Tucked away in the heart of the city of Milan sits Isola Pepe Verde; what can only be described as an oasis for the city goer looking for a moment of peace. So was the perfect setting for UNCLE to present Lingua Lunga by TOMBOYS DON’T CRY. This is the first, Milano chapter of CONGREGATIONS. This project was curated by Ludovica Bulciolu and Brenna Horrox in collaboration with UNCLE. We covered Milan with posters in anticipation for the event.
The day saw a host of creatives come together in a celebration of multiple mediums, centrally focused on giving a platform to artists with the LGBTQ+ community. A zine was produced before the event ready for launch, inside was the short story Darkroom by Maria Giovanna Drago in both Italian and English. The event began with a reading of the text in Italian to the crowd and depicting how Drago was disenfranchised by the city of Milan until discovering an underground world of acceptance in a dark room. The reading “reflected on the need for intimate spaces within the city and how in creating spaces for queer bodies to be sensual and connect in the dark affirmed their feeling of becoming stronger in the light. It reminded us of the work by queers 10 years and more ago in carving out spaces when environments were even more hostile”. The zine features illustrations from Giorgia Rachel Donnan, who later drew caricature style portraits of attendees and designed the event’s poster.
Following this reading was a performance from “Rasputia who played her sound piece, Fuk Fuk – it was interlaced with sounds and rhythms of batuku and funana, two Cape Verdean musical styles that were forbidden in the public space while resisted in the mountains, celestial white noises, as well as a poem the artist wrote whilst in Italy facing racism in public settings. The sound filled and vibrated throughout the garden, with moments to dance and moments to consider the somber reality of what it feels like when a form of human expression is stripped from people.”
The space itself was decorated with fabric design from Fightingdiscotinha, which saw colourful cut throughs amongst the greenery, the perfect backdrop to a reading from Sandra Malecane, which was an intimate tale of sex, acceptance and love. The day was closed by Adele H and a listening session of her new album ‘Impermanence’ which was enjoyed as the sun set on Lingua Lunga.
The day was a true reflection of Milanese culture with welcome faces of all creative facets being represented. From easy comradery over sage lemonade to the community dancing at the sounds of the evening. UNCLE will be continuing to delve into Congregations with an interview with TOMBOYS DON’T CRY and the event curators to showcase the impact it had on the city and the purpose behind the day. Watch this space.
We spoke with the curators Ludovica Bulciolu and Brenna Horrox on their reflective thoughts of the day.
WHY WAS LINGUA LUNGA SO IMPORTANT?
At the heart Lingua Lunga was a reflection on what public space is? Not only is there an actual decrease of it with privatization but even the spaces that are ‘public’ perhaps don’t feel like it – they do not leave much room for the possibility of interaction, spontaneity and sense of belonging. Lingua Lunga felt like it created this possibility.
HOW DID THE SPACE IMPACT THE EVENT?
There were interventions amidst the garden. The purpose was not to take over the space but to work with it, tattooing different textures, visuals and vibes into the allotment meets garden meets community centre that Isola Pepe Verde was.
WAS THE COMMUNITY OF MILAN TOUCHED BY THE DAY?
The garden stayed open as usual with its typical crowd of families, kids, volunteers who upkeep the space and day time wanders flowing through. A new crowd joined them, those who knew of the collective Tomboy Don’t Cry and the artists involved in the day. Many who had never heard of this unique free space before and felt grateful that they had been introduced to it. They said it was very rare for Milan.
HOW DID THE LINEUP OF CREATIVES REPRESENT THE THEMES OF THE DAY?
These works by artists dreamed of how we want public space to feel as well as revealing the reality that for so many the ability to be oneself in public is still hard to grasp. Lingua Lunga celebrated the power of coming together and congregating to create an atmosphere against homogeneity. Strangers next to friends next to communities.