(2)FIT in Florence | Page 2

FIT in Florence

November 24, 2015
by May
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Dear Incoming Spring Semester Student,

Volta di San Piero in Florence, Italy.

Volta di San Piero in Florence, Italy.

We haven’t met but we inevitably will because FIT has a small, close-knit program here at Polimoda in Florence, and everyone at least get to know each other by face. Although I am saddened that some of the Fall semester students will be leaving soon, I’m excited by the thought of meeting you in January! So, as my last blog post for this semester, I’ve decided to write this letter to you in hopes that it will give you a few insights about life in Florence and also help you prepare for your upcoming adventure.

It’s 49°F outside right now in Florence, and I’m typing away at the school computer lab because the internet connection at my apartment isn’t the greatest from noon to night. Don’t worry – it’s not the norm. Other students say they have great connection at their apartments. I just happen to live on a very busy street, my landlord would say.

Anyway, today, I’ll attempt to finish two papers due this week. The workload is getting heavier as the days get closer to the finals but we all know that’s common in New York City too. I can’t speak for the design students but I can say that Fashion Business Management courses here at FIT in Polimoda are, for the most part, comparable to those in NYC although they will require greater time commitment outside of class with both individual and group projects. And the best part about studying abroad in Florence is we get to go on many industry visits and field trips! Tradeshows, costume workshops, expos, you name it.

FIT in Florence students at the Venice Biennale.

The professors here are very nice and knowledgeable. Since many of them are Italians and have worked in the global market, you get to learn about their experience and gain international insights which are sometimes better than the lectures themselves if you ask me. They don’t give out A’s easily but as long as you understand the task at hand, are able to execute it and present it in a visually appealing way, you should be able to earn it. As for the liberal arts, art history field trips will be very convenient since you will be living in a city with a wealth of history and artworks (hello David!) Comparative politics class has also been very interesting for me, and is my personal favorite (shout-out to Professor Fraser!), but I don’t think you’ll get to take it next semester. Lastly, learning a new language will be challenging but practicing what you are learning will really help. So, don’t hesitate to greet and thank random people in Italian!

Outside of the classroom, you have the option to attend FASA events to get to know other students and Italy in general! FASA, short for Florence Abroad Student Activities, is a student club on campus that organizes activities like cooking classes, soccer games and day-trips to different cities for the students. You can read a blog post written by another blogger, Stephanie Hutton, about some of the events here! It has been a pleasure for me to serve as the president of the club and to work with other board members to create these events. I hope that you will attend many next semester!

At the Perugia Chocolate Festival.

At the Perugia Chocolate Festival.

Last but not least, if you are anything like me when I was about to leave for Florence, you are probably debating on what to pack right now. Trust me – I understand how hard it can be to decide what to bring or leave. My advice for you would be to bring quality, versatile pieces that are easy for YOU to wear, layer and accessorize. Winter necessities (coat, gloves, scarf and sweaters since it will be cold when you are here,) a denim and/or faux-leather jacket, a few pairs of jeans, plain T-shirts, a set of bikinis for Spring Break, loads of underwear and socks, a pair of white sneakers and black booties (especially in Italy) will get you far. And have a mentality that it’s okay to repeat outfits frequently when you are studying abroad. In fact, it’s okay to repeat outfits in life. Did you know, back in the 1200’s, an average person owned four to five outfits throughout their lifetime? Please don’t feel the need to pack a lot. Just make sure to bring two or three killer-professional outfits for industry visits! And also remember that you can buy everything you may need in Florence. The same goes for make-up and grooming supplies unless you have specific products that work for you, especially for your face, then stock up on those and bring them over in case you can’t find them here.

FIT in Florence students slaying at the White Trade Show.

I hope this long letter has been somewhat useful! Feel free to leave a question in the comments if you have any – I’d be happy to answer. Otherwise, get ready to be spoiled with this city’s architecture, art, amazing food, affordable rent and an adventure-filled semester. You are going to have so much fun here! A presto! :)

The beauty of Italy. (I'm talking about the scenery of course!)

The beauty of Italy. (I’m talking about the scenery of course!)

With love,

May

November 23, 2015
by Stephanie
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56th Venice Biennale

     56th Venice Biennale, “All the World’s Futures”

 

It has been one hundred and twenty years since the first exhibition of Venice’s Biennale. This art show happens every two yIMG_4350ears here in Italy. It started with one permanent exhibition building and now there are thirty national pavilions that have been constructed by different countries around the world, such as Korea, Japan, France, U.K, Canada, Australia, and Poland.

The Biennale’s theme this year was, “All the World’s Future.” Through this theme, the artwork presented dealt with,

“state of things” as the ground for its dense, restless, and exploratory project that will be located in a dialectical field of references IMG_4413and artistic disciplines. The principal question the exhibition will pose is this: How can artists, thinkers, writers, composers, choreographers, singers, and musicians, through images, objects, words, movement, actions, lyrics, sound bring together publics in acts of looking, listening, responding, engaging, speaking in order to make sense of the current upheaval? What material, symbolic or aesthetic, political or social acts will be produced in this dialectical field of references to give shape to an exhibition which refuses confinement within the boundaries of conventional display models? In All the World’s Futures the curator himself, along with artists, activists, the public, and contributors of all kinds will appear as the central protagonists in the open orchestration of the project.” -From the Biennale website.

