Milan is the Italian city that has grown more vertically through the construction of skyscrapers. Currently, there are 25 completed and under construction buildings that stand at least 100 mt.. My favourite ones are the Unicredit tower, in the Porta Nuova district, and the Isozaki and Hadid towers, in the citylife district. These latter are also called “il dritto” (the straight) and “lo storto” (the awry). I am showing some pictures I have taken in the last few days. The Unicredit Tower is seen with the famous “bosco verticale” building in the beautiful frame of the new garden area built up around the “biblioteca degli alberi” (trees library). November sky in Milan is typically grey-white and looks homogeneous, not the best sky for a picture, but there are nice autumn colours on the leafs of trees and in the few flowers on the ground.
How much the urban landscape has been changed by images of advertisement is impressive. In the last few days a huge poster has been set up on the building which is in front of the tower named “il grattacielo di Milano” in via Vittor Pisani. The image is a beautiful, enormous, woman’s profile portrait on a completely white background. She seems to be looking at and admiring the tower. The grattacielo (“skyscraper”) is 116 meters tall and it was built between 1950 and 1955. At that time, it was the highest building in Italy, higher than the highest statue of the Duomo church. The grattacielo is the symbol of the new architectural Milanese style which was developed immediately after the end of world war II. Its design is very simple and essential. There seems to be an interaction between the model’s face and the tower. Looking at them together from Piazza della Repubblica gives an awesome visual effect.
Nowadays, it is fairly common to see people looking at the screen of their smartphone while standing or walking in the street, or sitting in a bus or a train. They read or text messages, or view images or videos. Photographs are taken of everything and they contribute to a representation of one’s life in social media. Real life is increasingly perceived through the screen of electronic devices and we are taking pictures rather than living in the moment. As an experiment I tried to insert in a wide-angle photo the image of the screen of a smartphone. The focus is taken onto the phone thus the rest of the image is blurred. The picture as a whole induces a sort of surreality in the scene. This is somewhat like our new way of living: real things are only what we want to see through our technological devices. The rest of vision is blurred and out of focus because of our lack of interest on what is outside the screen.
This wall painting is located right in front of the State University building in Milano. The translation of the writing on the top is ”in their desert we multiply adventures and resistances”. (the sense of “resistenze” is not clear; in my opinion it means the capacity to cope with life challenges). The picture would refer to the puppeteers (burattinai) of modern society: high finance, (fear of) death, and evil. On the floor there is an out-of-use pay phone. A man looking at his smartphone is leaning against the wall, the unaware victim of the puppeteers.
Milano is full of graffiti. Some are very good.
nel loro deserto moltiplichiamo avventure e resistenze
“Leggerezza”, or the lightness of being is one of my favourite pictures. It was taken in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milano in a sunny and warm summer afternoon. A physical and spiritual lightness.