The Cool Couple - LOL: Photography in Times of Global Uncertainty

Two months long masterclass with The Cool Couple (Niccolò Benetton and Simone Santilli). From 19 February to 9 April 2021 (once a week)

Fantasy will destroy power and laughter will bury you (motto of Italian Anarchic Movement, 1977)

The catastrophic events that shaped 2020 and the beginning of 2021 prove once and for all that reality has exceeded our imagination. Day after day, news reports sound more like the trailer for an upcoming Netflix sci-fi series. This time, photography appears unable to tell us the story. Images are vague, their meaning opaque. Everybody is speaking, but nobody is listening. Everybody is looking, but the images have nothing to say. Or worse, even in the case of harrowing events, as the USA white supremacists protests, we laugh when faced with their absurdity.

How can we address the issues of our time in a powerful and effective way? How can we grab the attention of the public? How can we produce photographs that affect people? 

This masterclass will focus on supporting and furthering your personal research. We welcome photographers and artists with an ongoing personal project that aims to address some of the key issues of the present time. Through a series of group and individual meetings, we will review, discuss and conceptualise the materials that you have already produced. We will provide you with specific case studies, suggestions and advice in order to improve your project by bringing it into dialogue with other disciplines, visual languages and image devices.

Apart from working towards the finalisation of your research, we will also discuss the outputs, forms and channels for the presentation of the material, in times when conventional methods like exhibitions, fairs and festivals have become off-limits or proved unable to adapt to changing contexts. 

Learning Objectives 
The participants will learn how to improve their projects on two levels: on the one hand, they will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of a strong method in putting together a coherent artistic project; on the other, they will be asked to evaluate and experiment with a wide range of visual languages, often pushing photography to its boundaries. 

Form and schedule
The masterclass will take place online (Zoom) starting from February 19 (once a week)
The meetings will take place on Fridays, 2 PM Central European Time / 3 PM Latvian time. 
The participants will continue work on their projects between the sessions. 
Week 1:        Introductory group class (2h) 
Week 2:        Group class: Presentations by participants & discussion (2h)
Week 3:        Group class: Presentations by participants & discussion (2h)
Week 4:        Individual meetings (30 minutes each)
Week 5:        Individual meetings (30 minutes each)
Week 6:        Individual meetings (30 minutes each)
Week 7:        Individual work with own projects
Week 8:        Group class: Final Presentations (2h) 

The course will have maximum 10 participants

About the tutors 
The Cool Couple is an artist duo based in Milan. Established in 2012 by Niccolò Benetton and Simone Santilli, TCC develops research on the friction points in the daily relationship between people and images. Their projects adopt a variety of languages from performances to fine art photographs, video installations, 3D sculptures and video games, all exploring the role of visuality in the present. TCC’s work has been exhibited at institutions such as: Center for Contemporary Culture Strozzina (Florence), Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice), Unseen Photography Fair (Amsterdam), Centquatre (Paris), Les Rencontres des Arles (Arles) and MACRO (Rome), Museo del ‘900 (Milan), MAMBO (Bologna). The Cool Couple combines their artistic research with teaching: they are lecturers at NABA, Milan, and course leaders of the BA in Visual Arts at MADE Program, Syracuse. 

Course fee - 500 EUR (reduced fee 350 EUR for Latvian participants).

To apply, please send to
- short introduction about yourself, including your website or link to online portfolio,
- short information and up to 10 images from the project you'd like to work with during this masterclass. 
Please specify LOL Application in the subject line. 
The 10 places in the class will be filled as we receive quality applications, that should arrive latest by 11 February 2021. All the applicants will be informed by 15 February latest. A partial payment will be required to confirm participation in the masterclass.  

With any questions about the masterclass, please contact us at