A Post-post(non)modern inter(face)
‘Caro Diario’ (dear diary), Facades (part one)
a Film in Three Parts
by Nanni Moretti
in Italian with English Subtitles
Inter-weaving Pre-service Teachers’ Reflections
an Italian Sculptor/composer
An Entrance Way
the multi-leveled and 'open' text, Eco (1989) suggests that there
is neither a beginning or end, "no privileged points of view,
and all available perspectives are equally valid and rich in potential"
(p. 18). A liminal point provides the framework for others to
grasp at this complex 'whole-becoming'.
the text presented may be read in many different ways - that it
may indeed mean more - less - other - to those who read
it, is the 'wager'. Wor(l)ds demand to be read and (thus must
be) organized in a manner in which they can be engaged with, and
it is in "engaging with", that further "thinking" is evoked to
suggest meanings implied in the signs of the wor(l)ds.
do not want to direct, I only wish to 'shepherd' (Towers, 1998).
writing has its roots in philosophical hermeneutics (Gadamer,
1986), that which is continually reworked and reinterpreted at
every reading. I utilize narrative story as a mucilage to pull
various threads together, concurring with Hatch, and Wisniewski,
(1995) and Stewart, (1997) who view it as a powerful medium that
I am not interested in anarchy, however, subversion has always
be subversive suggests that you accept the governing body, the
'facade' if you will (what is set up as the 'front ' or 'facade'),
at the same time, however, looking for ways to undermine this
facade without toppling the entire edifice, as it can still be
of use as the 'new' is built. As the artist Mark Pauline (1989)
said, "You do indeed have to bite the hand that feeds you" (video
... the visual arts have a completely
different possibility to become international than does language,
if only we learn to discern, understand and evaluate the differences
in the pictures. ... Perhaps art and art criticism can help us,
a little bit, to continue to live. Collapse and disintegration
produce new creative power which creates some-thing new. Recycling.
Artists interpret the new contexts at the same time as they rebel
against them (Chambert, 1995, pp. 15-16).
To help in the reading I
provide the following text identifications:
(Regular) 14 point:
Over-all threading narrative.
(Italics) 14 point:
Quotes from Nanni Moretti.
Quotes from Pre-service teachers.
Diary entries from 1999.
sans MS 14 point:
Diary entry 1995.
(Regular) 12 point:
Narrative entry of partner.
second viewing of 'Caro Diario' (Dear Diary), I am looking forward
to the first part, the one with buildings - 'the floating facades'
as they are to my memory -, and the end of part one, Pasolini's
monument (broken facade) paralleled with Keith Jarret's piano
improvisation, his January 24, 1975, Koln Concert.
facade: the surface, the visible presence - that hides, that shelters,
that holds, the inner workings of life.
keep moving because I've learned if you don't keep moving you
will miss all the best parts of life," comments Nanni Moretti,
But then there are dreams
We all feel we are fully at home
only in one language, and we call that one our mother tongue.
We may have learned a few foreign languages as well: French, Russian,
Italian. But we forget that we all speak one other language,
and that is the language of dreams. This language is a remarkable
one. It is a universal language that has existed in all periods
of human history and in all cultures. The dream language of primitive
man, the dream language of pharaoh in the Bible, the dream language
of someone in Stuttgart or New York - they are almost the same.
We speak this language every night (Fromm, 1987, p. 59; my italics).
hold us in dream time, the shifts and jumps that when positioned
later, after waking, are (almost) incoherent in there ability
to slip and slide away into the multi layered space that is our
real time in wakefulness. How the stories hold their 'form' in
dream-time, how the stories are coherent and full of life and
'real' in their space is truly 'remarkable'.
15, 1999, Dear Diary, took the bus down to the video store, rented
Nanni Moretti's 'Caro Diario' for my second viewing. I am intrigued
by it. Read an article in 'Utne Reader' magazine, on 'Lucid Dreaming'.1
I think there is a parallel - something to contemplate.
But then there are dreams
boat)2 ... a pipe feeding
energy or substance - it is subversive - it pulsates. I see the
'L' pipe, valves and turning points. I know it contains 'importance',
I feel its pumping. I do not ask where to. I am singularly aware
of its subversiveness. I 'know' ... but equally, I should not.
is the boat, (we are at sea) - large - but it is not the story,
pipe and its contents, is important.
walk to the giant bird house. It is the size of a normal house -
full of bird holes and birds. The bird songs are simultaneously
translated - becoming intelligible text.
(On waking, I recall being in awe of this,
this ability of the birds: realizing these songs were words -
words I could 'read' in dream-time - communication!)
Hunt', 1965, in the Marchetti exhibition3
had a component which utilized man made bird calls, "the strange
instruments used by hunters to deceive birds. ... Many of the
bird calls are no longer made because no one hunts extinct birds.
