Here I Go Again: Fendi Experiments

Here I go again on my own,

going down the only road I've ever known . . .


Ever since I saw Fondazione Fendi's latest experiment Transit of Venus, I've been singing Whitesnake's anthem "Here I Go Again" (Saints & Sinners, 1982).  I don't know why I correlate an '80s anthem to a 35-minute performance piece about an astronomical rarity, but I think I can make it work.

Since 2005, Fondazione Fendi has been hosting annual, often times semi-annual, experiments [1] in Rome's Antica Mercato del Pesce (near Circo Massimo) --  in other words, semi-private art events where a very well dressed audience is indundated, bombarded and sometimes oversaturated by the aggressive, shocking, offensive and beautiful of sound, images, film and live performance [2].  And I love them. Waiting in line outside the Antico Mercato del Pesce is like watching a very slow moving fashion show.  It's a Fendi event so yes, everyone dresses amazingly, and may just be the only time to see the Roman Fabulous wait in line.

Inevitably, Fendi's experiments feature projected paintings of women [3], nudity, live nude women and overt or subtle references via imagery and performance to creation/procreation/abortion.  However, it should be noted that Fendi is definitely not femme-centric as equal visibility is given to men- nude or not, athletes, actors and artists alike. This year's Transit of Venus seems to be slightly more femme-centric than past experiments as the performance is inspired by the celestial path of Venus [hint, hint] as it passes between the sun and the earth in one of its rare transits.  As usual, Fendi (thanks to curator Raffaele Curi) takes us down a very obscure path [4]  .  Without giving away the plot, planetary analogies come to life in the form of balls [5].

  1. Whitesnake's song title "Here I Go Again" literally defines the frequency of Fendi's Experiment- once or sometimes twice a year, and hopefully "again"
  2. Whitesnake's epic video for "Here I Go Again" featured the enviable performance of scantily clad Tawny Kitaen flipping back walkovers atop the hoods of two parked Jaguars (automobile). Back in the day, they [Kitaen and video] were considered shocking, aggressive and beautiful.
  3. see above
  4. The lyrics to "Here I Go Again" are about the unknown path that our unsung hero is about to undertake, and just like the drifter,  the audience doesn't know where they are going and keeps "searching for an answer" to Curi's impossible-to-predict experiments.
  5. Much like the balls and orbs that run rampant through the octagonal marketplace,  our balladeer must have a lot of balls to "walk along the lonely street of his dreams".

From April 16 through 22, 2012.  For more information, please take a look at my piece about Transit of Venus for New York Times InTransit blog.