a documentary on radical landscapes traces the design scene of florence and the legacy of gruppo 9999
THE RADICAL DESIGN MOVEMENT OF Florence in the 1960s
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the city of Florence was the epicenter of Italian Radical Design, one of the most important avant-garde movements in the history of architecture and design. design. The Florentine radical scene consisted of pioneering collectives of young architects, most of whom had been educated at the University of Florence. Under the names of Archizoom (more here), Superstudio (more here and here), UFO, Gruppo 9999 and Zziggurat, these influential groups experimented with utopian ideas addressing the social and political issues of the time, and ultimately proposing radical new ways of living through their manifestos and conceptual designs.
Offering a look at the experimental art and design scene that was Florence in the 1960s, “Radical Landscapes” follows filmmaker Elettra Fiumi as she embarks on a quest to uncover the multimedia archives she has inherited from his late father, Fabrizio Fiumi, after his death in 2013. Along with Giorgio Birelli, Carlo Caldini and Paolo Galli, Fabrizio Fiumi founded Gruppo 9999 in 1968, one of Florence’s lesser known yet most important radical collectives . The group won MoMA’s ‘Italy: The New Domestic Landscape’ in 1972, while a few years ago, in 1969, they founded the revolutionary Space Electronic, a multimedia and psychedelic space near the Santa Maria Novella station which was a school of architecture by day, and a nightclub by night. “I couldn’t believe how the 9999 works and the radical architecture movement were so unknown, except in certain academic circles related to architecture, art and sustainability – I receive almost daily requests from images and archival references. To date, most of the 9999 works have remained largely unpublished,’ the documentary’explains the director. “It’s hard to believe that a search for images on Google yields so few results when the archives are so rich. It was my duty to bring this band to the world and, hopefully, to inspire others to take a radical approach to understanding and solving the issues we face about our environment today.images: stills from the movie ‘Radical Lanscapes’ unless otherwise noted
courtesy of Elettra Fiumi and Fiumi Studios
‘RADICAL LANDSCAPES’ — an intimate FILM on gruppo 9999
Premiere on November 13, 2022, Radical landscapes retraces the director’s journey in discovering and digitizing her father’s multimedia archives, without knowing what he had really devoted his life to. “With the death of my father, Fabrizio Fiumi, I inherited the archives of his radical life which took place before my birth, of which I was unaware of the existence”, said Elettra Fiumi.“By including historical and personal layers, I wanted to bring to life this complex and exciting time, and the thinking of these visionary architects while democratizing the discourse around architecture through an intimate and feminine gaze – my own.”
Within Gruppo 9999, Fabrizio Fiumi experimented with an architectural form capable of merging the potential of electronic media with pop iconography, underground culture and rock music, working to establish a personal economic independence in which she could be applied. Meanwhile, his daughter knew her father as the “subtitle guy”, having invented the device that produces the subtitles that scroll below the screen on an electric board. She also knew her father as the founder of the Florence Film Festival, which she would be drawn to as a child. She was never aware of the extent of her legacy and how she would honor it in the future. Fiumi begins the adventure in this documentary, interviewing her family, former band members and more, uncovering historical stories, as well as those closer to home. ‘I spent a long, chaotic and complex time gathering my father’s archives from different places around the world and trying to find all the materials and images,’ she notes. “Then I digitized it. And then I kept finding more stuff. Slowly I started to piece it together and make sense of it. I really didn’t know where I was going during the whole first part of the filmmaking process. I followed the leads I found and let my journalistic curiosity and grief guide me. Much was later built into the mount itself. I had tried writing and re-writing the treatment, but it was just beginning to breathe in the edit.
Gruppo 9999 was founded in Florence in 1968 by Giorgio Birelli, Carlo Caldini, Fabrizio Fiumi and Paolo Galli
Almost 10 years in the making, this archival compilation is presented in a style that reflects the collagistic approach of Gruppo 9999. For this, Fiumi collaborated with duo Fossick Project, who created animated collages that reflect his inner journey through the 9999 works. Eventually, she also created other animations with Alessandro Santillo and Milly Miljkovic. “Inspired by the style of 9999, this film follows a collagist method: the editing mixes the weaving of a vast archive, contemporary sequences and collage-like animations where I “travel” through the works of 9999. Acoustically, the film is accompanied by compositions from the 60s and 70s, and a sound design composed of alternating naturalistic and technological sounds. In this way, I hoped to recreate a relationship between memory and radical avant-garde ideals about the future. For me, it was as if the journey of mourning blurred the boundaries of past, present and future; they coalesced in a magical-realistic atmosphere, no doubt a similar approach the Radicals had in thinking about solutions for our future. The film’s layered collage style (both in the edit and the animations) was meant to convey that vibe.
Roofs of Florence
Vegetable garden of Gruppo 9999