The Breathing City

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Some more 35mm shots from Manila. Have another post coming soon of the church we visited and will get the last two rolls of film from Paris soon so I can finally start posting the pictures of that trip that aren’t portraits of Gabriele. Even though I’d kill to have more portraits of him.

One thing that struck me about Manila once you left the “rich district” is how much green there is. It’s a complete contrast to the horrid traffic, crowded overpasses and general high-pressure mess of the more “downtown” zone. But by ‘green’ I don’t mean well-kept gardens or parks… I mean trees, vines and plants growing literally everywhere. In courtyards, in the middle of the road… they’re not protected by barriers or dedicated sidewalks like in most cities in Europe; they mesh with the buildings, the electrical cables, the lamps, the traffic signs. They’re parts of an single environment, not accessories – breathing and living fundamental organs in the mechanical body of the city.

After spending several years travelling throughout Asia and some archipelagos in the Indian Ocean is how people seem to consider flora in general as something that should be allowed to grow untouched. Cities are built around the dominating nature – and I mean massive cities, like Kuala Lumpur – and plants and trees are left to their own devices. They’re not cut down to make room for other buildings; they’re not systematically planted to spruce up a sidewalk. There seems to be a fundamental understanding that these living beings were there before we even decided architecture was a “thing”, so they should be given priority over the land. In Europe we talk so much about saving the trees since we were the ones that started killing them to build our world; in most of Southeast Asia, it seems, people share their world with them.

Food for thought.

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