AS IF

by GIOVANNI SEMI

One week ago, in the midst of what we’ve learned to think as the beginning of something enormous, I received a letter from a journal, asking me to send the review of a paper that was due that day. The paper was (is?) on mass tourism in touristic sites and on unwelcomed side-effects. The paper, as of today, might be published on a journal of history of modern Europe. What we thought was ‘contemporary’ it is no longer here. It’s gone. “All that is solid, melts into air” as Marx famously wrote.

I don’t have words to interpret what is currently happening, because I don’t have the thoughts to process the ongoing transformations. Time is crucial, here. Stuck in my apartment, time is even more troublesome than space. Spatial segregation, seclusion and confinement are easy to grasp, even when they entail the loss of rights and liberties. Precisely because we are losing these rights, we are fully aware of the occurring spatial transformation. We have lost something, we get what was that and we long for it. Space has freezed.

“The great empty” A photograph campaign by The New York Times – march 23rd, 2020.