by Mino Di Vita

A new skyline

Milan, since time immemorial the economic capital of Italy, certainly couldn’t be indifferent to the idea of being part of the inner circle of European and global metropolises. In order to support this vocation, surprising works have been realisedin the last few years, signed by architects of international fame, who have forever been at the centre of a lively debate that puts forward approvals and rejections to the development of vertical architecture, in contrastto a history of the horizontal city. As a matter of fact, since the fifties there have already been attempts to show the rest of Europe that Milan could also be proud of its towers, with projects such as Velasca Tower, Galfa Tower and the Pirelli skyscraper that along with other famous buildings have, in time, made history. Extraordinary works that skilfully mix with buildings, domes and bell towers, together forming a network of reference points that guides the gaze when one admires the panorama of the city from on high. All of this that has been added in recent years is the best that hyper-architecture can offer, realising with success the spectacularization process of the city’s appearance, in order to offer the public a new skyline decidedly more suitable for the role of global metropolis. It is really this moment of epochal transition that isthe subject of this book. A certain attempt at bearing witness to a usual urban landscape, at the moment in which it frantically transforms into a spectacular daily dimension, in the name of urban neo-renaissance. In order to do it I chose an exclusive viewpoint: that offered by the top floors of five-star hotels to the businessman and lucky tourist. A Milan by night that left its daily hustle and bustleis surrounded by a surreal atmosphere that envelops the cityentirely. [italian] [japanese]

 

Guardare, vedere.

Milano, nell’immaginario collettivo, è rappresentata da numerosi simboli che ormai la identificano universalmente: il Duomo, la Scala, il Castello Sforzesco sono solo alcune delle mete che ogni giorno migliaia di turisti visitano. Esiste, però, una Milano molto particolare, anzi unica: quella che ogni Milanese può vedere dalla finestra della propria abitazione. Paesaggi che condizionano gli umori, sprigionano fantasie, ricordano eventi o semplicemente catturano l’attenzione per un qualcosa che si sta svolgendo, ma soprattutto rappresentano la Milano che si dovrebbe conoscere nei minimi dettagli, perché ogni giorno inconsciamente viene monitorata. Non a caso nel titolo del progetto sono state usate le parole, in apparenza simili, guardo e vedo. Guardare, infatti, non presuppone che si riesca anche a vedere e con ogni probabilità è esattamente quello che ogni giorno accade ad ognuno di noi quando indirizza lo sguardo oltre la finestra: semplicemente guarda. Scopo di questo progetto è quello di indicare allo spettatore un percorso ideale che, dal guardare iniziale, lo porti fino al traguardo del vedere tutto quello che è visibile dalla propria finestra, attraverso l’invito a soffermare lo sguardo e trascrivere le proprie sensazioni. Un work in progress ambizioso volto a conoscere ciò che gli abitanti percepiscono della propria città, condiviso con quanti hanno aderito e quanti vorranno aderire.

 

Tokyo double sided

Trovo sia oltremodo affascinante osservare e capire le tante contraddizioni che vive la realtà Tokyota: tecnologia futuristica e modi di vivere occidentali convivono con tradizioni e costumi antichissimi. Così, accanto all’espressione più evidente del consumismo e dell’ostentazione urbanistica, nascosti e incastonati tra palazzi moderni, ancora si possono scoprire vecchi edifici costruiti 150 anni fa e sopravvissuti intatti a terremoti e incendi.

 

The spirit of a place

Photography, with its ability to blend time and evoke the history of an area, it is the ideal tool to express the result of an articulated investigation, here is central the “poetic connections between people and a place”. A project that aims to reveal the pictorial potential hidden anywhere if you look at it; and at the same time it describes the inner characteristic of buildings and historical sites to be seen as sites where time is stratified and compacted. The viewer is invited to focus its attention not only on the moment the photograph was taken, but also on the previous moments, those that describe the seasons or the memories of cultures and historical events of the past. Only in this way we can perceive, beyond the limits of an individual perspective, those mysterious forces that are invisible to the human eye, which regulate the places to which man is bound. It is about photographs where the human being is never present as a defined figure, but it is only evoked by the traces or memories that spread in and around the place, trying to give to descendants the reflection of an identity that today we can not obtain because of an uncontrollable mobility and relentless eradication. Places that indicate another possible way of living, where time stops and gives the man back a past memory of feelings dozen off in the depths of his existence and that urge him to imagine a different future. [italian] [japanese]

 

Genius Loci

All the phenomena of the universe, obey the laws of time and space. Every action, even before its end, has already transformed, through time, in memory, souvenir, history and it took place within a defined physical point of the space, which can be a precise place. Places are always considered by the mankind as spaces lived emotionally, in which one can establish subjective relationships that go beyond the purely physical aspects of the place itself. The place acquires its importance for feelings, memories and suggestions that are transmitted to the individual, in such personal ways. There may be tens, hundreds, thousands of relationships, each one or more dedicated to every inhabitant, among which it is possible to identify a common denominator that helps to create exclusivity and define the spirit, the character and the soul of a place, identifying the socio-cultural characteristics of the environment, its identity: the so-called Genius Loci [1]. The term, as well as impressive, is also old; it was already in use among Romans for whom every place of worship was linked to a supernatural entity called Genius Loci and to which, over the centuries and still today, every artistic expression has got its inspiration, giving it a multitude of expressions, meanings and symbols. In front of this imaginative concept, we can barely remove our prejudices, and forget our unquestionable beliefs and plunge into the atmosphere of another era; and in order to explain and understand it we have recourse to current contents, that are often wrong or unfounded. In order to understand the Genius Loci, however, you only have to realize that within each image of perception of a place there is much more than our eyes can see or our minds can imagine. But to discover the hidden elements, one need to know well a place and, in order to do it, a hasty trip would not be enough, because as James Hillman said, “The soul of the place has to be discovered in the same way as person’s soul. And it is possible thay it would not be revealed immediately. The discovery of the soul and its becoming familiar, take a lot of time and several encounters” [2]. Only the “knowledge” will allow you to identify the set of those physical and metaphysical elements that bind men consciously to a particular place, evoking in a deep way and sometimes mysteriously the spirit, its Genius Loci. [italian]

Features of places in order to evoke the Genius Loci:
– a temporal continuation in their destination of purpose.
– a spatial continuation in their physical
– conscious people who live the place site anyway

[1] To this latter are linked the atmosphere in a given district and the colors of the houses, the smells, the sounds or the accents of the people who live there.
[2] James Hillman,L’anima dei luoghi, Rizzoli, Milano 2004, page 55

 

Clothes hanging on wires

L’essere umano stabilisce connessioni con tutto ciò che lo circonda. Così attraverso le diversità gli altri conoscono noi stessi. Ci sono, però, elementi che difficilmente cogliamo, ma che parlano intensamente di noi: gli indumenti. Abiti che abitiamo con il nostro corpo, con i quali ci relazioniamo con il mondo esterno. Non è immediato da pensare, ma in realtà i nostri vestiti si confrontano con il mondo esterno ancor prima di noi e lo fanno in un modo molto particolare. L’artista lo ha scoperto e, con delicatezza, decide di raccontare la sua esperienza senza invadere l’intimità dell’individuo: vestiti appesi ai fili (Clothes hanging on wires), una parte di vita quotidiana diventa una narrazione appesa a un filo, nel vero senso della parola. È concesso inventare una storia su queste immagini solo nelle nostre menti, una favola segreta così come i volti delle persone assenti, ma presenti. [japanese]
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