Recently we have been writing a lot about COMMA Art City in Perugia, Italy. COMMA is -I hate to say it- a very cool urban art event in a dreamy little town in Umbria, curated by TwoThings, a.k.a. Morcky and The Boghe, a.k.a. Marco Galmacci and Rocco Pezzella, a.k.a. NNE members from the very beginning.
During a nice dinner, a glass of whine and some distraction I interviewed one of TwoThings, Morcky Troubles, about his childhood in Perugia and his recent return to the city of stairs.
How was it to grow up in Perugia?
Perugia is a long way from everything. It almost seems surreal, because it is so secluded from the world. When you grow up here it is hard to be in touch with what is happening outside. So you only ever hear about what is going on, but you rarely see it.
Why did you move away?
It was a very natural decision to move somewhere else. I was searching for freedom and youth culture and couldn’t get it from my surroundings here. Emigrating seemed a good way to leave Perugia behind. Italy, and especially Perugia, are somehow stuck in the past. It is a strong culture that doesn’t relate to anything real anymore.
Rocco and I heard a lot of good stories about the artistic life in Amsterdam, so we decided to move there.
What is typical Perugian for you?
The most typical, or traditional, would be the torta al testo.
What about the people?
The people here are quite closed and not expansive at all. You got to understand that Perugia is quite difficult to reach, which is why the old traditions are still left intact. Transport and communication have only been improved in the last fifty years or so and you can see that a lot of people are a bit scared from what comes from outside.
How did the idea for COMMA come about?
Our friend Piercarlo opened a cultural space not too long ago and approached Rocco and me as TwoThings to do an exhibition there. Our idea was to bring our life in Amsterdam to Perugia -to make a connection between the two realities we live in- so we convinced him to make it bigger than the initial idea. Since Piercarlo also works with the city council it just came down to setting a date and organizing it.
Tell me more about the selection of artists you invited.
The selection came very naturally. The artists invited are our friends based in Amsterdam and, as I said before, we wanted our two lifes to come together; to clash. We wanted to bring artists that we look up to artistically and that we, at the end of the day, like to have around.
From what I understand talking to you and others from Perugia, it is quite difficult here for young people in the sense that there is little to do. Yet, I see a lot of young people and students everywhere. Why is that?
Perugia is a student city, but they only study and leave. Few people stay to build and create a life here. Things here are institutionalized to stay the way they are, which makes it difficult to stay and fight for change.
What was the best part of this experience for you?
I loved doing the mural at central station. Down there, at the bottom of the mountain, is a disastrous part of Perugia with a lot of junkies and poverty. I hope to somehow change the perception of the city and to make an impact on such a critical area.
What do you hope to give to the people of Perugia?
I want to give something to the new generation and to inspire the youngsters. I hope to make them believe in their future and that they should just keep doing what they like and work to make a living from it. Most of all, I hope to to inspire them to do things differently.
Now, I’ve heard rumors about plans for the coming years?!
Yeah, we got great responses from the city council and the organizers. We already have a meeting this week to discuss future events. Next year we want to take it to another level and create interaction with the more traditional crafts of Perugia, by organizing collaborations between artists and artisans.