Jamal Sterrett, my dance is communication

The intertwining of Bruk Up dance and Asperger’s Syndrome told in the words of this inspiring British performer and the wonderful visual production of Fred MacGregor

Dance is a very powerful form of communication. It can allow us to get in touch with ourselves. It can allow us to build solid relational bridges and connections with others. Dance for Jamal Sterrett, a young visual artist and dancer from Nottingham, is all of this amplified exponentially. Because Jamal in the Bruk Up style has found a way to express his own vibrations, energy and point of view shaped by his daily relationship with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Thanks to Fred MacGregor’s visual production, divided between a photographic series and a wonderful shortfilm, and Jamal’s direct testimony, we can understand the meaning and importance of this art form and its individual and collective value, we can perceive the totalizing connection between this performer’s body, his interiority and rhythm.

How did you experience your first contact with dance?

It happened in 2013. At the time I was studying Graphic Design in college and Jay Z released a video that enchanted me. I checked all the credits of the video in order to find out who were the incredible dancers involved and discovered the Bruk Up dance community. Instantly I fell in love with this art form and decided to learn it. Since that epiphany I have continued unabated to practice in the streets, to inform myself, to do what those dancers were doing and to think like them. After some time, I also managed to get in touch with some of those performers. This year, for example, the famous Ghost came here to Nottingham from New York and we made a film together. One of my heroes slept on my sofa; it was a crazy experience, made possible by the people who surrounded me along the way.

Could you define the Bruk Up style?

Originally it was the typical dancehall style mixed with popping elements (funk and hip hop dance style based on the technique of rapid contraction and subsequent relaxation of muscles ed.). It originated in Jamaica in the 1990s, the first major exponent being George Adams, who then moved to New York and started dancing in big music videos, such as those of Busta Rhymes. Bruk Up is a style that established itself in the poverty of the New York blocks, driven by people who wanted to elevate themselves and improve their mindset. I was fascinated by the ideological basis of this dance and by its spiritual elements: it is not just a street dance practice, it is a higher art form about your body, your individuality, your philosophy.

You talk about individuality, but dance is also communication. What does this duality mean to you and what kind of feelings do you experience during your performances?

Dance is the medium that makes me connect with the world. Words create connections, but at the same time they can form prejudices and barriers. Your body movement, on the other hand, is something solid and concrete, everyone can relate without superstructures to the movement: it is truth, it is an extremely deep state, unfiltered, that allows me to present myself to the world. I believe that dance is something inherent in our DNA, it is naturally present in each of us. When I dance, spirituality, heritage, memories, ancestral sensations come together: it is as if I enter ‘in the pocket,’ a state of exploration, of presence and absence that makes me do unplanned things. Every day I wake up differently and my state of mind influences my movements. I think I have gone and continue to go through different phases, it’s something that all artists have in common a little bit. In the beginning for example everything was pure passion and exhilaration, but now I feel more like a scientist trying to study and perfect my notions and possibilities.

In your daily life, what kind of relationship is there between Asperger’s Syndrome and dance?

Dance cures Asperger’s. I’ve always had trouble talking to people, social interaction has always been a big personal dilemma. Dance has helped me connect with the world and define myself. When I dance, I feel calm, peaceful and functional for society. Asperger’s Syndrome makes me hypersensitive, and this has positives as well as negatives. Light, temperature, sounds… My brain perceives and processes these things in an extremely complex way. To make you understand this complexity, just think about how a person with Asperger’s thinks: the linear A-B-C for me turns into a continuous jump from A to I, from I to B, from B to G, and so on, and then back to the starting point. When I look at a tree outside the window I focus on an infinity of details and my brain gets lost in this intricate sum of little things. Through dance I am able to access my emotions and my inner world, I am able to express all this flow of feelings through my face. While dancing I can’t pretend or be in control, it’s all pure authenticity, it’s all pure me.

You’re undeniably a role model. How do you handle this status?

