* The following text is an excerpt from an interview made in 2016. The original version is published in PANORAMA (DIORAMA editions).
NO TEXT is an art collective including Ignoro Disoncelli (Milan, 1989) and Alvin Sonic (Milan, 1990). Among their productions, the NO TEXT scarves and GROSSO MONDO magazine.
Alvin Sonic and Ignoro Disoncelli a.k.a NO TEXT. Can you provide us with your definition of Veritierismo (‘Veritierismo’ origins from italian term ‘vero’, ‘true’ and could be translated to ‘Truthfulism’, e.d.), and also in relation to the categories reality/fiction?
Lo stile veritiero is an authentic fiction. Veritieri want to confuse those who, until now, have based their judgements on the aesthetic appearance of what they have before them. Now I am in front of you, look at me: TVB (‘Ti Voglio Bene’, italian acronym for ‘I Care About You’, e.d.). Veritierismo, then, promulgates optimism and vitality. In a world full of appearances passed off as normality, il veritiero wants to be more authentic, more genuine, more real than the world around him/her. We do not care about following a coherent stylistic line. Consistency is an inhuman concept. Il veritiero thinks, so he/she is not. We are convinced that any absolute truth is a lie. The truth exists only in the eyes of the observer of reality.
You each have different training and professionalism. You both like to be behind and in front of the lens. Can you tell us about your attitudes?
We can work together because we have different training, in a sense we complement each other. I (Ignoro) studied theatre for several years and this has given me the confidence to use my body shamelessly, whilst Alvin is closer to the visions he has and can freeze them using image editing programs which I do not know how to use and have never opened in my life! We both love chaos and as you rightly point out, we want to be both directors and actors at the same time. It is not a matter of vanity, on the contrary, we are against self-respect. Self-regard is a prison. Our ironic vein is evident but we cannot stop oursleves from laughing at the absurdity and the contradictions that life offers us.
In the summer of 2015 you published a magazine called Grosso Mondo, in particular it included a picture story, filmed here in your studio – what is it about?
Grosso Mondo is a magazine inspired by Italian consumer magazines in which we have represented our vision of the Milanese underground in a pop key. ‘Think Global, Act Local’ is our motto – prompted by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt – and this is why we chose to create this issue only with people living in Milan, our city. We want to be able to publish one issue a year, without ever becoming an editorial group. Our inspiration is the Bible. The picture story is titled Battesimo (Baptism) and is the first episode of Saro ‘the Spiritual guru.’ It was written and directed by Ignoro Disoncelli and is the story of Alvar Aalto entering the Spiritual Club. I (Alvin) edited the work and I played the lead role: Alvar Aalto.
The scarves NO TEXT 2016, were launched at T.A.M. and then blatantly copied by fashion designer Christian Dada. But the suburban aesthetic, even if the stadium is of little interest to you, was a big hit. Can you tell us what happened?
Inspired by football fans and perhaps fascinated by the wild-eyed fanatic union that unites the supporters of a particular team, in 2015 we designed the first scarf together with Emiliano Bergøe. Violence, like hatred, is the emphatic confirmation of the existence of love. Many conflate lo Stile Veritiero with a low-brow aesthetic, from the suburbs. They are not mistaken, but we are tired of wearing Adidas tracksuits, now that we work we dress like gentlemen. This year, we re-designed the scarf and shortly after its release at T.A.M. a friend sent us a photo of the Paris fashion show by Christian Dada to let us know that we had blatantly copied the scarf. It made us smile. Stile Veritiero is the only style movement that does not distinguish between original and counterfeit.
Here on the table we have various publications, including an article published by Cronaca Vera that speaks about you in sensationalist way. It is interesting to see how others, and the media, interpret you in their own way. What does it mean to be veritieri? And how would you like to rework Cronaca Vera?
Being veritieri means something today and another thing tomorrow. What you say is right anyway. Lo Stile Veritiero is a film that we are shooting with the video cameras of others, the iphones of others, the eyes of others. When number 2265 of Cronaca Vera came out with section by Philip Tonello on the Veritiero movement, we bought 30 copies to make a bootleg version of the original. We re-worked it, inserting other pages with our content and finally we numbered it and screen-printed on the cover. We will present the project some time in April 2016.
Diso can you tell us about your practice ‘of giving life’ and of interpreting different characters from time to time, in reference to Saro and Loris Gentile?
Willingly! Saro is a spiritual leader who sends messages that are full of positivity to the youth. He produces bottles of water with magical powers, illegally mixing two different sacred sources: the fonts of the Duomo and the Piazza Gae Aulenti fountain just below the Unicredit Tower. For Saro, the skyscrapers are modern churches to be liberated from the merchants of our time who have invaded them: the money dealers, bankers and entrepreneurs. Whereas Loris Gentile is the opposite. He is a borderline figure who sings love songs. He is a failure before he even begins his career and this is why his message manages to win the heart of many women behind bars. He performs for few in the provinces and his shows end up in brawls.
The IRON GIVE-A WhatsApp Megachat is a very large group of people who sometimes do not even know each other, who post audio, video or images in accordance with only one rule: NO TEXT. Alvin, can you tell us how the chat began?
IRON GIVE-A is a mega-chat. A.A.V.V. is a Whatsapp group. There is no censorship or copyright and users are free to post whatever they want and, in turn, change the posts of others. I opened the mega-chat IRON GIVE-A in May 2015 – I have collected more than 50,000 posts and I have counted about 300 different users within it. Some have only survived a couple of days and then there are those who, after it came out, have posted every day from day one; for example, now there are 92 of us. IRON GIVE-A has developed existing connections, and I myself have now become friends with people that I met thanks to this channel and there are others who I don’t know. +39 331.4860583