Wednesday, July 04, 2007

V7.P1. I was away for a while…

As you can notice from this weblog, I do enjoy travelling, and yet, recently it has exhausted me a little. I was dying to come back home at the end of last week (I’m not sure why exactly anymore)…
So I will write about them only shortly.
After coming back from NY, we organised the Amsterdam Conference on Earth System Governance. As I was in the management team it was a hectic time, and as my bag –including my laptop –including our paper that we could work on only in NY- was stolen on my way back from NY, I was presenting a paper that ceased to exist. Still it was the first presentation of a shared work with Sander, and it went really well.

Then I went to Milan, for a CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Conference in the EU context. I think I did a good presentation there as well (this time of the project work), and met political scientists and business scholars with a lot of inspiration. The familiar Mediterranean hospitality just made it better: the food was great, the organisation and schedule was relaxed, and although we were in Milan the weather was good.
The highlight was Duomo, the biggest and greatest cathedral of late gothic architecture in Italy. Built from the late 14th well into the 19th century (and in a sense, never completed as work continues), it is one of the world's largest churches, houses almost 3500 statues that are spread over an area of almost 12,000 m2. The tallest spire, which has the famous “Madonnina” on top of it, is 108 meters high. The statue of the Virgin Mary, the “Madonnina”, is covered in 3900 pieces of gold leaf.
The streets either radiating from the Duomo or circling it, reveals how the cathedral occupies the most central site in the plan of the city.
Wiki says: “Given Milan's notoriously damp and foggy climate, the Milanese consider it a fair-weather day when the Madonnina is visible from a distance, as it is so often covered by mist. The 1934 song "O mia bela Madonina" by Giovanni d'Anzi about the golden Madonna statue on the spire is until today the unofficial city anthem of Milan, even used in ringtones and sung by the soccer ultras of AC Milan. Mainly Milanese dialect speaking people, due to the centuries needed to complete the Duomo, use the "Fabbrica del Duomo" ("Fabrica del Dom" in the dialect) as an adjective (sometimes in a humoristic way sometimes not) to describe an extremely long, too complex task, maybe even impossible to complete.”

After a few days in Amsterdam I went to good old Colchester, for a graduate conference on "Multitude, People, Resistance", where guest speakers were Simon Critchley (wikiprofile, one of my fave texts, interview1, interview2), Michael Hardt (wikiprofile, Full text of Empire, Žižek on Empire), and Ernesto Laclau (wikiprofile, interview).

In the weekend I had a short visit to London and drove with Alp to South of Wales, and then I headed to Cambridge… but those I save for another post.

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