It’s good to be inspired by others, but I think people should not follow the same steps that other people take. Dance should be a personal experience, a path that teaches you to find yourself, to think about who you really are. I love different points of view; the single perspective is always fallacious. Here in Nottingham 50 percent of the community supports my vision and what I do, the other 50 percent think I’m an odd person, probably wish I would get a job…. But it is something that every artist has to face. I didn’t accept Asperger’s until recently, I only wanted people to judge me for hard work and creativity. It is crucial to control one’s narrative, especially when dealing with sensitive issues, because there is always the risk of losing something along the translation. I always wanted my artistic evolution to be as real as possible, then I understood that artistic performance requires authenticity, and I made the decision to talk about Asperger’s Syndrome.

What are your future plans?

In the future I hope that dance will make me travel to unknown countries and cities. I would like to perform in my own show and always find new opportunities. Here in Britain there are not many platforms or paths for individual talent, dance is very highly institutionalized. I hope to help a paradigm shift, because dance has to start from a personal need and style. A few fundamentals are enough, personal expression must come through freedom.

Credits: Jamal Sterrett
Photo Credits: @freddie_macgregor
Text by Gianmarco Pacione

Behind the Lights – Brazo de Hierro

From the streets of Barcelona to the peaks of the Alps: the heterogeneous cycling lens of Albert Gallego

This is a photo of a Simca 1000 taking a corner on two wheels. A photo my father took about 30 years ago. We lived in a village near Girona where they used to make rally car races. My father always liked car races, and as an amateur, he would go there to take pictures. The camera he used, a Konica T4, was always at home, and without knowing how it worked, I liked to “play with it and which one I’m still using. I wonder if playing with that camera made me years later; I would end up working as a photographer through graffiti. It was the early 2000s, and Barcelona was a war with graffiti and graffiti writers, so we would move among the abandoned factories outside the city. That’s when I started to take pictures of what we painted in those abandoned factories to have different images than just the wall. Of us painting, of the space, we were in, etc. From there, I started photographing the world of hip-hop, rap artists, breakdancers, and graffiti writers… I started to do things more focused on advertising photoshoots until the golden age of fixed gear came to Barcelona.”

Albert Gallego’s cycling compositions combine sporting tumult and sublime scenery, emotional jolts and lights capable of communicating, explaining, and empowering each moment, placing it in an inspired gallery of speed and fatigue. Known as ‘Brazo de Hierro’ because of a broken humerus, this Spanish photographer is defining contemporary cycling imagery, especially urban cycling, tying himself to iconic brands like Dosnoventa and making his lens dance between fixed gear and professional riding. His quest, which began without brakes, has continued among pro teams such as CANYON/SRAM, NESTA and EF Education-a quest that always takes on the connotations of two wheels.

“In Barcelona there was a big fixie boom at the turn of the 21st century. I immediately fell in love and joined other riders, so I started riding all over Barcelona and Catalonia. Then I got informed, studied and discovered the bike messenger concept, the heritage and the meaning of this job, which also became mine for some time. During the 2008 crisis, however, I was laid off and so I focused totally on photography, alternating between concerts, music covers, velodromes, criteriums and urban cycling. And urban cycling is synonymous with Dosnoventa. I’ve been connected to this company for a long time now, and I’m realizing more and more how it is becoming better known and more celebrated everywhere. If you have a Dosnoventa bike, you have a specific status. Whether you are in Madrid or Copenhagen, people recognize this brand and the riders connected to it. For example, I have recently been in London, working for Dosnoventa and photographing their collaboration with the clothing brand MAHARISHI. For this shooting we portraied the rider Duke Agyapong-one of the iconic riders of the best era of fixed gear. Dosnoventa is phenomenal in building distinctive imagery around its products, and I am very proud to be part of this process.”

