Monday, March 8, 2010
When one blows up this image and looks carefully at the bas relief figures, one can see that they are not - as I'd taken them to be, looking across the street from my hotel room in the early morning light - heroic figures of modern industry. Rather, they seem to be medieval knights, foraging around in some foliage, and their purpose - both symbolic or decorative - is therefore much more obscure. Of course, it would have helped if I'd walked down the street towards them, seen what the building is called, and googled it (it seems in strange disrepair: the bottom part looks to be occupied with offices, but the top vacant and windowless and generally abandoned) - but I've been headed in the opposite direction. I might be wrong about the abandonment, of course - looking out at night, to see whether those things like old fashioned microphones are lights (if they are, they aren't on) - there seems to be illumination almost right to the top. Definitely, however, like the crumbling mock-baroque on the parapet in the foreground, a sense of civic pride and heritage is being sought after: given how many workmen here were of Italian origin, this seems like a clear example of them setting their own historical mark, fourteen floors or so above the street.