clubbing as political resistance in italy

We asked five young people who go to Milan's under-threat MACAO nightclub how they feel about the current state of the world.

by Mattia Ruffolo
09 January 2019, 9:28pm

The people interviewed and photographed here are MACAO regulars, and don't necessarily represent the views of the club.

i-D and photographer Pavel Golik talked to young people who go to Milan's infamous MACAO night club. Long threatened by closure, MACAO has set up a series of cultural programs that make it so much more than just a place to escape on a Saturday night, and become integral to the fabric of the city. We asked them how important it is for the city to have cultural and social spaces where younger generations can feel free to express themselves and create communities.


Martin, 29, student

Where do you have the most fun?
At concerts for sure, both here and around Europe.

How do you express your personality?
I don’t know how people express their personality. Perhaps in my case I express it by playing music, which is something I like to do.

How would you describe the underground music scene in Milan?
I can only talk about the hardcore punk scene. I think it's pretty good here, it's full of cool groups.

Why does MACAO have to survive?
MACAO is a meeting place for a lot of guys and girls in the city, it would be a shame if they had to vacate it.


Giorgio (GuGol), 23, musician

Where do you have the most fun?
I enjoy being at home a lot too, but if we’re talking about parties and social life, I have two or three special places, like on Thursday evening you should all come to Pozzuolo to Bar della Pesa which is now a must in the area.

How do you express your personality?
I try to express what I am in as many areas as possible. One day I might wake up and make my own clothes, another day, I try to cook some bizarre recipe or spend the day drawing, singing, screaming, and playing music. Attracting people's attention is something that I've always liked doing, I am a punk.

How would you describe the underground music scene in Milan?
It should be much more varied. Luckily I listen to everything, even trap music that has been dominating the scene in recent years or all kinds of electronic music, and there is a lot of choice in those genres.

Do you have any heroes?
Trash collectors, NOFX and Lugosis.

How do you see yourself in the future?
I see myself as I would like to see myself: still alive, healthy, sure of myself and strong.



Francesco, 27, copywriter by day, DJ by night

Where do you have the most fun?
Toilet Club in Milan. I work there.

How do you express your personality?
With the music I listen to, with the films I watch, with what I wear, with what I say, and with what I write.

How would you describe the underground music scene in Milan?
Bizarre, but certainly the most active in Italy. And I find it even more beautiful when the different underground scenes find a meeting point; when punk, techno, trap, queer break down their barriers. I go to every type of event and recognize the breaking down of barriers between people at all them. This is the underground scene for me, and that's why I love Milan.

Why does MACAO have to survive?
Because MACAO is part of the Milan that I talked about in the previous answer. MACAO is Milan’s underground, in all its versatility and mixture. MACAO is Milan.

Do you have any heroes?
For me, they are more points of references, rather than heroes: David Bowie, Jean Paul Sartre, Rainer Fassbinder, Giuni Russo and Ru Paul.

How do you see yourself in the future?
I think only about the present and I think of the future of the planet.


Lorenzo, 22, fashion design student at NABA

Where do you have the most fun?
In the bars in China Town and everywhere if I’m with my friends.

How do you express your personality?
Whatever we say, observe, read, wear, create, and destroy is a statement. It is an expression of personality. The most obvious way, and how I prefer to express myself is through my image and my creations.

How would you describe the underground music scene in Milan?
It's a fluid scene, everyone is constantly contaminated here.

Why does MACAO have to survive?
MACAO must not be questioned because it is a reality, the reality of us young people. The anger about it is really idiotic and superficial. But Italy works like that, doesn’t it?

Do you have any heroes?
A lot of people inspire me. Even if for me a hero is anyone who sympathizes the queer cause: from great global icons of the past and the present up to my friends, my father, my mother, and my sister.

How do you see yourself in the future?
I hope to graduate within a year (I’ve said it now and you’re all witnesses!)


Valentina, 22, tattoo artist and student

What do you do in life?
I work in the tattoo and piercing sector, and I'm about to graduate from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.

Where do you have the most fun?
My idea of fun is mainly related to the artistic research I'm carrying out and I don’t perceive it at all as work, including body art, performances, exhibitions and tattoo conventions.

How do you express your personality?
My research is very linked to the body. It is the "place" where I can express myself, tell my story without speaking, and search for my darkness.

How would you describe the underground music scene in Milan?
I was part of the underground scene in Milan for a while but soon after I left. I understood that often the search for certain ideals and environments has more possibilities for growth and maturation if you do it on your own, rather than as a shared experience.

Do you have any heroes?
Franko B, Marina Abramović, Harmony Korine, and Kraftwerk.

How do you see yourself in the future?
Who knows! I try to accumulate as many experiences as possible and let myself be guided by my needs.



Interviews Mattia Ruffolo

Photography Pavel Golik

Stylist Oana Cilibiu