Milan, 30th April 2020
Exactly 5 years have passed since the moment which has been called the “rebirth of Milan” started. The wonderful energy that was unleashed on the 1st of May 2015 has spread from the Expo to all over Italy, bringing our country back to the center of global attention.
These memories are now more valuable than ever because of the unprecedented situation we are experiencing: the whole world is now standing still, as if suspended. Obviously, for us who professionally build dreams and live on emotions, for us who work in shows, concerts, events, doubts about tomorrow are many. We are suffering professionally and emotionally, our sector is probably one of the most affected by the pandemic worldwide, from China to Canada. It is also considered by some shortsighted people to be a superfluous sector. But we must defend shows, events and entertainment because they are the living part of our culture, a part without which humanity would be deeply impoverished. I was born in Venice, a city that has suffered a lot in the recent years and now, paradoxically, a city that is rediscovering itself in its original and natural beauty. I am lucky enough to have known more than half the world thanks to my fantastic job, a job that has made me discover the most beautiful and authentic sides of many different cultures. And today, which seems to me as if we are living in a horror film, like everyone else, I question myself and observe the people who, not being in the front lines in the hospitals and in the management of this crisis, are reacting in different ways whilst closed in their homes: people suffering from loneliness or people exasperated in overcrowded houses, people who gain weight and people who starve.
We are also realizing how many things are superfluous in our life and are no longer sustainable for this planet: we buy too many useless goods, we take too many unnecessary trips and we create too much pollution dictated only by performance. In the future, we should prefer quality over quantity, even in experiences. So I wonder what we really need. I personally believe that we need to be human, to have physical contact and emotions. It has been so for three thousand years, the Greek theater and the square as a place for the community have existed since then. This is what people will always need: to return to dream and find themselves together in a great collective passion.
When the time of the emergency will be over, when scientists allow us, with social distancing or hopefully with a vaccine, the time will come to dream and to imagine our future. The time for laughter and passions will come, the time to go back to the stadiums, to music and to wonder. This time will come again. We will change many things, technology will help us, but the need to meet and marvel at beauty together will not disappear and can never be replaced by virtuality or be mediated by a screen. Just as Youporn does not replace sex, the digital platforms that we are now using will never respond in a definite way to the human need of living their passions. Life must be lived Live!
And then we will be ready. All of us, creators of events, shows, concerts, beauty, all of us will have to be ready. Because it is the great magic of our work, the extraordinary power to turn dreams into reality, which will light up our future again. Today I feel that energy, thinking back to the symbol I have created 5 years ago for the Milan Expo, which nobody wanted at the beginning but then turned out to be a great aggregator of emotions, which everyone wanted to lookup at, with their noses upturned, feeling a little bit like children.
In 2015 the Tree of Life was defined as a symbol of rebirth by President Mattarella and today there is a need for a new rebirth, for Milan and for Italy. Expo has changed the face of a city; we know it is possible to start again. Let’s not stop dreaming, and let’s do it together, but with a new role: to support change by creating the necessary emotions to spread pride, courage and energy for the future.