In these days of brought out of blue ridiculous debate over national identity in France, one book comes to mind that I was shown by David G. last time I visited in Milan in spring this year. "Italianità" curated by Giulio Iacchetti is an amazing graphic design book that captures the essence of what it is to be Italian or, like the Wiktionary defines, "the peculiarities of Italians or their language or culture". 30 of those peculiarities are picked and commented (and beautifully illustrated by ale+ale), such as the Tabu licorice box, the Sambuca drink, the voting card, the Tabacchi sign, the comics Diabolik, the Gazzetta dello Sport, etc...
I guess it has to do with pop culture and daily life. The little things that you don't pay attention to much, that you might not share an interest about, but that are part of the landscape of signs that surround you. And in this regard, I find it easy to adopt a culture wherever I go. Parts of me are italian, french, japanese, israeli, american, british... I never think about these things really, they come naturally to me. I dislike the expression "citizen of the world", it resonates very dull in my mind. I just experience very strong cultural bonds wherever I go, wherever I live. I find myself enjoying the local lifestyle with a twist of my own blend. Usually, it comes first through experiencing food, graphic design, architecture, cinema and fashion. Which is probably why I hate shopping at Zara, H&M, Ikea and The Gap because you can find the stores everywhere.
I do have a problem though of adjusting to my own city, my own country. After all these years, I still haven't figured out how I can change the fact that I don't feel free in Paris. It gets on my nerves because I'd like to be able to stay in one place. Therefore the question for me is certainly not what is a national identity but what makes a place a home.
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