And the imagery created by ‘Brazo de Hierro’ is a thrilling cycling sequence plan capable of combining macro and micro, details like the goosebumps of a cyclist and huge natural sets like the verdant Spanish hills. Each shot in his production manages to be synecdoche of the two-wheeled universe and its infinite reflections. Fashion, World Tour, metropolitan streets, Alps… Albert’s lens succeeds in uniting very distant scenarios-an operation made possible by his distinct aesthetic and, of course, cycling sensibility.

I want to stimulate observers to visit a place, I want to inspire them to explore with their bikes the natural sceneries that I portray and that I face while cycling. I think for example of the Pyrenees or the French Alps, where I developed the ‘Among the Giants’ project. In the midst of those giants you feel you are on another planet, where nothing is easy but everything is wonderful. At the same time I want to show the huge alternation of emotions and reactions of each cyclist. The body language, the position on the saddle…. Everything reveals the suffering, the joy, the state of mind of an athlete on two wheels. I recently started following professional teams, both men’s and women’s, and decided to respectfully show the normalcy of what many consider superhuman and focus on those moments of their performances that are often snubbed by more canonical photographers. I didn’t know how I would fare in the racing universe, because I don’t consider myself a sports photographer, but I’m enjoying it and I’m getting great feedback, which encourages me to continue on this path. Outside the world of cycling racing, when I have to work for brands of clothing, accessories, or bikes, it is closer to fashion than the competition. In racing, you must be in the right place at the right time. But in commercial shooting for brands, you must take care of every detail. Models, lighting, location, or the preparation of the whole shooting. Sometimes I have to work with models who don’t know how to ride a bike or cyclists who are models but need to know how to pose in front of the camera. You must deal with things like that to get what the brands ask for.”

The aesthetic synergy between urban and professional cycling is a new global trend that, undeniably, finds in the lens of ‘Brazo de Hierro’ one of the most prolific and convincing interpreters: a synergy that is spread out on various levels, as Albert himself confirms, telling us about many founding members of the global fixie community who, today, find themselves heading the upper echelons of major cycling companies. Mixed in his testimony is nostalgia for kaleidoscopic events such as the Red Hook Crit and realism related to a present that needs his eye to continue the fusion of metropolitan style and Great Classics, but also to narrate situations much larger than races and rides, such as the recent pandemic.

I remember with some nostalgia incredible events like the Red Hook Crit. It was the highlight of the year, it allowed me to meet and connect with fixed-gear lovers, to go to parties with them…. I am grateful to have fully experienced events like that. So many of those participants have now entered the cycling industry and are in a wide variety of roles. All these people who come from fixed gear and are currently in the cycling industry are a breath of fresh air in this sport, which was necessary. These people from the fixie community helped this overall evolution a lot, and all the ties we had formed in the past are coming back cyclically for shared projects and ideas. I am happy because my work allows me to be constantly in touch with something I love and feel an active part of, because I also ride a lot during the year. To date, my most recognized and awarded project has been the atypical ‘Life Behind Lockdown,’ in which I acted as a remote director of photography-I contacted various cyclists, professional, non-professional, or amateur, that during the lockdown couldn’t leave the house to training outside. Then, I explained to them how I needed to set up the cameras to make the series of photos I had in mind. Now I’m focusing on the cyclocross season, I may return to Belgium, and I already have several personal projects in progress, among other works, that will soon see the light.”

Photo Credits: @Brazo de Hierro.com
IG @Brazo de Hierro
Text by Gianmarco Pacione

The kite dance

MT Kosobucki’s photos tell of men becoming kites, and vice versa

It’s an ascending dance. Colorful currents against gray backgrounds. Individual bodies clinging to brave, technological kites. It’s an ascending dance. The waters ripple with every touch of the board, becoming liquid trampolines, liquid landing strips. All is silent in this anonymous lake mirror, all is rhythm and hypnosis. Some men dance suspended in mid-air, their bodies twisting and stretching on natural notes, releasing elegance, physical strength, artistry. Their lives are unknown. They may be musicians or financiers, architects or civil servants, but on this stage they play a very specific role: the role of performers. Performers for themselves. Performers for the scattered cars that pull the handbrake a few meters from shore, ready to be enchanted by this sweet, spontaneous choreography. It’s an ascending dance. Muscles tense on abstract thoughts. Evolutions and tricks painting the leaden winter canvas. It’s an ascending dance. It’s the dance of kiteboarding.

