Tommaso Speretta

Self Portrait posed as a model
If I were a model, life would be easier

Project two:
Cook for a day for free at your local cafe or restaurant.

I thought about several ways to tell my story.
I thought that coming back in the class with a pic of me dressed up as a cook inside a restaurant kitchen was not interesting enough.
I wanted to communicate what my experience represented for me.
The most interesting thing on which I reflected was the idea of defeat.
At the beginning I decided to work with typography: I wanted to create a sort of slogan that could summarize my experience and to print it on a set of kitchen aprons or cooking hats.
Or even on a collection of t-shirts: the idea of sewing up the sleeves or the neck was interesting.
It would represent the impossibility to use the t-shirt.
But I thought it was not what I was looking for.
Then, I thought about a way to convince the cook of a restaurant to allow me to use his kitchen
for some hours. I could invite some friends at home, cook for them and then ask them to write
a series of recommendation letters for me to present to the restaurant management the following day.
But I decided it was not enough.
I had a lot of other ideas such as stopping people on the streets and ask them what they would do
if they were me, or design a 100x70 poster telling my story to post on the city walls.
At the end, I decided that in some way I wanted to share my story.
Every one of us, at least once in the lifetime, has suffered a defeat.
Therefore I designed a sort of fanzine, or magazine, where to collect different stories of defeats that various kind of people had told me about. I titled it “NOMO” (which is an anagram of the word “mono”).
My purpose is to set a rule to prepare and present this project: only one topic and different ways to look at it. Each story teller would have his picture taken by the same photographer as well so that
a precise order is followed.
My future goal is to manage to realise the same thing with artists telling about their personal stories, according to a topic that I would decide myself, a different one for each issue of the magazine.

Here are some of the stories I collected for the first issue
The topic is: Failure

Daniel,27
But after one year the situation became untolerable.

I’ve been living in Berlin for five years now. I used to live in Florence before. I liked Florence, but it didn’t offer so many opportunities as Berlin, especially for who is involved in arts.
Berlin is swarming with galleries. Everyday there is an opening and people look seriously to arts.
The typical Italian buffet, with good food and wine, doesn’t exist here. They usually offer you beer and some appetizers or chips. But there is a band playing or a Dj spinning records most of the times. Sometimes they ask you some small change for the beer, so they can pay the band, but there’s no problem, everyone pays without questioning. Since now it has never happened to me to be thrown out the gallery at 8 pm. The place remains open till it is packed with people.
You don’t need to have pockets full of money for living in Berlin. Unemployment is very high and that’s why the cost of life is low. Public transports are reasonably priced and if you don’t want
to catch a bus or the subway you can go around by bicycle. You go to Mauerparck and you can buy
a bicycle with few euros.

Just arrived here, five years ago, I immediately fell in love with the city. I left Florence because there really was no escape for a young artist there.
Today I work alone, but I used to work in a group with a friend before. We met at university.
At the beginning he thought I was stupid. I remember that during breaks or alongside the corridors he was always looking around to avoid me. He was bashful, because of his personal insecurity,
and basically he didn’t trust people at all.
I spent months to win his confidence, but at the end we became good friends. And we started to work together. The thing I loved the most was that we were able to balance one’s deficiencies with the other’s qualities.

We rented a studio as well. We were tiding it up step by step.
But as it often happens when friends get to work together, it is always difficult to maintain a certain balance in the relationship. You have to blindly trust the other, otherwise everything collapses.
And I really blindly trusted him. I don’t want to say he didn’t trust me, but I’ve never understood what happened at one point. He started to tell me stupid lies. When we had to take a decision about a project, we were used to divide the jobs: “ I make this and you make that. I work on this, and in the meantime you’ll look after that.” We had always worked this way and when there were some problems we had always talked.
A series of projects started to go wrong, because of his mistakes.
He would do my job instead of his. He had contact with galleries or art magazines, without providing the right material and right information. And some days after we would get slammed in the pages of some indie art magazine. I really didn’t understand what he was looking to demonstrate me.
I got nervous, it’s obvious I think, but than I glossed over. I thought: “ Maybe he has some family problem, or issues with a girl, and he doesn’t want to talk or ask for help”.

