Zero because the world is over and we didn’t realize it. Because our trust in any institution, any form of representation, any meaning claiming to be unique, absolute, final, is over. Zero because the money is over too, it ran out long ago, and we never had any of our own. Zero, ’cause when the masks of a thousand opportunities that third millennium was supposed to give us finally fell, we were left with no choice, and our backs against the wall. Zero, for one half of the binary code that is our new language and the DNA code we’ll leave the children of immigrants. Zero because there’s nobody out there. Zero so we can finally leave, now that we know where from. Zero, like what we have to lose. Zero, like the self-confidence we’ll pretend we have. Zero, like what we have to say, like what is left for us to say and what we managed to understand so far. Zero: probably all we’ll get to understand. Zero is the black hole that sucks our universe in, with all its rubbish, and sucks in even its own name and all of its four letters. Zero like politicians’ flour, and the guys’ in the posh districts, and the ones in the slums. Zero like courage and fear, like rage, and revenge, and peace. Zero like yesterday, today and tomorrow. Zero, like these words.
Zero, like us.
This is the manifesto of an ‘European’ young video company Zero, created by three young cultural professionals Stefano De Marco (25), Niccolò Falsetti (26) e Alessandro Grespan (30).
We had the pleasure to interview one of them, Stefano De Marco (25), European video maker who studied a lot, and sometimes he regrets it. First he did a bachelor in industrial design, than, afterwards moved to Florence for a master in multimedia content design and then, back to Rome, Stefano specialized in design, visual and multimedia communication. Through his experience and point of view we can get to know the cultural scene in the italian capital: Rome.
How do you define yourself?
A normal guy with a passion for cinema and the audio-visual. I wanted to be a ‘special effect’ professionals… but now I have a ‘certain age’.
What does ‘culture’ mean to you?
It’s the other side of life, maybe to banal as an answer, but culture plays a fundamental role in the fact of living or ‘not living’. Culture is a must that gives a meaning to our daily life.
What kind of added value culture gives you?
Culture is the added value of everything; it gives me the opportunity to speak, eat, walk, and living. Thus, the culture is an added value to life in itself.
Being a cultural professional is…
What is the role of culture in your country?
Unfortunately they keep cutting funds to everything. The culture in Italy ought to go back to its origin: the education. Education is the fundamental point, the pillar of culture. It is very sad to see that currently the majority of the teachers do their work without passion and they are not enthusiastic about it. This is a very negative fact. In my opinion, the teacher should be the profession with the highest salary, for the simple fact that they hold in their hands the future of our country. They should inspire by teaching the younger generations. Of course, everything could work better. It’s a change that needs to start from us, the younger generation and should reach out as well the political institution at certain point. Nowadays travelling abroad is fundamental. It is a must-do experience that enhance your mind and only by doing it, you can gain new perspective and knowledge. Like the military service was mandatory in the past, nowadays should be the Erasmus. I am not saying that ‘outside’ Italy is better, but by going out you can have a clear vision of what exists out there and acquire knowledge to use in your future to make the difference in your country. I see a future for me that will be much more European.
Can you sketch the cultural scene in your city?
I came back to Rome only in September, from one side I really saw that this city has improved. I noticed some small interesting realities interested in creating a stronger cultural scene. The problem is always the same, that you can be connected through them by friends or people that know people. It’s all about people you know. From the institutional point of view it became worse, although some things started to move the effort is very minimal.
How is it for you to work in this cultural scene?
With Zero, our company we try to highlight our point of view and raise our voice. The campaign “Coglione no” represents our reaction at what happens at our generation of creative. Generation that has to deal with people who do not read, reply or give very mean answers at your emails. It is the reaction at the devaluation of the creative occupation due to the fact that a lot of creative accept ‘position’ or do work for free in exchange of visibility or for follow a status symbol rather them a profession. It’s the reaction to job opportunities that aim to pay you with no salary but ‘portfolio’. If all the creative professionals connect and aligned, then we can change this situation and create a better and respectful scene. There is hope, hope that sometimes gets lost, but I and we have a lot of enthusiasm and passion. After all my is a positive vision. It’s easier for me to be upset rather than fight, thus this is the reason why it’s good to team up.
Can you live as video maker?
I try. In the past two years it has been my only profession. In Berlin, life costs are cheaper than in Rome. Here, we’re slowly moving some steps and try to understand if we can live out of it. Otherwise the thing that I will do, is not try to change my job but find another location. My colleagues and me had experiences abroad; experiences that changed our life, and let us enjoy ‘being home’ much more. When we made our first video “Dubbio made in Italy” for the competition, Italy love it or leave it, I was in Kassel (Germany) for studying and Niccolò was in London. I went there, we created the video and we also won. Thus, I am very open to the location, as far as I can do my job. Currently we can work in wherever part of the world you are.
How do you see the future for yourself as a cultural professional in your city, are there any opportunities there? And why?
Yes there are, but I see opportunities a bit everywhere. I don’t know for how long I’ll stay in Rome, because I really like to move, discover and travelling is much more stimulating. I see a future in Europe. I always like the sense of movement. If I go for a travel, I live, learn and come back. I believe that the concept of ‘Brain drain’ is over. Nowadays there is Europe, and the fact that travelling became so easy it is a proof. Nowadays also with the new technology you can work and cooperate on-line like we are doing with this interview.
Are there initiatives in your country that help cultural professionals/artists at the beginning of their career?
Yes and no. If we consider the universities, they offer you their utilities, such as materials and laboratories. If we look at the professional world, it’s much more difficult. There are applications for grants promoted by the Region and so on, but they have such a difficult burocracy that is absurd. If you want to see the ‘light’ you need to talk to people who absorb you so much energy… it’s a very difficult process and what you gain is only stress and demotivation. On a bigger scale, I can see that in the last period there is a much more interest trough the young professionals.
What tips can you give to other young cultural professionals? Ah, I look for someone who can advise me… well the thing I can suggest is to cooperate with a lot of people, team up and be honest, real. Do not enter in any kind of mechanism that limits your creativity.
If you want you watch all the ‘food for though’ videos by Zero!