Photo Credits: MT Kosobucki
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione

Serhij Lebid’, cross country is the beginning of everything

Thanks to Karhu, we talked to the 9-time European cross country champion

Some human beings indelibly mark their sports disciplines. They are devourers of medals and records, they are athletes capable of dominating their performances, they are perfectionists motivated by a single need, a single goal that never stops being fundamental and primary: victory. Serhij Lebid’, born in Ukrainian Dnipropetrovs’k on July 15, 1975, is one of these mythical figures, of these all-powerful totems admired by every opponent and spectator. An Italian and adopted Verbania citizen, Lebid’ counts 19 consecutive appearances at the European XC Championships between 1994 and 2012. For more than two decades he literally dominated this event, finishing 12 times on the podium and winning 9 titles (including 5 consecutive). Thanks to Karhu, we met this sporting legend inside the Palace of Venaria, during the European Cross Country Championships, aka his paradise. We talked about the value of cross country and Ukrainian current events. These are his words.

“Cross country represents my whole life. It’s the beginning of everything. Children start running on these trails; that’s how I started, too. This is an indispensable foundation for road and track running. Ingebritsen’s presence at every European cross is not causal…. This phenomenon attends these competitions in order to prepare for the races he will run in the months to come, because the excellence of middle-distance running is prepared here. When I watch events like the European Cross Country Championships I get a little nostalgic and feel so many images, memories and moments come back. The mind matters as much as the body if you want to compete at this level. When you run on the track everything is the same, here it’s the opposite, you’re constantly alternating uphill and downhill: on the one hand you feel better, because you are in contact with nature, your breathing is purer and you never risk getting bored, on the other hand tracks like this force your body to enormous exertion. I still remember when I won my first European title and the following week I participated in a mud race where I finished far behind in the rankings…. You need time to understand the environmental factor, to get your muscles used to emerging from mud and tough grounds. I’m Italian by adoption, but I still live in Ukraine, where I manage middle-distance athletes for my country’s federation. It’s a very strange time, because when the war came everything became confused. Between sirens and missiles you don’t realize what’s going on, for the first period it’s like you feel the war far away from you, but then you understand and you end up getting used to something so negative… I just hope it ends as soon as possible, so many people are dying.”

Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Testo a cura di Gianmarco Pacione

Urban Explorers – Tatiana Diakova

Together with North Sails we go to Barcelona, where human bodies and seascapes come together in this painter’s canvases

Originality is a return to origins. This notion accompanied Antoni Gaudí as he imagined the forms that would compose the urban canvas of Barcelona. His fairy tale-Catalan lines insist on this concept, delicately framed by the Ramblas. Originality, intended as a communal dance of human bodies, beauty, natural landscapes and purity, is also the palette from which the Belarusian, but adopted Barcelonés painter, Tatiana Diakova draws. “Painting is a spiritual exercise. I have never considered myself a painter; I just think that beauty itself is an act that deserves a voice. My subjects are landscapes and human bodies: I love the idea of human beings becoming an extension of nature, and vice versa. The ocean and the sea represent purity for me, as does the human body, and I try to communicate these concepts through minimalism, clean colors, shapes and compositions. I was born in a landlocked country, but I used to go camping with my family every year on the coast of the Black Sea. That’s where I learned to connect with nature and the waves, falling in love with their scents and sounds, their beauty…. this is where I experienced becoming one with my surroundings for the first time.”