But after one year the situation became untolerable.
The enthusiasm of doing stuff together was falling day after day, and we spent all the time having stupid arguments. He started to kick up a fuss about everything.
And so I decided to stop working with him.
The last time we had a discussion, I used very strong words. I suffered a lot, because I was sure we could make big things together.

Audrey,28
He loves me. I’m convinced about it.

It can sound banal, but the worst failure I had in my life is love.
It was about two years we were engaged. And I have never accepted the fact that he left me
because he decided that loneliness would help him to give a sense to his life.
I would prefer to hear he was in love with another one. And yet I was sure we were happy together.
Since that I’ve been so presumptuous to believe to be an important part of his life.
From then on, years have already passed, I have never had another relationship, a serious relation,
I mean.
The last time I saw him was about one year ago. It was a wonderful day at the beginning of April.
I was back in Italy for some days. I was unsure about calling him or not. Convinced by a friend,
I called him to invite out for lunch. When I call him, he is always ready to have a meet.
He loves me. I’m convinced about it.
We spent all the day together, and it had been a wonderful day.
From that day I send him a postcard by month.
I asked him if I could do that for the rest of my life. He told me to be agreed. And I promised it.
The idea that also in twenty years, when he will be married and maybe become a father, I will can be part of his life, make me feel serene.

Sara,24
But I felt utterly powerless about it.

I was only eight years old when my parents broke up. My brother was some years older than me.
The situation at home was intolerable: their arguments were really on the agenda and obviously
the atmosphere in the family was insufferable.
I remember the day when they told us they were going to separate: it was terrible.
I was so young and forced myself to understand why from that day on we should live in two different houses, but I was not able to find an answer that could convince me.
I had never thought before then that a family could at one point in the life got to live separately.
And then? What would I do? Where would I live? Who would I live with? Would I be with my father
or with my mother?

Nowadays I have shivers down my back when I think about that period of my life.
I can imagine that today’s parents are better prepared to make such a similar announcement
to their kids, but twenty years ago things were different.
I was obsessed with the idea that this thing should have not happened to me, and I was struggling to find a way to put things in order. But I felt utterly powerless about it. What could I do? What could I think up?
Nowadays, years have passed, my parents hardly talk to each other.
I have to confess the wound is not closed yet. I’ve never wanted to know exactly why they have
decided to break up.

Matt,26
To end a long story short, he was hired, not me.

After the degree we are all brought by a terrifying sense of anxiety, as if something tragic is about
to come. We are all afraid to be unemployed in the future.
As all the others, or the most of them, I felt that kind of anxiety.
Before graduating, looking to my friends that finished university before me, I got to refine my
curriculum vitae and to start surfing on the web looking for any kind of job announcement, and than to send my curriculum to the different companies.

Some days later my dissertation, I received a call from a company, a famous company as well, but I don’t want to tell the name, that offered me a job. You can’t imagine how happy I was! I have never had a serious job interview before then. I was really worried the day of the interview.
You can understand my feelings, I think!
Luckily, everything goes smoothly: I didn’t make a fool of myself and the guys, they were so young, whom I had he interview with, looked as if they were impressed by me.

When I was told I had passed the first selection, I was so enthusiastic, excited I’d say.
But then things started to become really serious.
I was called for a second interview, a group interview this time. It had been terrible, a nightmare.
I have no words to describe the other candidates. They were very young, like me, but so self
righteous. Luckily I passed the second interview as well.

I was told by the company staff I was going to be recalled in the next days. And it was true. I was recalled but not to start my work but to have the third and last group interview.
That morning I arrived at the office and I discovered that there were only 2 of us: me and a boy from Milan, the nastiest of the group. A person I really could not stand from the very beginning. He got on my nerves all the time.
To end a long story short, he was hired, not me.
It became a challenge for me then: after three interviews the things were going to be hard.
Nowadays I can’t still understand why I lost.

Leo,29
He was satisfied of his family.

After graduating from high school, I enrolled in the Architecture department of my university.
I have never had to ask my parents’ approval when I decided to do something.
I’m the youngest in the family, a big one indeed: three sisters, one brother and me.
As it happens to most good families, the relationship between brothers and sisters can’t be but
wonderful. The elder ones are always some kind of parental figures for the younger ones.

