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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Sky in a Room

Church of San Carlo al Lazzaretto / Milan / Music

Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson is known for his endurance works, which focus on the transformations that result from repetition over long duration. At the 2013 Venice Biennale, for instance, his ironically titled S.S. Hangover involved a brass brand playing the same sad tunes for all six months of the fair. During the pandemic, however, his aesthetic has taken on new meaning as the routines of quarantine life are now everyone’s personal endurance work. Kjartansson’s latest project, a month-long marathon of Gino Paoli’s “Il Cielo in Una Stanza” (The Sky in a Room)—which the artist calls Italy’s “national love song”—sees two singers alternating on one-hour shifts. Fittingly, the performance takes place in the same church that housed, four centuries earlier, thousands of quarantined plague victims, a story immortalized in Alessandro Manzoni’s classic novel The Betrothed. —J.V.

Church of San Carlo al Lazzaretto Largo Fra Paolo Bellintani, 1, 20124 Milano MI, Italy
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