The disappearance of paradise is an everyday event" (Watson, 1999,
are on a gray-green cliff, we gaze far out to sea. Complimenting
each other, on the right and left horizons, are active oil rigs.
Over head there are shots of light, 'laser pulse beams', sent
to find the "ripples in the concept". The beams can detect the
cracks. We are confident that 'they' know what they are doing.
Suddenly one of the lasers hits the oil rig to the right - a huge
explosion, white gas (ether) pours out. We run. The tranquillity
turned to extreme danger.
this Kosovo? ... my feelings of complete horror at the maiming
and slaughter of people ... for what? Of course I know the reported
reasoning and a part of me agrees, we cannot allow Serbs to kill
Albanians, so we kill Serbs and they continue to kill Albanians.
I stare at a TV screen watching the daily battle reports, thankful
that we live in the 'new world'. I realize the full force of what
this means, the left behind hatreds and generations-old conflicts
that simply seem non-reconcilable.
run past the bird house, over the brown earth, towards the children.
They don't know the white gas will envelope soon. We enter the
hollow. The approaching danger brings chaos. There is a second
explosion. We dive. I am now fearful for my life. The gas is seeping
over the high ground, I am there, it envelopes like steam. I dive
into an area with old, plush red, movie-theater seats, that have
boxes in them. I open one, there is someone crammed inside. I
try others ... they are squashed full ... adults ... children.
This is where there is safety. I feel this. I know this. I open
more - all full. Where is mine? ... a flat horizontal box with
lattice work sides - I can just fit in, but do not want to.
The lasers, 'looking for the cracks in the horizon', still shift
and dart, if they find one they would expose the 'L' joint of
the subversive pipe line under the dock. The boat is vague. I
try to find it. I wake.
2 1999, Dear Diary,4
to input forty minutes of writing, has taken two sessions of over
an hour at each sitting! Can this be explained by the process?
... having to reread the past, to recreate it, (input), rather
than the simplicity of free flowing discourse placed on paper.
It is interesting to look at the process in terms of various time
frames. "Is time wide or is it long?" (Anderson, L., 1995).
16 1999, Dear Diary, I should be putting this directly on the
computer, but it's not the same thing - something about pencil
& paper still holds.
14 1995,5 Dear Diary,
I still haven't decided on this, I am thinking about using photography.
These are the wild cards that will play themselves out over the
remaining couple of weeks that the process can run,6
before closure is called.7
Writing with-(in) Teaching/learning
write every day in my head. I have all this bottled up, it's like
a sponge that has soaked in all it can and then must be wrung
I have to go and teach my class. I'm prepared, I like being prepared.
The coffee shop where I'm sitting to write has hockey on T. V.
above my head. I think ... 'I haven't started to write the paper!'
'What do you mean?' I rhetorically ask myself. 'All of this is'.
A woman asks to use the other half of the table, "Do you have
to go up and get it?" "No they come around", I answer, in reference
I can not write all I want to.
I am tense from 40 minutes of writing. I slow down. I breathe
... 'let it go', I say, breathing deeply, 'It is time for a different
time frame, time to go teach your class, to let my class teach
me...'9 ... with
(of) great enthusiasm and flexibility in order to motivate the
students ... committed to their learning and recognizing that
students learn only when they are interested and able to work
at their own rate" (student Arte 320).10
to repeat the rhythm? ... the strong rhythms.
play the pirated audio tape to listen to the Italian words, the
rhythm ... I am searching for the rhythm. I listen ... I hear...
become the moped (read film), going down building flanked
streets. Once again the rhythms pull me in. Hypnotic, 'world beat'
rhythms. The rhythms hold me ...
I - (moped), glide down tree lined boulevards, winding, luscious
- up-scale - streets, festooned with sumptuous apartment buildings
- search 'Spineceto'11
down-scale government subsidized housing complex, facades interchanging,
one to the next, so comfortable ... presenting their impeccable
fronts to the world. I do not want to know what lies below, the
human mess that we inhabit behind these monuments of rhythm ...
of language ... of art.
After a long period, much longer than normally given to the simple
pleasure of looking - the surprised pleasure mounting - the thought
I am having is echoed by Moretti, "I always thought it would
be a great film to do buildings, just buildings" ... and on
For a moment my historical inquisitiveness is satisfied by the
inclusion of names and dates for these floating palaces: 'Tufello,
1960'; 'Vigre Nuove, 1970'; 'Monteverde, 1976' ... Through
me they slide ...
The Spanish Tango flows with the moped. Buildings flow ... their
facades continue the soft fluidity.12
But then there are dreams
don't only like looking at the outsides of buildings, I like to
look inside too. I make up stories of being a film scout and needing
a fifties facade and interior, they usually let me in."13
The Koln Concert (into-onto) Marchetti
An album she had when I first
met her, a confirmation of taste.
