. In Berlin A. also has a dachshund called Otto. We ask the owner of Toni how a dachshund is called in Italian: Bussotto, she says.


Day 6

Walking to the park A. notices a sex shop. It’s called "Basta problemi." 


Day 7

I’m having a coffee at the Piazzetta Ho Feng Shan. A woman with a tattoo on her upper back is sitting in front of me. It says “Familia” and is accompanied by a red diamond. Could a tattoo be more Italian? Later on she covers her tattoo with a  shawl.  I wonder if she, when getting older, changed her thoughts about family. I remember what my friend W. said about family: In the end everyone has to transcend their parents.  

Carlo tells me that Italians are considered young until the mother dies. It’s called “mammonia”. 


Day 8

I take the tram 10 to Station Garibaldi where I leave with the Malpensa Express to the airport. The tram is from the year 1928, Silvia tells me. Later I fly with easyJet, which was founded in 1995 by the 28 year old businessman Stelios Haji-Ioannou.  It's nice to move through different decades with transportation in just one day. 

When I arrive in Berlin, it’s raining heavily. I message Silvia and Helga I have the Milano blues. Luckily, I brought a "sorriso" with me as a consolation. 





I couldn't have been more lucky to be invited to the Residenza Insensate of Cose Cosmiche (Cosmic Things) by the Arthur Cravan Foundation when I happened to turn forty. I mean, imagine turning forty with a meaningful project... You would know for sure that nothing exciting is gonna happen to you anymore. The idea of the Residenza Insensate is to spend most of your time horizontally on the sofa. The sofa is big and you can really spread out. …
Turning 40 with fireworks

I couldn't have been more lucky to be invited to the Residenza Insensate of Cose Cosmiche (Cosmic Things) by the Arthur Cravan Foundation when I happened to turn forty. I mean, imagine turning forty with a meaningful project... You would know for sure that nothing exciting is gonna happen to you anymore. The idea of the Residenza Insensate is to spend most of your time horizontally on the sofa. The sofa is big and you can really spread out. It also involves a lot of coffee breaks and dinners as Chinatown. As my friend J. said, how great and exceptional to have a residency that is not focused on production and status, but on having an experience and building relationships: "If you don’t have rich experiences (and only focus on competition), what are you going to use to make your creative work???"


Helga and Silvia, the brains behind Cose Cosmiche

Helga Franza and Silvia Hell are the brains behind Cose Cosmiche. Cose Cosmiche is also the instigator of other projects like a conference on a tour bus and a collection of artists' notebooks in Les Sublimes Archive. Helga and Silvia know how to try out things  in a different way. Under their influence, I even ended up hanging my  poems on the wall, calling it an exhibition, and I taught a short form writing workshop at night accompanied by wine. 


Writing result at short format workshop



Writing at night




Helga and Silvia themselves are artists. Helga likes to take the tension out of things, particularly the geometrical ones. And Silvia made what is probably the biggest dust piece ever. It was inside a building that hadn't been opened for about a decade. It involved a lot of cleaning − two weeks in total, Silvia told me.   


Silvia Hell, Cleanland, 2015


Studio visit with Helga Franza

I kept a diary in Milan. Here it is below. You can also check out the photos of my residency here



Day 1

A woman and a man are sitting next to each other in the airport. The woman whispers something into the man's ear. "Das ist völlig uninteressant!" the man cries out. 

“What is the English word for 'traversare'?” Helga asks me. A friends of her is going from Greece to Italy with a boat. “Crossing the sea,” I say. Later I read in the fanzine of Cose Cosmiche: “Isn’t every movement a form of fleeing?” 

Silvia and Helga invite me for espresso at the local bakery. As a welcome present they buy me a smiling cookie, which is called "sorriso." 


Day 2 

Sitting in the car to Varese, Silvia notices that there are five lanes now instead of 4 on the highway. She tells me it leaves her indifferent. 

“Terrible” is the favorite word of Matteo. He uses it all the time, especially to refer to everything outside Milano, like Varese. Varese is terrible. But at the end of the evening, also Milano turns terrible. 

Helga is wearing the same colors as me. A Helga is an Helga is An Helga, I rhyme. Helga writes me back: "An An is An An is An An."


Day 3

I’m doing a residency about half thoughts in Italy, which is funny because I only understand half of what people are saying anyway. 

Italians not only like to talk about food but also about the machines that make food, or drinks. Helga complains that her coffee maker called “mocca” spills the coffee. This leads to a long discussion about real and fake moccas. 
  
Domenico is having an exhibition in New York titled “Young Italians”. I ask him how long one is considered to be young in Italy. Until 40, he says. I realize I have two more days to be young. 

Silvia tells me she made the biggest dust art piece ever. Later on that evening at her piece we eat pasta dusted with bread. 

Helga and Silvia are wearing T-shirts with holes. The one of Helga are fabricated whereas Silvia ones are natural.   


Day 4

I’m struggling to get a normal cup of coffee in the morning. “Cafe”, I learn, means expresso and when I try “cafe lungo in tasse grande” I get an espresso in a big cup. Silvia tells me to order a spremuta d’arancia with my coffee if I want to drink. 

It’s hard to do senseless things. I turn every senseless activity into a useful one. Even my silly poems now turn out to be an exhibition. 


Day 5

The dachshund is trending in our neighborhood. A. and I see it everywhere. In Berlin A. also has a dachshund called Otto. We ask the owner of Toni how a dachshund is called in Italian: Bussotto, she says.


Day 6

Walking to the park A. notices a sex shop. It’s called "Basta problemi." 


Day 7

I’m having a coffee at the Piazzetta Ho Feng Shan. A woman with a tattoo on her upper back is sitting in front of me. It says “Familia” and is accompanied by a red diamond. Could a tattoo be more Italian? Later on she covers her tattoo with a  shawl.  I wonder if she, when getting older, changed her thoughts about family. I remember what my friend W. said about family: In the end everyone has to transcend their parents.  

Carlo tells me that Italians are considered young until the mother dies. It’s called “mammonia”. 


Day 8

I take the tram 10 to Station Garibaldi where I leave with the Malpensa Express to the airport. The tram is from the year 1928, Silvia tells me. Later I fly with easyJet, which was founded in 1995 by the 28 year old businessman Stelios Haji-Ioannou.  It's nice to move through different decades with transportation in just one day. 

When I arrive in Berlin, it’s raining heavily. I message Silvia and Helga I have the Milano blues. Luckily, I brought a "sorriso" with me as a consolation. 





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