After a brief career as a graphic designer, Tatiana chose the lights and coastlines of Barcelona inspiration for her brushes. At the foot of the notorious Montjuïc promontory this refined cultured explorer of beauty now surveys wild shorelines with her canvases while simultaneously directing MAUI Beach CoWork, a creative oasis that transects eclecticism, yoga, SUP and environmental sustainability. “When I paint on the shore, I feel like I’m capturing something that is constantly changing, and I try to give form to this perception through the dynamism of my figures. I feel so small before the eternal wisdom of this mighty element, but I also feel like I’m part of it. As if I am the rocks, lights, sunrises and sunsets I portray, like I connect to the source of the universe. In nature I feel more like myself. I want to show the purity of these places, to absorb it. In Barcelona everything is close to the sea, it only takes me a few minutes to get there and I often do it with the other MAUI Beach CoWork creatives. We dive into the water on a weekly basis with our SUP boards to recharge and, at the same time, see what’s going on. The construction of villas and hotels, pollution and the sprawl of chiringuitos are really detrimental trends, but Catalonia is doing a good job keeping it them at bay. Our community has several annual events dedicated to collecting plastic and waste: we know it’s not enough, but have to start somewhere. However, I also believe that art is an extremely powerful tool for promoting marine conservation.”

According to the delicate words of this artist who grew up thumbing through Alessandro Baricco’s ‘Oceano Mare,’ a novel where a man named Plasson tirelessly paints with salt water at the foot of the ocean, it is and always will be beauty that changes individual and collective consciences; beauty that will establish a new, healthy relationship with the marine environment. “Through art I educate myself and try to educate others. I am convinced that art can teach us get in touch with the natural elements. As I’m speaking, so many images come to my mind: gigantic whales, people swirling through the deep sea, blooms of jellyfish…. A sense of harmony pervades me that’s guided by the photographs, films and paintings I’ve enjoyed. Then I think of diametrically opposed images, of polluted beaches ruined by human irresponsibility, lost paradises. Every art form raises questions and reflections, and calls people to act. Every virtuous action has a positive impact. My philosophy is encapsulated in this process, in this belief: beauty is so strong that it drives people to change, and I want to continue to paint that beauty.”

Credits: @diakova_art
@North Sails
Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by : Gianmarco Pacione

Franco Arese and Maurizio Damilano, cross country is forever

Two Italian athletics legends explain the importance of the European Cross Country Championships in Turin

The European Cross Country Championships 2022 brought together in the elegant and welcoming Reggia di Venaria two faces that have never stopped living, embodying and passing on the beauty of athletic sacrifice. They are Franco Arese and Maurizio Damilano. They are two rectors of the Italian sports universe. They are two minds, two bodies, two souls who have dedicated and continue to dedicate their existences to athletics.

“That’s how I started running, in the Cuneo countryside and in the student championships,” confides Arese, first an international-level middle distance runner and European 1500-meter champion in Helsinki ’71, then a successful entrepreneur and now chairman of Karhu, “Cross-country is crucial, especially for middle distance runners. Running in the mud is something different, it teaches you how to overcome moments of crisis that you can find again on the track. Cross fortifies your mind, because everything here is not nice and clean, the uncertainties are endless…. Think for example of Jakob Ingebritsen, Olympic champion in the 1500 meters in Tokyo. He just won his sixth consecutive European gold on this track-this is proof of how propaedeutic this sport is.”

“It’s a great training ground for building athletes,” continues Damilano, a marcher who was Olympic gold medalist in Moscow ’80 and two-time world champion in the 20km and is now a prominent adviser to the Italian Athletics Federation, “Middle distance runners build their results with cross, but this sport serves above all as a starter for many children who encounter athletics in school competitions and fall in love with it. XC also touches on a key issue for today’s society, environmental sustainability. It is a discipline that allows people to run and move in nature, to make the best use of the environment.” “This place is a former hunting reserve, and I think it’s a fantastic setting for an event like this,”Arese echoes him as he looks at the magnificence of the Reggia di Venaria, “Usually XC races are run in the countryside, in anonymous areas where this architectural and monumental contour is not present…. Here, however, human art blends with the environment and with running. I have a feeling that this scenery completes the competition and makes it fascinating primarily for the athletes, but also for the more than ten thousand people who have flocked to admire their performances.”