My father used to spend all the day working, and when he was at home he was stuck in his studio
all of the time, smoking a cigar and working till late.
My mother had a job, too. She wasn’t so workaholic as my father, but she was just as busy as him because of the various charity groups she was involved in.
There was a sort of a sacred moment during the day: dinner time. As in the best Italian family
tradition, we were getting together around the table and talking about how everyone had spent
the day. Being together, feeling as a united family, used to make my father really glad.
He was satisfied of his family.

Everyone was happy when I announced I had decided to attend to the Architecture Faculty.
My father had no doubt that every one of his children, no matter how young we were, would make the best choice possible, because he was there to support us and give good advice.
My years at university went well. I studied a lot and enjoyed it all, as all the other students.
In my second year, at the beginning of the second semester, I met a girl from Rotterdam. She was there, as the most of foreign students, for an international exchange, something as Erasmus.
We went out for some months and then we got engaged. She decided to spend the summer in Milan and then in September she left for Rotterdam.

I had introduced her to my family: luckily everyone liked her, but at the same time they were
convinced it would be a short story. They thought it was the typical story of the foreign student
coming in Italy for studies that got engaged and then left: “It was wonderful, but sorry I have to leave.”
But it wasn’t like this. The year after we tried our best to meet as often as possible, as I would spend many weekends in Rotterdam and she would do the same for me.
When I graduated and I announced to my family my will to finish my studies in Rotterdam. I was totally convinced about my decision.
My father didn’t show explicit objections against this, but he hardly spoke to me during the
following months. He thought I had not been able to make the right choice. He felt as if all of this words and teaching to me had been meaningless.

Since then I have been living in Rotterdam.
I have been living in my small one bedroom flat since the day she dumped me.
The relationship with my father is not like it used to be before, I can say we have no more links at all. I regretted several times to have left Italy, but I take my charges about it.

Claudia,25
Why did I decide to leave the thing I loved the most?

I started to dance when I was very young. I was five, or maybe four.
Nowadays when you get in my parents home, they have a piece of furniture jam-packed of pictures
of a very young me dressed up as a dancer during my school performances or the competitions in which I had taken part. I really loved dancing, but it was a huge sacrifice for me.
How can you understand, when you are so young, that the sacrifices you are doing will bear fruits someday? I don’t want to say that I was doing it to make my mother happy.
It looks like a cliché to say,but dancing was her biggest dream when she was young.
She couldn’t do it, so I did.

At the second last year of high school I had a performance to get in la Scala di Milano School.
And I won. All my family, my sister as well, was so reserved on showing emotions and feelings,
but for that occasion celebrations went on for days.
I attended my last year of school in Milan: it had been a great experience, but at the same time
it was so sad. Trainings were exhausting, and no real relationships between the fellows, only envy and jealousy. I let you imagine what it was like.

The year after I tried getting in a Swiss company. I passed the selection and I left Milan to move
to Geneva. There things were definitely better, but I was not feeling well.
I missed the chance to have a normal life. My friends from high school were all around in different cities studying at university, having the life that usually students have when they leave their parents home. They enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed life. It was unthinkable for me.

I really was in a period of crisis, which I was really convinced not to have the strength to come out from. I thought that leaving dance was the only solution. And so I did. For my family it had been a blow, and for me as well. Why did I decide to leave the thing I loved the most?
Nowadays I’m wondering about that. I’d like during the years being so courageous to keep dancing again. I’ve been a coward. It has no sense to re think about it now.

Bruno,29
I confess to have fallen in love with her from the first time I saw her.

We met at university. We were forced to attend a course where we were thought how to write
a curriculum vitae, or a summary or a presentation letter. So it was a really very boring course.
It was from 4 pm till 7 pm. Two days a week. So, sure, I was not so happy to have to attend that course.
Arrived in the classroom, I used to look for the most isolated place where to seat, and I stayed there for three hours pretending to be interested. During those three months of forced lessons, I had not known any one of my classmates: not only at the course, but the people who attended to it were
hopeless as well!

