Kabul: Luci e Ombre

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Interessantissima puntata di Nessun luogo è lontano su Radio 24.

Con Fabrizio Foschini e Giuliano Battiston abbiamo parlato di quel che sta succedendo in Afghanistan.

Ecco il link per ascoltare il podcast.

Grazie Giampaolo Musumeci per l’ospitalità.

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A Wealth of Voices in Kashmir

About a year ago, Rich Autumns and I started discussing about the blog-sphere in Kashmir. It was before my trip to Srinagar, I thought I would use some of the time of my visit and meet bloggers and feel the pulse of the place.

A few hours after I arrived in Srinagar the snow came, loads of snow, so the plan faded, but I consoled myself with the good company of friends and cup after cup of noon chai.

Just before the end of 2014, the debate around blogging in Kashmir sparked again on Twitter – following the momentum, Rich and I decided to get back to our list, a modest one of maybe twenty-five links or so. Within a few hours, we decided to make the list public and look for contribution from those who were taking part in the discussion online.

To our greatest surprise, suggestions and recommendations started to flood in with great enthusiasm. Haamid Peerzada has been particularly helpful and without his contribution the list would have not taken the shape that it has today: almost two hundred names!

The list can be found here and it is still very much a work in progress. My hope is that I can make sometime soon to write a proper review of what we’ve found, for now I am thrilled at having stumbled upon an immense treasure: a wealth of voices and a great desire for expression, which feels me with hope in such a delicate political moment in the Valley.

 

The Little Book of Kabul on Fair Observer

The Little Book of Kabul

Fair Observer featured our book:

The Little Book of Kabul is a book project that depicts a portrait of Kabul through the daily activities of a number of artists who live in the city. With an evocative tone, it focuses on the tiny details that escape grand narratives. Colors and gestures, smells and accents. In 20 short stories and 47 black and white photographs, The Little Book of Kabul dives into the lives of the three main characters exploring what it means to be an artist in Kabul and hence unveiling the beauty and brutality of the city.

Read more here.

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The Little Book of Kabul – Launch in Kabul

The Little Book of Kabul

The Little Book of Kabul is now out in the world.It has reached many houses and hopefully offered a glimpse of unexpected beauty.

In the next few weeks, Lorenzo and I will be travelling to present the book and tell the story of its making.

This last phase of our journey – obviously – began in Kabul.

We had the great privilege of being hosted by Margherita Stancati and Nathan Hodge at the Wall Street Journal for an evening of discussion and celebration.

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*Photo Credit: Joel van Houdt *

It was beautiful to share some of the backstage stories with old friends who have followed our adventure since its inception and new friends who now walk the same streets we recount in the book.

The incredible amount of affection that surrounds The Little Book of Kabul never ceases to surprise us and we are deeply grateful for that.

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Virtual Kabul – Or, the unexpected joys of collaboration

A couple of weeks ago I was in San Francisco and had the great pleasure of meeting Nick Sowers.

Nick defines himself as someone who “constructs space with sound” and we soon found ourselves talking about space (obviously), cities, walking and everything urban. We talked about how sounds and noises influence the perception of our surroundings and the role they play in terms of memory and orientation.

That’s when I told him that I have written for The Little Book of Kabul  a musical score for a construction site. This piece was originally conceived as a fully fledged sinfonietta (that the amazing composer Giovanni Dettori checked for musical and compositional accuracy). For reasons of space it became a much shorter piece, but it is a fundamental part of the book anyway.

I had visited the construction site of what would become Rahim Walizada‘s Design Cafe in Kabul several times. I took notes and spoke to people, but then after a while I was at loss for stimuli: didn’t know how to interact with the place anymore and was getting pretty bored. I then decided to sit in the corner, listen and write down all the sounds I could hear, their intensity and where they were coming from. I didn’t have anything specific in mind back then, but when I went through my notes months later while writing the book, I realised it was an incredible opportunity to experiment with writing and explore different ways of describing spatial relations.

I told all this to Nick, we understood we spoke the same language and he invited me to join him in his sound studio and asked me if if was OK with him trying to make my musical score play. I was completely thrilled.

His studio is a remarkable little place where he set up a sound device that allows you to experience the three-dimensionality of space through sound. We didn’t have much time, but we played around and we could both feel that there something there that was worth chasing.

As we parted ways, Nick told me that he wanted to spend more time with those sounds and make something out of it. The idea made me really happy: there was the chance for my words to morph, to take body in a different shape and substance. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better.

A few days later, Nick got back to me and sent me his reinterpretation of my music score.

(You can read his take on our encounter here)

When my sister Susanna Recchia, who is a dance artist, listened to Nick’s piece, she immediately said that she would love to try and use it for one of her performances. This is yet to happen, but I am really hoping that it would soon become a further chance of collaboration and one new embodiment of experimenting with words, sounds and space.