The eyes of these former athletes light up before young strides, triggering a dual process of identification and desire. Whole decades of visceral love for athletics are reflected in Ingebritsen’s legs, as is the desire for the development of this noble, yet extremely popular sporting universe. “It’s an honor for me to support this event,” says Arese, “And it’s an honor to represent Karhu and its history closely connected to so many legends of athletics, such as the Flying Finns or the 15 gold medals this brand dressed in Helsinki 1952. A few years ago I decided to relaunch Karhu, it was a matter of respect for a piece of sports history. At the same time, it is crucial to relaunch cross country, and this public setting shows that we are on the right track.” “When I participate in these competitions I relive moments from my career,” Damilano concludes, “Italian athletes, their results and their achievements take me back in time…. They make me think of the self-esteem and awareness I gained from achieving results like the gold medal in Moscow. I have left track 30 years ago, but I have not left athletics. For this event I took on the role of CEO of the organizing and coordinating committee, siding with President Lucchi. This extraordinary setting and this crowd confirm to me how increasingly necessary it is for athletics to become a platform for mass inclusion.”

Credits: KARHU
Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by: Gianmarco Pacione

Urban Explorers – Meloko

Together with North Sails we listen to the Marseille vibes of this DJ and producer

Marseille is the voice of the Mediterranean. Its waves compose rhymes in many tongues, verses that, for centuries, have shaped the natural cathedrals of the Calanques, like the fluid melting pot of the Vieux Port. Meloko is the sound of this city, its swirling cosmopolitanism, its lights that blend sky and sea, urban chaos and coastal nirvana. DJ and producer, Meloko’s rhythms are the soundtrack of polished Provençal sunsets, the melodic transposition of breezes, diverse cultures, and lapping waves. “I came to Marseille from the French hinterland, from a small town near Avignon, and I was blown away. Marseille is its sea. The Mediterranean its defining feature; what makes it unique. Everything here is so intense and dynamic, but at the same time laid back. It all comes from the sea, and my music reflects that deep connection. Every day I walk along the waterfront to get to my studio. While I’m producing, my windows look over this incredible, bright blue vastness…. That’s why you can hear the Mediterranean inside my music.”

‘Azzur,’ the record label founded by Meloko, is also a clear reference to this Mediterranean synergy. Its airy house vibes, contaminated with African and Arab echoes, flood Marseille’s clubs and beaches, moving the glistening bodies of thousands of young people and, at the same time, educating them about safeguarding the marine environment. “I formed a duo with Konvex Guilhem; we call ourselves ‘Palavas,’ after a traditional fishing village near Montpellier. In the summer, I often play on the beaches, especially in Le Cabane des Amis. The owner of the club have established a zero-tolerance policy towards pollution and I’m happy to support it. Anyone who throws a cigarette, leaves a plastic bottle on the ground, or does anything to disrespect nature is immediately expelled from the event. I’m proud of this decision, because this issue is important to me. I’m also working with the association ‘Clean my Calanques,’ which safeguards the Calanques: they are wonderful places, the spirit of Marseille, but they are also filled with plastic and trash. It’s sad. I think we need to educate people and raise awareness; I try to do that with my music, and the new generations are getting the message. Lots of young people take part in ‘Clean my Calanques,’ but everyone should carve out some time to help the sea.”

