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On September 27, Marcelo Burlon will broadcast a special digital project named “C2C Festival x Fundación Marcelo Burlon - Primera Edition Festival.” Filmed in Ibiza during the pandemic under the direction of the London-based digital creative Weirdcore, the project was curated by the Venezuelan experimental multi-hyphenate performer Arca. The euphoric performance features guest performances by Physical Therapy and Total Freedom, providing a new look at avantgarde pop music in a new music festival experience based in cultural independence.
Created in collaboration with C2C Festival, the film provides a look at the event held at Marcelo Burlon’s private villa in Ibiza, surrounded by installations, sculptures, and artworks, which only 40 guests attended in person. Immersed in this environment, attendees traded their phones for personal cameras handed, which Burlon directed them to use throughout the night. At the end of the four-hour experience, the film was compiled into a one-hour project documenting varying perspectives of the night.
“C2C Festival x Fundación Marcelo Burlon - Primera Edition Festival” marks one of the designer’s first creations under his newly established foundation, Fondazione Marcelo Burlon. Here, the non-profit foundation will pursue and promote social, cultural, and charitable initiatives, including the conservation and exhibition of modern and contemporary art, organizing artistic events, and protecting human, civil, and political rights through educational initiatives.
In advance of the festival's airing, Whitewall spoke with Burlon to learn more about his boundless artistic expression, the launch of his foundation, and what we can expect to see from him next.
WHITEWALL: Why did you want to launch Fondazione Marcelo Burlon?
MARCELO BURLON: My personal journey, as a creative, has happened without putting too much programming into what I’ve worked on. While I’ve been lucky, I have also had to work hard and have always followed my inner instinct as to what is best for me, the County of Milan brand and other creative projects. Everything has gone well for me across my pursuits and I felt that it was due time to use my resources and personal assets to help those who are in need. Hence, I decided to launch Fondazione Marcelo Burlon. Now, more than ever, is the time for change and to give back.
Whenever possible and within my grasp, I have always supported with donations and charitable action through initiatives where I have felt a deeper connection, such as the LGBTQ Refuge in Rome, which I have supported both privately and through my brand, County of Milan. The Refuge in Rome, combined with like-minded organizations such as the Gay Center, are ideal for us to work with as they provide well-rounded support for those who are in need, with services including shelter, education, psychological, legal and medical consultancy, family mediation, orientation, socialization groups, and offering pathways toward reintegration into society. This is what greatly inspires me and is the type of actionable steps that I am looking to achieve through the work of the Foundation.
The Foundation’s structure will remain results-driven. We are always looking for ways to continuously educate ourselves on how we’re impacting in areas where are donations are being spent, build a solid community agenda and then make sure that it’s followed through, with a sense of continuity of our work. It is simply not enough for a brand or foundation to show support for marginalized communities by including models of color in shows and campaigns, posting on in solidarity in conjunction with culturally disrupting moments on Instagram, or other performative measures. What’s important is for us to be deeply involved in a consistent way that the Foundation will work to uphold.
Fondazione Marcelo Burlon will provide a chance for me to work on artistic, editorial, and cultural projects that derive their inspirations from educational and cultural moments not product-related. There are plans in the works for festivals, exhibitions, publications (including a magazine), and new talent promotions.
WW: How will the private nonprofit focus on promotion, protection, and support of human, civil, and political rights? What emphasis is there on supporting cultural and gender minorities?
MB: The Foundation will focus on the key pillars of charity, education and overall support; not necessarily just financial support. We are building a team of psychologists, social workers and professionals who will be able to assist those who are going through changes and transitions, as well as families who are affected and how to navigate through. We have goals of providing meaningful educational courses as well, such as language courses, as well as offering scholarships to help further education and aid based on merit to help promote the long-standing crafts of indigenous populations to preserve their artisanal culture.
We also want to ensure our efforts are not just people, but animals as well. We’d love to be able to do something with dogs, whether through long-term boarding or sanctuaries, so that we can ensure they are trained properly and find loving homes.
Specific programming of exhibitions, concerts and publications, etc. will help to spread the messaging around certain causes and raise overall awareness, inviting and encouraging participants to act up! Through this programming, we will be creating culture while inspiring new generations to create something important and be part of facilitating change. We all have to act up! There’s a lot of work to be done.
WW: Why was C2C Festival a company you wanted to collaborate with?
MB: I have always felt close to C2C in my personal and musical taste and artistic sensibilities. Many aspects of my work relate to what the C2C team has always been doing. Given the growth of the County of Milan brand, I’ve had to adapt to certain dynamics that businesses require across reporting, timing, etc. I’ve wanted to collaborate with C2C for a very long time, but it wasn’t until now that the timing felt right. C2C are still known to a select few which allows them to create with full artistic freedom within music culture and garners a vast respect from all. I’m extremely happy to work with them and that this collaboration is focused on the launch of the Foundation which is a deeply personal project.
WW: On the night of July 15, what was the atmosphere like at your home in Ibiza?
To celebrate the launch of Foundation Marcelo Burlon, we partnered with Turin-based Club2Club (C2C) and produced a private one-night festival, curated by Arca. The festival was very intimate and free with only 40 guests in attendance from around the island in a COVID-safe environment, including having all guests tested. The guests were a mix of artists, designers, music producers, DJs, entrepreneurs, gallerists, special artistic performance artists. It was a wonderful potpourri of people that created a magical atmosphere and a heightened sense of fantastic shock!
Upon arrival, all guests were asked to exchange their phones for video cameras to guarantee full confidentially and no sharing anything on social media, as well as ensure all guests remain present and immersed in the overall experience and detached from the outside world. We had them disconnect to connect – living in the present and being part of the energy flow.
WW: What art installations and performances were seen that night, curated by ARCA?
MB: Arca, who started the performance playing the piano, invited two of her closest friends to perform Physical Therapy and Total Freedom on a circular stage surrounded by 64 centenary olive trees, planted in a circular labyrinth-like formation. At each cardinal point, there was a kinetic sculpture installed by British artist, Ivan Black.
WW: What can we expect to see in the film?
MB: Through the personal video cameras handed out to guests in exchange for their phones, we have over 100 hours of raw footage recorded. We have been working with digital artist, Weirdcore, who has worked on visual projects talents including, Radiohead, M.I.A., Bjork, and Aphex Twin, to edit all captured footage into a two-and-a-half-hour film. Our goal with the film is to create a swarm of “visions.” The film will be like experiencing the festival through the eyes of each one of the 40 guests.
WW: What are you working on next?
MB: The next project to come is a full retrospective book, MARCELO BURLON COUNTY OF MILAN CONFIDENTIAL, being published by Rizzoli and will be available in October of this year. It took over three years of work to complete. The book serves as an intimate portrait of my personal journey and a deeper investigation into my brand, which I hope will educate and offer further context and insight by tracing a map of where I have been and where I am going next—both personally and professionally—on my journey.