To me, a cherished memory.14
last sequence to part one of the film. My anticipation is vibrant,
this can make me cry.
I had not heard this music for a long time when it found me on
the first viewing, but it was immediate - I knew it within two
bars. To see this sequence again just for this!15
I search the screen for the peripheral; the beach with the umbrellas,
the wandering souls, the discarded cars and derelict buildings
(such a contrast to the strength of the city facades) as we follow
the ride to Pasolini's monument, cut, bruised and ruined. A diving
bird, a construction of abstract flowing lines of cubist concern.
The other side (we see) deteriorating, the plaster falling away
from the exposed armature.16
have never been to a contemporary gallery before so I considered
the field trip to be an exciting new adventure" (student ARTE
am searching with the music, as Keith Jarret's pure, free form,
'Koln Concert' plays.17
His foot pounds, using the echo pedal as an instrument. My heart
responds to the soft keys. The melody repeats, flies high, the
low notes holding as the upper register builds and builds on a
known tune. I have heard this before, I know this tune, but it
is his ... his Koln Concert, improvised for an audience - caught
on tape, then disseminated to the world - to be repeated over
our field trip, I began questioning my long-standing dislike of
'modern' art and wondered if this bias would or should be passed
along to generations of my students? I hate to think that children
will grow believing that the only great works of art are those
hanging on the walls of European galleries" (student ARTE 320).
That thrilling moment caught as he thumps
the depths and holds it longer than you think, then holds empty
space to fill it with the upper trill - over arching, connecting
back, an autonomous moment spiraling down
the moped over takes the fading sound of the piano.
the moment I entered this exhibition, I was confused about what
a gallery meant to me. My prior knowledge of a conventional gallery
had a definition of being a place where paintings and sculpture
were displayed for individuals to view. However, the Marchetti
exhibit brought new meaning as we became the art" (student ARTE
More Writing (breathed) Spaces
much faster the film goes than I can write! How full film time
is! ... even with such simplicity. I had thought, 'I am simply
rewriting the film.' No it is not possible. I can not even get
close to writing the film ... to capture what captured me. It
is 'open' ... inclusive.
How clearly I played back thirty minutes of film.19
days I wasn't sure what to make of the artist and his work, then
eventually decided that this was probably the type of response
he expected" (student ARTE 320).
(This is a letting go)
question this exercise, this structure. How close is it to what
I wanted? ...
I take a deep breath, I feel the healing of breathing and writing.
This wanting to know 'the answer' is very ... well ...
have never had a piece of art enthrall me like Marchetti's salt
room. I was like a kid with a new toy who could be entertained
with this object for hours" (student ARTE 320).
21 1999, Dear Diary, in the small hours of last night I woke from
a nightmarish dream, that added another layer to this meaning-making-becoming!20
location is a railway car, in the early 19th century. Everyone
is dressed in period clothes, gentlemen and ladies. There is confusion
in 'setting', between the 'wild west' and French society. I am
walking down the corridor. I turn and laugh at my fellow passengers,
"I am awake", I shout, getting the text confused, then, catching
the error, "No, I am dreaming, but I know I am."
I continue to laugh with demonic glee, protected, as it were,
by my 'knowing' this dream state. The passengers engage with shock,
after all, this is their reality.
There was another segment to last nights dreaming. I cannot remember
the location or context, only the 'feeling'. The text was clear,
very clear ... 'this writing is not Postmodern'. I woke disturbed.
29 1999, Dear Diary, I now call closure to the collection of data
for this project. I know that I have to work the pieces, wrestle
them into (a) shape, that I will touch and stroke to get the form
paper has inter-woven various elements; visual style, personal
narrative, pre-service teachers' thoughts on contemporary art
throughout a threading of a foreign film that spends much of its
time viewing (deeply) the facades of buildings.21
As Eco (1989) suggests, we can look to the artist Alexander Calder's,
or for that matter the pre-service teachers' engagement with mobiles,
as "elementary structures which can move in the air and assume
different spatial dispositions. They continuously create their
own space and the shapes to fill it" (p. 12). Just as a mobile
is continually changing, so could this paper, as it goes through
the hermeneutic process of redefining its meaning in each new
I have literally taken it apart and put it back together again
As with an art work, so with
no answers ...
stated at the outset, it is here that its pedagogy lies: a pedagogy
that accepts that there is no one answer, but equally knows as
each creative act is solidified, so is a new opening. As a mobile
fills liminal space in its continual search for perfection, so
can a curriculum of art build on liminal spaces to create a complex
Today in the Fine Arts Library - I notice for the first time a
Calder like mobile drifting softly in the void above the reference
An instant caught
in the corner
of my eye
frozen to the page.
taking new form - new meaning.
The same substance over and over - constant
being becoming (as in a Goldsworthian22