A winter dip. A game of pétanque played with red wine and warm smiles. A DJ-set that transposes Marseille’s colors into notes, enveloping listeners in long contemplative trances. Meloko has found his oasis and muse in this coastal metropolis, among the narrow alleys of the old Le Panier district he has transformed from an Economics student to an international musician, forging a bond destined to last. “I will never leave Marseille. I lived in other European cities for short periods, but I missed the Marseille atmosphere. Away from the lights of Provence, the rhythms of Marseille, these beaches, life always seems so different and gray…. I’m going to carry on making my music, inspired by the Mediterranean and this unique city. At the same time, I’ll redouble my commitment to protecting the marine environment and local beaches. I want to be a part of this virtuous process and contribute with my tracks, events and concerts. Finally, I hope that ‘Clean my Calanques’ eventually becomes even more than an association: it should become a call to action, a goal for all of us.”

Credits: @melokomuisc
@North Sails
Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by Gianmarco Pacione

The running wonder of the European Cross Country Championships

Together with Karhu, we reached the Royal Palace of Venaria Reale and admired the European cross country elite

“If you see Turin and you don’t see the Venaria, you see the mother and not the daughter,” goes an old Savoyard saying. And the best performers of continental cross country saw, but also tasted with their own stride the vibrations of this UNESCO heritage site. Because the SPAR European Cross Country Championships 2022 was a celebration of beauty, of the relationship between top-level running and architectural-naturalistic wonder.

A simple visual postcard is enough to describe the uniqueness of this event: just imagine lightning-fast bodies invading the Mandria Castle, passing through the striking Carriage Gallery of the Royal Apartments, then exiting through the monumental gateway of the Honour Courtyard and launching themselves on rapid descents and dizzying vertical walls…

Elegance and exhaustion. Grass, ice and red carpet. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant highlights of this picturesque ode to cross country: the rhythmic and unstoppable progression of the almighty Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, sublimated into his sixth consecutive European gold; Gaia Sabbatini’s heart-pounding comeback and exhausted embrace with all the other members of the mixed Italian relay team (Pietro Arese, Federica Del Buono and Yassin Bouih); the final sprint of the senior women’s race, where another Norwegian excellence Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal bent the resistance of Germany’s Klosterhalfen; the young queen of Italian middle-distance running Nadia Battocletti, who was able to exalt thousands of Azzurri fans by winning the Under 23 gold medal. Britons Will Barnicoat and Charles Hicks then sent a message for the future from across the Channel by winning the Under 20 and Under 23 men’s races. Finally, the Under 20 women’s title went to Spain’s Maria Forero.

We captured this sunny day of athletic excellence with our lenses, thanks to the support of event sponsor Karhu. Here we propose only a part of the photo gallery that we will show you in the coming days: images that will be accompanied by interviews, testimonials and focus dedicated to the most democratic discipline in the world.

Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by Gianmarco Pacione

Welcome to the Europe of cross country

Thanks to Karhu we will portray cross country’s noble efforts at the European Championships in Turin

“Cross country was a wonderful life thrill and it meant sporting truth to me”. The words of two-time world champion Paola Pigni encapsulate the essence of cross country. Thanks to Karhu we’ll have the opportunity to portray this magical sporting universe: we’ll do it in Turin, in the sublime natural setting of La Mandria park, where this weekend we’ll cover the 2022 European Championships. Mud, cold and fatigue will accompany editorial and visual testimonies of the best continental athletes of this discipline, showing us the most different nuances of cross country and its protagonists. Follow our social channels to discover images and thoughts connected to a sport that has continued to write pages of athletic mythology for centuries. Because cross country has never stopped being as democratic as it’s fascinating. Because cross country has never stopped representing noble sporting truth.