 

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This theme is constructed by layers of filters that relate back to the main theme. Filters such as, Liveness: On epic duration, this was dealing with the search for a language and method in which to display the artwork through a dramatization of the space of the exhibition as a continuous event.

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The next filter was, Garden of Disorder. This addresses the historical background of La Biennale, located in the historical ground, the Giardini. This was to serve as a platform to explore the current “state of things” through global geopolitics, environment and
economics. The artwork displayed here was a discussion and exploration of the changes in the global environment. Looking to the past to understand where our future will go.

The last filter is, Capital: A Live Reading. This is the live reading of Karl Marx’s massive Capital: Critique of Political Economy, written in 1867. The structure and nature of which this publication was written has been a source of discussion for thinkers, artists, political theorists, economists, and ideological structures all over the world for centuries.

IMG_4386“A core part of this program of live readings, is “Das Kapital” a massive meticulously researched bibliographic project, conceived by the artistic director in the Central Pavilion. This program, occurring everyday for nearly seven months, without stop, will commence with a live reading of the four volumes of Marx’s Das Kapital and gradually expand into recitals of work songs, librettos, readings of scripts, discussions, plenaries, and film screenings devoted to diverse theories and explorations of Capital.” -From the Biennale website

IMG_7379Through these filters, the biennale explored the current global events and questioned them. There was a focus on the past events to create a dialogue
between spectators about the things currently happening in society and what has happened in the past. This reflection allows people to address those problems and move forward. It was a very though provoking and interesting event to be able to see. It was a refreshing departure and stepping stone, connecting our art history classes here in Florence, with contemporary discussions on art and global events. The biennale gave refreshing relevances to our lessons of the past. Without understanding where we have come from, we can not understand where to move forward.

 

 

 

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November 9, 2015
by Rose
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“Family” in Florence

Here at FIT in Florence, we are offered the option to join the Community Service Club and give a bit back to the city that has welcomed us in. Through this program, we are able to partake in activities such as gardening, food drives, and helping out at various kinds of events, and these are all wonderful experiences that not only impact the community but enable us to meet people from outside of our group at Polimoda. Sometimes it can feel like we only talk to each other and don’t always get to branch out and meet new friends in Italy so it is always great to mingle with other people through doing community service. Here are some photos from Orti Dipinti, a garden right in the middle of downtown Florence that has been created to send the message that, even in the midst of the city, vegetables, herbs, and other plants can be grown and a sustainable garden can thrive. Here, we made tea infusions for them to sell from their fresh herbs using interesting varieties of common plants such as strawberry mint and peach sage and, as someone who loves to garden, I had a wonderful time working there and I definitely want to return sometime soon!

Our group of volunteers at Orti Dipinti!

Our group of volunteers at Orti Dipinti!

Separating herbs to make tea infusions at Orti Dipinti.

Separating herbs to make tea infusions.

Even though meeting people outside of Polimoda is wonderful, the bonds that we have created within the program have grown incredibly strong as this semester has progressed and we are all becoming very close friends. We recently returned from our weekend trip to Venice and, although the visit was short, we had so much fun and made the most out of everything we did there.

Smiles all around in Venice.

Smiles all around in Venice.

A gorgeous view from one of the many bridges in Venice.

A gorgeous view from one of the many bridges.

On the first day, we visited the Jewish Ghetto and learned about the history of this area from our art history teachers, who had accompanied us along this trip. We then went to Atelier Nicolao, a tailor’s shop that creates historically accurate replications of garments and costumes for plays, ballets, and movies (if you want to learn more about Atelier Nicolao, you can visit them at their website: http://www.nicolao.com/en). The last trip of the day was to an old shop where they make masks by hand as they used to centuries ago, Ca’ Macana, where we learned all about the history of masks and the Carnevale in Venice, and some students stayed there to paint their own masks while others went off to explore the city.

Boats across from Atelier Nicolao.

Boats across from Atelier Nicolao.

On both days, we had ample free time to eat delicious food, wander around the canals, and get lost many times in a beautiful, albeit hard to get around, city. The second day began with a trip to Biennale, which was similar to EXPO Milano but was focused more on modern art rather than promoting wellness and feeding the planet. After meeting briefly in Piazza San Marco, my group headed over to the museum at Palazzo Fortuny, where we saw more art installations and a museum with such modern art made me realize that we had only really seen Renaissance art before while in Italy. Although the paintings of artists such as Fra Angelico and Botticelli are beautiful, it was nice to view art from a completely different perspective while in Venice.

Going to Biennale.

Going to Biennale.

The art installation of keys hanging within the Japanese Pavilion at Biennale.

The art installation within the Japanese Pavilion at Biennale.

Our trip to Venice was truly amazing and it made us all realize what great friendships we are creating through this study abroad program. As we continue on through the year and experience more spectacular things in Europe, I know that these bonds will only grow stronger and will never break even when we are no longer in this program together.

Ephie and Ana having a Titanic moment on their gondola.

Ephie and Ana having a Titanic moment on their gondola.