25 04 08
"Reds against the wall" - Bad News from Isola, Milan
district is struggling hard to survive in a difficult political and
cultural context, being the target of capitalist and neo-nazi aggressions. Two
days after the victory of right wing parties at the Italian elections, the
Isola Art Project has once again been aggressed.
Neonazi-tags covered the Rosta Project #1,
a series of drawings on shutters against the real estate projects in the
district by Dan Perjovschi, Andreas Siekmann, Marco Vaglieri (out) and Marco Colombaioni.
"Rossi al muro" ("Reds against the wall") they wrote.
One week before, there had been a robbery in the same building in the rooms of
the left wing cultural association Punto
Rosso (Red Point), who allowed us to make meetings and to use their
shutters for shows. Several computers were stolen, among which that of Vittorio
Agnoletto, known for his engagement in Genoa
for the G8 summit.
ago, in April 2007 we have been aggressed by the American multinational real
estate company Hines, who destroyed
the factory building la Stecca where out, Isola Art
Center and several neighbourhood
associations worked for years.
They also destroyed and damaged a big number of art works (Ressler, Potrc,
Pistoletto, Papadimitriou, out...). Since then we are carrying on our work in
other venues offered by the neighbourhood, in the streets and on the shutters
of the district. The current show Permanent
Green/Verde Permanente on twenty shutters is a big success in the district
(see www.isolartcenter.org). The
local school and several shopkeepers and associations asked to be in a next
edition of the shutters show. A public picnic of the inhabitants on one of the
main squares, held in order to protest against the privatization and closing up
of the public gardens, also met a lot of success, and will be repeated on may
Isola has become the battlefield of a symbolic, economic and cultural total war.
The aim is, no surprise, the gentrification of the district with high tech
towers, luxury dwellings, a mall and “creative spaces”. In this operation the
American real estate company Hines
and their Italian Catella Foundation
are acting very cleverly to cannibalize the opposition movement.
As parents’ associations defend the public parks against privatization, the Catella Foundation started holding
events for children, and producing toys for disabled children.
As artists are a lot involved in the movement, they started hosting shows and
They engaged Stefano Boeri, artist and architect, to build "green"
skyscrapers on the Isola site, to build....a new Art Center
called "Incubator of Art". The fences around their building sites are now decorated with photographs by
Gabriele Basilico and several artists and curators accepted to work with them.
only two examples of what is happening in this very unequal fight, wherethe inhabitants of the Isola neighbourhood, organized in the Forum Isola, are fighting for the “Parco
Possibile”, an alternative development project allowing to save the parks and
create a Center for Art and Community life, and to avoid or at least limit
gentrification of the district. The struggle’s first positive results have been
obtained in the neighbourhood council and in the Regional Administrative Court. The neighbourhood inhabitants have
filed five complaints to the Court, which has ruled against the construction of
a 30.000 m3 shopping mall in place of the present park. Inhabitants
and artists are engaged in a face-off with the city government and private
developers; but its conclusion is, as of now, impossible to foresee.