British and Italian aesthetics

I discovered about British aestehtics one day, when driving through the mist in Wales. We were in the car, on a hill side, in very thick fog – we could only see a few meter ahead – and sheep were jumping out of the fog, and back into it, in front of the car. It was eerily beautiful.

I still remember that moment tenderly – and realised recently that it embodies a lot about British aestehtics. The half-seen, half-unseen. That mist, all-pervasive, that blurs outlines, and allows for a game of hide-and-seek with the world. I thought, the famous British reserve, the humour, the confusion in words and attitudes, this soft eye with the tear on the side. this shiftiness of the brits – it all comes from that mist-infused air, this constantly grey light, blurring outlines.

In contrast, the Mediterranean has sharp, terrible sun, pounding veritcal – but also complete, black darkness. A real sense of shade, as protection. Things are not half and half, they are either or. In the sun is how you show yoruself – the Mediterranean vanity – or the realm of caricature – the mask, imposed on you by this too visible world-stage, sun-drenched. In the darkness is where you keep your secrets – and you shed the most light on what you want to display – or what you will let others see, even as caricature.