Ornament and graffiti. Empathic surfaces in the age of image sharing
Francesca Olivieri & Gian Marco De Vitis

It is possible to find important similarities between contemporary architectural decorative trends and the artistic form of graffiti: first of all for the way they actively communicate with their observer, but also for how they are subjected to a further passive communication process, in the experiencing of contemporary cities.
They not only share the medium (the surface of architectural façades), similarities between ornament and graffiti base on the form, defined by a high level of flatness, and on the reaction it causes in the observing subject, the affect.
The relationship with the public, as well as the perception modalities of graffiti and architectural ornaments, influence that communicative dynamic already defined “passive”, that image production and diffusion process that in the “age of sharing” became so preeminent, even if it is mostly lead at an amateur level. Indeed, nowadays, such communication takes mainly place through smartphones and social networks like Instagram. Supports (characterized in their turn by the flatness of a screen and the affect of sharing) that abound with images of ornaments and graffiti.
It is therefore important to try to understand the reasons of the concurrence between the features of the subject and the modality of its representation; as well as it is interesting to ask ourselves how architecture and the city can react to this media impact interested not in its formal, functional and structural characteristics, but in its more public, surface and expressive qualities.

Bio Francesca Olivieri, Milanese architect, works as teaching assistant of Politecnico di Milano courses in the field of architectural representation. Alongside her personal research, which includes the themes of representation, ornament and communication of architecture through new medias, she carries out her professional activity collaborating with the Milanese studio Degli Esposti Architetti.

Gian Marco De Vitis works as freelance architect in Milan and Lecce. He carries out academic activities as teaching assistant in several architectural representation courses at Politecnico di Milano where he graduated in 2019.

Authors Francesca Olivieri, Gian Marco De Vitis
Location Milano
Editor La Scuola di Pitagora editrice | PresS/Tletter
Publisher DisegnareCon Magazine | PresS/Tletter - Concorso Giovani Critici Winner