By KERRY TINGA
In the tail end of the 1980s, a youth movement was spreading throughout Europe: acid house, rave culture, and euphoria that young people still try to chase to this day. Thirty years later, and thousands of kilometers away, the Second Summer of Love is re-explored and appreciated in a bustling Asian capital.
In the Bangkok Screening Room, guests watched two short films inspired by the Second Summer of Love that Gucci, and contemporary art magazine Frieze, presented: Wu Tsang’s Into a Space of Love and Josh Blaaberg’s Distant Planet: The Six Chapters of Simona, followed by a Q&A session with the latter director. The short films were accompanied by four 60-second-long prelude films directed by Adam Csoka Keller and Evelyn Benčičová.
Distant Planet: The Six Chapters of Simona
Visual artist Josh Blaaberg explores the history and legacy of Italo disco through a thought-provoking piece that melded archival footage, interviews, and newly imagined realities. Through the original narrative in Distant Planet, he explores how man’s perception that divides fact from fiction is blurred in the face of passion, desire, and emotional impulses. It features Simona Zanini, Fred Ventura, and Alberto Stylóo on a journey inspired by fact, technically fiction, all reality if we so believe it to be.
In his interview, Blaaberg discussed loss, but here we will talk about what is found in Italo disco. In celebrating these stars of the 1980s—who performed in glamorous ensembles while singing in borrowed English under invented American names—he shows how illusion in name can be real if so perceived.
Who is to say Italo disco star Ryan Paris, born Fabio Rosciolo, is not Ryan, but actually Fabio, when he performs under the name Ryan Paris, instead of Fabio Rosciolo.
Whether Ryan or Romeo or Fabio, we cannot help but get lost listening to his 1983 hit single “Dolce Vita.” A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Perception of the fiction is intertwined with evoked emotion to become our newly imagined realities.
Into a Space of Love
Through employing elements of magical realism, Tsang’s documentary on the culture of underground, urban house music allows the audience to visualize the emotions and have a deeper connection with the individuals on the screen.
The award-winning filmmaker does away with nostalgia that interviews often evoke. She instead fashions vignettes that dig deep into the ambiance of nightlife, past, present, and near future. It touches on the importance of a space where one has the freedom to truly and honestly feel.
From the young to the young at heart, the struggles and the profound strength of marginalized communities, including the queer community and people of color, is brought to light. Their stories are told through the universal language of music and movement.
Epilogue and Prelude
The retail experience is just that, an experience. Gucci’s ambitious venture into films with this shorts series reminds us to check in—and tap into—our emotions so as to properly engage in experiences. Take a moment, we are not in a rush, to ask ourselves: How does it make us feel?
Adding something to your life should be an act of love, tuning into our emotions, not just simply turning the pages of the latest fashion magazines (although there is that element as well). The art community supported by Gucci promotes the appreciative aesthetic of the modern patron who moves to their own beat. This complements the brand’s unique essence that emphasizes individuality and character.
In a non-linear fashion, let us go back to the prelude.
Young people, dressed in attractive outfits, are confidently themselves in look and feel. It is easy to say we wish we were them. What Gucci seems to be promoting is for us to wish to join them in our own individual ways. Alessandro Michele’s Gucci evokes confidence, in itself and in others. The artistic venture into film is a natural extension of the brand’s clear persona.
From head to toe, and now from music to movies, Gucci suggests we surrender to our own primal emotions in order to be ourselves. To live as a distinct and unique being among equals.
In the Philippines, Gucci is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc., located in Greenbelt 4 and Shangri-La Plaza East Wing. Visit www.ssilife.com.ph, or follow @ssilifeph on Instagram, for more information.