Alice took part in the ZOOart 2010 Festival in Cuneo, NW Italy, 1st – 4th July 2010. This is the diary she made about the experience, unabridged.




The morning is horrible and there is not enough snooze time. The transfer bus is scheduled for 06:15 and I grab a double espresso and wish there was time for the buffet breakfast which looks great. Antonio is at reception looking red-eyed also and tells me his air con broke and the night was awful for him.

At the airport, we already have our boarding passes so go straight to the gate which is the same as the gate last night. In the cafe I see some people drinking the Paulaner Hefe Weizen which seems like a good idea but I opt for coffee instead as I have meetings later.

A plane, a train and a bus, I get home at 11:00 and wish I were still in Cuneo.


04/07/10 continued

At the airport there is time to kill so I test the €200 beauty products and check out duty free. I nearly buy some coffee sambuca before remembering that sambuca is only a good idea at the time and is evil. Instead I buy some cinnamon grappa and some 5 year old balsamic vinegar.

The flight is delayed and we finally board 30 minutes behind schedule. On board the captain explains there is thunderstorms over the Alps and we are rerouteing via Switzerland and awaiting a slot. Finally we depart and our new eta is 21:20 which leaves 20 minutes before my connecting flight departs and based on the outbound flights there will be a transfer bus and the gate will be at the other side of the airport.

On descent, many passengers are asking cabin crew about transfers. I ask about Manchester and they say they have no news from the ground but will inform that they have us arriving. In arrivals I go straight to the departure gate to find I have missed the flight by 3 minutes and the captain will not reopen the doors. Damn German efficiency. If this were Italy, the plane would not be here yet. The Lufthansa staff book me into the airport hotel and rebook my flight. They ask another Torino-Manchester passenger on the same delayed and missed flight if we want a double bed which embarrasses him. He is Antonio from Latvia studying his phd in Chemistry at Manchester University on conference in Torino and we navigate the expansive airport together.

Eventually, we find the shuttle bus, check in at the hotel and go straight to the restaurant which has stayed open for all the Lufthansa passengers. The buffet meal courtesy Lufthansa is actually really good and I try to eat 4 courses with a groß bier and head to the room to lie down and digest. The shower is great and I put the air con right down to 17 to attempt to counter the heat and humidity. It’s raining outside and I wonder if the thunderstorms will move North.

There is a minibar but no beer which is probably a good thing at €3,20 for a 330ml bottle. I put the TV channels on and find a Français Arte channel with Deutsch subtitles. It has a piece on the design of pens and then a short film about Nigerian identity. I set my alarm for 05:45 and put the light out.

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In the morning, I pack my stuff up and wrap the olive oil and olive paste up well in clothes and meet the Sardinians in the living room who are ready to leave for their daytrip and we say our goodbyes. Alfredo asks if I want a lift with my Massive Suitcase which is really great as it is still so heavy after relinquishment of the speakers. Before we go, Alfredo takes the new beer barrels out of the car boot and he gives me first taste of a local brew from a microbrewery and it’s really good, quite like a mild ale.

We go to Via Roma for one last look at the Incitta works as I missed the bubblewrap fashion line which sounds intriguing. The cardboard piece in daylight looks quite different. The bubblewrap bikini, hat, shoes and clothes are cool and Michela previously told me the artist did a performance on the first night so this is the remaining expo. Alfredo shows me the red light district which is closed up except for one older woman who I’m not sure is there for business or not.

Alfredo drops me at the train station and I get my ticket. The train is not for 50 minutes so I head to the station restaurant for coffee and snack. It looks like there is a full 5 course menu for €12 but instead I order pasta e insalata mista which is simple and tasty.

The Torino train is departing from platform 4 which is down 2 flights of stairs and up 1 which is no simple feat with my luggage. The journey goes quickly and in Torino it’s baking hot. I go to Platta Cafe Via Emmanuale II which I think is on route to the GAM. After 45 minutes in the heat and recaffeinated, I set off again and find the GAM at the end of Via Emmanuale II. The luggage lockers are too small for the suitcase so it goes in the backroom and I go to the air conditioned first floor. It’s the museum collection curated thematically and seems to be dumbed down a little for the presumingly ignorant public. There is however a good mix of contemporary modern and traditional, plenty sculpture, with many Italian artists representing and some familiar international artists. The museum feels quite spacious and homely. There’s 2 pieces made by short pen strokes which reminds me of the piece Richard put in Contents May Vary Issue 3 so I text him Dadamania.