One day, I was seating in the second last line, someone touched shoulder. “Who is it?” I thought.
I was sure I had not seen anyone seating behind me. But I was wrong. I turned back, two big green eyes were staring at me, asking me some piece of information about that day’s class.
We swapped the usual information: what’s your name? What do you do? Where are you from?
And so on, and after that we spent the entire afternoon outside the class smoking cigarettes and chatting about this and that.
Some days later I invited her at home for dinner. She stood me up but I did not give up. I invited her a second time and that time she accepted. From that night I spent the three most beautiful months
of my life despite the fact that nothing actually happened between us.
I confess to have fallen in love with her from the first time I saw her.
February arrived, and the course was finished. It was a long time I had a reservation for a trip
to Paris: my girlfriend was there for work.
The night before leaving we were having dinner at my place, and what both of us were looking
forward from moths to happen, finally happened.
She knew why I had decided to go to Paris: she knew things weren’t good between my girlfriend
and I.

When I came back, ten days later, the first thing I did was to call her: I wanted to tell her about Paris and say that things had gone really bad.
But unfortunately she weren’t there waiting for me anymore.

Holley Portrait
No matter what happens, it'll be a success

No Smoking signal
An italian one

An international one

Thank you picture
Pieces of public art

Venice

Bologna

Venice

No parking here at any time. I work on Sundays, too.

Project 3
Re-design the package of the condom

When I talked to Daniel and showed him my ideas about the redesign of the condom package he wasn’t so enthusiastic. I wanted to create a very simple package on which to leave a message for a friend, for a lover, or for a stranger. At the same time I wanted to make the condom become something cool somehow, only an excuse to start a conversation, for instance.
He told me that the problem was in the explicit meaning of the condom: “I want to have sex with you”. And the work I was doing was creating a surplus of meaning.
I don’t totally agree with that. I was really looking forward to avoiding the meaning that we usually associate to condoms. Seen from the outside, the package I wanted to design would look like a sort of post-it, or a card where to write a message, any kind of message. Sure, there is a condom inside, but “I would like to have sex with you” is not the first thing that it would communicate, maybe the second, or the third, it might also have no connection to sex at all. If I write the message “Have fun” and give it to a friend afterwards, it won’t communicate “I want to have sex with you”, it would be some sort of advice, or a funny way to joke on someone’s love life.
It can be just a note at first glance, and only secondly a condom.
The condom is not the first thing I see when I look at it; first of all I see a card, a message someone sent to me to communicate something to me that could have nothing to do with sexuality at all, but having a condom inside makes it all somewhat ironic, clever, up to date, unconventional and therefore more visible.
It is like the chocolate Baci Perugina: we don’t really want the chocolate; we are looking forward to read the sentence written inside. Before the longing for chocolate, it is the sentence written inside that moves us.
At home I thought of several ways to avoid the presence of that surplus of meaning Daniel was talking about. I thought the only way was decontextualizing the condom. It could become the tag of a t-shirt, or a visit card, or even a birthday card, thought I also thought they weren’t so good and brilliant ideas.
Breaking the embarrassment, creating a sort of a joke, surprising: this is what I wanted to obtain. That is why I had the idea to make a magnet for the fridge out of a condom package.
In this particular case, the package is a mean to combine selling a condom, which is obviously something everyone might need to use nowadays, and avoiding making it look filthy, embarrassing, taboo. At the same time, I have the chance to express a personal thought in such a way that makes it more incisive, remarkable or memorable. That is why this packaging can also turn into a magnet, something that is still there as time goes by, as a landmark of a particular moment that I might wish not to forget.
After talking to Daniel again, we agreed to work on the meaning of the word “birthday”, paying particular attention to the idea of birth. As we all know, condoms prevent births. I therefore decided to play with that word to emphasize the results of celebrating a birthday with a condom as a present. What would happen if everyone decided to celebrate their birthdays by having safe sex?
There would be no births at all!
This is why my new packaging says “happy UNbirthday!”, to highlight the paradox which combining these two terms creates.

Camera strap

My Real TV Show

Untitled (or the first thing that women look in a man is eyes)

The last project
Happy UnBirthday

These are a series of "Birthday Cards" thought to be used as a birthday present: they represent the possibility to choose a day or more than one day where to celebrate a Happy UnBirthday
So, I don't really give you a card as a present, but a series of days where to celebrate your own personal feast