Text by Gianmarco Pacione

Urban Explorers – Giovanni Barberis

Waves, films and environmental sensitivity. We meet this Italian filmmaker along with North Sails

The sound of the ocean has infinite notes. Sweet and quiet, contemplative and introspective notes. Notes that soothe metropolitan frenzy, alleviate it, and echo from the vast expanses of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea to channel into unexpected places, as the Naviglio, embedded in Milan’s urban fabric, as the shady aquatic belly of the Darsena, and the creative currents of the filmmaker and director Giovanni Barberis. Following the award-winning productions ‘Peninsula’ ‘Nausica’ and ‘Onde Nostre’, docufilms dedicated to the Italian surfing scene that he produced with a collective of inspired Italian aquatic creatives, ‘Ogni giorno ci penso’ is Barberi’s latest venture. ‘Ogni giorno ci penso’ (‘Every day I think about it’) is also the unintentional definition of the undisguised relationship between Sbrokked, his nickname, and water. “I have an extremely intimate connection with seas and oceans. When I think about it, the first image I see is my sister and I playing on the beaches of Bergeggi, Liguria, and being scolded by our mother. Before arriving in Milan, I lived with my family in Piemonte, and for years my only thought was to reach the nearest lineup and get on the surfboard. I went south on the Ligurian coast almost daily. Several times, it happened to me to travel alone or simply with my dog. Until I was 30 years old, I had the priceless opportunity to travel. The priority was always to get in the waves: from Hawaii to Morocco, from northern Spain to the small town of Varazze… I always had the feeling of being deeply comfortable in the sea. Water makes everything appear intimate. It shapes your way of being and pushes you to tell.”

Giovanni Barberis’ story runs through the flow of his films, as it does for his own skin. A broken board, the sign of a serious injury of the past, the outline of a sole, the tail of a whale… Walking through Milan’s waterways, the legs of this artist give a glimpse of self-made tattoos. They are impressions, statements of a primordial synergy with the ocean, which is fruitful for his life, his profession, and his sensitivity. As he observes the plastic wrecks deposited in the disfigured aquatic veins of Milan, Giovanni lets flow out a flood of complaints and information, silent personal initiatives, and noisy visual splinters: elements kept together by the common thread of marine conservation. “During one of my projects I was lucky enough to interview an oceanographer. He educated me about the dynamics of marine pollution and regeneration; it was shocking. By touching upon topics such as collective consumerism or individual inattention, I realized how much human beings are to blame on this maelstrom of environmental destruction. I always acted with the greatest respect for marine nature. I think it’s a kind of care which belongs to every lover of this element. It happened to me millions of times to take long walks on the beaches I was welcomed to in my business or leisure trips and pick up infinite bags full of plastic thrown away by strangers. In the Maldives I had the opportunity to observe a trash island; it was shocking. I never bound myself to specific associations, but I think artistic medium is crucial to nurture a diverse sensibility on this issue, especially for younger generations. In many of my productions, the ocean has been and continues to be a central subject, and I think that filming the course of a wave or a storm can convey a sense of magic and purity that needs to be preserved. I hope that these images will raise awareness and will force the viewer to reflect on concepts such as the respect and love for an element that is essential, but constantly and seriously endangered. I also gave space to many testimonials from people who live symbiotically with oceanic wonder, and who decided to inhabit it for their entire existence. Their words are another very powerful tool for changing the common thinking”.

Revolution can come across painful awareness and even more painful detachment. Because being true to your values, as Giovanni Barberis explains us as he walks on the grey concrete of Milan, is the most meaningful thing a man in perpetual listening to the sea can do. This is the reason for a working interlude that, for some time, will see him crossing the waves almost only for personal films and abandoning larger productions, that often aims at an exploitation of surfing art and its imagery. “Surfing is my passion and, over time, it became my job. Although it’s a necessity, I decided to take a break from this universe, because I hated the idea of exploiting something I always perceived as spiritual. I was emotionally saturated. I’ll resume it in the future. In the meantime, I’m going on living this dualism between the sea and the metropolis: it is a balance I can bear, because as soon as I can I escape to some beach. I’m also thinking about moving to the seaside. This thought stays with me and it always will. Sooner or later, it’ll come true”.

Credits: @gio_sbrokked
@North Sails
Photo Credits: Rise Up Duo
Text by Gianmarco Pacione