On floor 2 there’s lots of figurative work and a room which seems dedicated to nude children. Back down stairs I go to the basement which is the guest curated Underground Project containing a neat contemporary show Permanent Mimesis starting with a Roman Ondak piece in the foyer. Downstairs in the basement also there’s a video room and archive with the film being screened showing a man taking long handstands in a museum setting. I pick up a copy of MAG#0 and collect my luggage and set off for the bus stop. At the bus stop there’s lots of people very sweaty from the heat and I pick up some German conversations and suspect they are on the same flight. I buy a mandarin sorbet which is a hyperreal orange flavour and gives me brain freeze.


03/07/10 continued

Back in Cuneo I go back to the house and shower and change. I drink Campari and soda in little bottles with the Sardinians which is not as nice as it sounds (the drink) and it leaves an odd taste in my mouth. Eduardo shows me his and Andrea’s band the Tomato Groovers on youtube and although the picture wont stream the sound is fine and it is groovy.

The Sardinians invite me to dinner and Luigi makes frittata and there’s more cheese! Mozzarella, a blue cheese and a smoked cheese. I meet Michelangelo and his son and learn that Michelangelo is a chess champion who earns his living teaching others. Eduardo and Andrea have made a large painting which I say reminds me a little of Basquiat.

After dinner we go to the park and I complete another bird watching book for aliment(e)azione. Michela sees me and asks me how I’ve found the trip. I tell her I’ve loved it and want to come back and will think of a project to propose for next year. I will miss the last night which is and a shame and I arrange to leave the speakers and mp3 players to be posted back later. The live music performance is too loud for the Sardinaians and we take a walk down Via Roma where the Incitta works are. I see the cardboard piece which I like a lot, especially what I think is a traffic cone made out of a pizza box, but Michela tells me later its not meant to be and traffic cones don’t exist in Italy. It’s a structure representing stalactites in the mountains and the artist chose the bicycle boxes to recycle in his work because of the man-on-bicycle symbol looking much like the man-recycling-rubbish-in-bin symbol rather than referencing the international cycle race in the region tomorrow.

Another artist has positioned what looks from a distance like handcrafted ladders going from one balcony to another. I have seen earlier but see again 6 vinyl banners of graphics such as a sofa, some gardening tools and a cupcake. Michela tells me the project is the artist asking people what makes a house a home and the work makes more sense. It probably said this in the brochure which I failed to translate.

We walk back to the park through fairylight lit streets with gelati cafes crowded with young and old. Italian children and up and about with their families til quite late and event eh tired young ones are very well behaved.

We walk along the park road and a bar is in full Saturday night swing with old skool house remixes and 90s pop.

Back at the house we drink some more birra and sit outside but have to be molto piano as the woman living upstairs gets very angry at late night noise.

We make some comparisons and differentiations between Italy and England, talk about family, next travels, etc. We find out everybody’s ages and I think I must look old for my age. Elise is 37 and doesn’t look a day older than 30. Andrea is the bambini of the group which makes a nice change from it being me.



I go to the train station and buy a return to Mondovì. It changes at Fossano and doesn’t take to long. The first train is a double decker with air con and I sit upstairs and video the journey through the pretty countryside and agriculture to Fossano. At Fossano I take some passport photos in the booth as it’s only €3. My hair is loosely ties back and shows an odd bumpy silhouette in the photo. My bare shoulders look huge and wide and dominate the frame.

The train to Mondovì is not air conditioned and is sweltering. The little fan from Budapest gives little respite. Off the train and into Mondovì I have no map so just guess left and take the meandering road. I find a bazaar and browse the cheap plasticky poorly cut garments and nearly by some turquoise Burberry-esue open toed wedges for €5 but decide they’re not worth the luggage weight for the novelty.

Next is a grocers and there is a selection of local produce goodies from Alba. I buy some olive oil and black olive paste that will make excellent snacks with Matt. I also buy a bottle of vino rosso as a meagre offering to tonight’s party.

When I pay I see some little rubber watches that I have seen on sale internationally and ask for a black one in pidgin Italian and wonder if there is a function to change the time on such a simple piece of technology.

I take a road which curves round with an awesome view over the town with a backdrop of misty mountains and the viaduct. I take some video but start to think that this road is maybe not for pedestrians and trace back to the junction and take the steep road down to the town.

I find the main shopping street and wander along hoping to find some nice leather sandals that are not €60 even alle saldo but fail. I do find the cathedral though and it’s beautiful.

It hits 4pm and I think the sun is not too hot to sit in and find a bar with a veranda and order vino bianco frizzante. I presume the locals must think I am mad to choose the unshaded part of the veranda and maybe they are right as it is still very warm and the sun brings out my mosquito bites nicely.

Back to the train station and home to Cuneo via Fossano. There is a delay of 25 minutes of my connecting train so I pop into the train bar which is awesome. I can have prosecco normale for €1 a glass or the posh stuff for €2. Pushing the boat out, I go for the posh stuff and find a seat which is in the smoking and football room. I can’t see who’s playing or understand the commentary but the décor is more interesting anyway.