Feb 29 2012: Mai Ueda’s “ElectronicTea Ceremony” at theMACROeo (electronicOrphanage) in Rome
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ATP: Hi, Miltos, how are you?
Miltos Manetas: I am fine. Totally happy and at the same time having a hard time squared into the universal but new for me, format of parenthood. Becoming a father is a very peculiar situation, I had no idea.. Its  Life 2.0 and in many ways a lot more interesting than anything I had experienced until now. 
ATP: Why have you decide to live in Rome?  
MM: Once that I learn that the baby was coming, I was comfortable with the idea to have it in some forgotten village on a beach of South America or in the Amazon forest. But making babies is a collective effort: the deal with Catalina, my collaborator in this project, was to pick a city with art and culture. At that moment, after two years of freedom from my carrier and ambitions, I  really couldn’t  stand those usual suspects of cities such as NY, LA, MI..  So I was in trouble, until the words of the man who I consider to be the most important italian artist alive (Enzo Cucchi), echoed in my head: “Rome is not a city, its a forest made by cities! Layers of very old and very new places, overlapping,   happening all together, constantly, forever”
And that’s how I moved here. 
ATP: How’s living in the Roma Atmosphere?
MM: Fantastic! I never felt the need to escape, not even for one minute. Rome gives you a mission, as I am writing these days, replying to a questionare of Salvatore Lacagnina, Rome is the capital and at the same time, the border-city of our new Middle South.  The citizens here are amazing people who live under some kind of hypnosis but you can see that they can wake up at any moment and maybe change the faith of this unlucky country. Rome is what Berlin was once, here there is a Wall, the wall of Vatican where the powerful wave of the  Middle South crashes and its force is turned into a variety of products .
Like Berlin, Rome makes more sense with that Wall than without, although the Wall has to be destroyed and that is certain.
ATP: What does MACROeo(electronicOrphanage) consist of?   
MM: MACROeo (electronicOrphanage) is made by Digital Graffiti. The reason that I accepted Pietromarchi’s invitation, was that he is open to my very abstract Modus Operandi. I am not a curator, neither I fit exactly – at this moment of my life at least- into what you would call “an artist”.
In this empire of  Advertised Creativity we use to call contemporary art, I relate with nobody and I am touched by very little.
But I believe that after a whole century of vagrant culture- where art went visiting each and every corner of the World, its now the World coming to Art. Like humidity forcing its way under the primer of authorized aestetics, a new kind of graffiti shows us now stuff that I can’t ignore.
So I am collecting some of that stuff and showing them at MACRO. As I am doing that, I am teaching other people how to look for similar signs. Art isn’t about creativity, its about evocation. 
ATP: Can you tell me something about the next project at Macro?  
MM: On Friday were are hosting Peter Lunenfeld, a very powerfull thinker from Los Angeles who was around also at the First electronicOrphanage I did there. Lunenfeld’s thought doesn’t correspond with mine, its what I call “Telic” thought, he is specific, scientific, he is looking for answers and he isn’t falling victim of aestetic preferences. Still, his thought and dialectic, opens roads of analysis for what is happening to us today. Here are the details of his visit. 
ATP: What was the public reaction to the first project in the Area?  
MM: It went great, they came more than 350 people and they stayed, Mai Ueda had to serve ElectronicTea Ceremony for 4 hours! It was poetic and really inspiring although you wouldn’t be able to describe what exatly happened there. That’s what I am after: situations we can’t explain. The second event (First Act, March 15th), was more chaotic, with really many people visiting-because the Museum was having its big opening- still it was magic too.. It started as a battle against the Milanese Spirit: those furniture that MACRO insisted to install at what was before a beautifully empty place (Area). Then, it became the self-portrait of a somehow “broken” concept (the concept of MACROeo (electronicOrphanage). Its always a war against design..Still we survive somehow..
ATP: Is the Italian art system ready to be open to the ‘new media’?
MM: The ufficial Italian artworld doesn’t care. But its not only in Italy, the artworld everywhere, tries to avoid the real questioning about how do we live now, what are we really looking, what obsess us, how do we relate with reality and the problems with the so-called virtual reality.
ATP: Are there any interesting Italian artists who use new media?  
MM: There will be, once we are done with MACROeo (electronicOrphanage) : )
Seriously,   am sure there are, there must be everywhere, it would be sad if there are not. But they haven’t show up yet.. One of the reasons I am doing the MACROeo(electronicOrphanage) in Rome, is to discover a few of them. 5 would be enough, they could take italian art out of its misery..