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  • Summer is time of shadows.

    Campo of Siena is extremely beautiful shell-shaped medieval piazza that hosts 600 year old ultrafast and sometimes very violent horse race Palio twice a year, in the heat of the summer.

    Horse is the king of the race. It’s enough if a horse crosses the finish line alone. Riders can fall and break their bones, they don’t have to get to the goal.

    Every contrada, town district, blesses its horse before the palio in a church. And if contrada wins, the fountain of contrada spouts wine all night instead of water. And the winning horse can eat sugar whole next year instead of hay. Bad to the race shape of next year but that’s destiny of winner. From riches to rags.

    I’ve taken this picture from the tower of 14th century town hall, Torre del Mangia. The tower was built to be higher than the tower of the town hall in neighbouring Firenze. Two city states rivalled in art, architecture and science. And from time to time bloodily in battlefields.

    The shadow of Torre del Mangia sweeps slowly over Campo during the day like a gigantic hand of the watch.

    When you are looking at Campo for a while you see patterns of human behaviour in relation to light. There are groups of people that seek for shadow of the Torre. These groups move little by little as the shadow of tower moves. They want to stay continuously in shadow.

    And then there are groups that seek for light. They try to evade the shadow of the tower at all costs like it were some black sword swishing through air and trying to cut them in halves.

    Yes, I know that some of us just can’t stand sunlight. But there’s more to it when you stay in Campo for hours and observate people. For some of us shadows seem to be the magnet, and for some of us the light. And if you must stay in a group that has different desires than you, you suffer. Silently or murmuringly.

    Or then you take a lonely step from light to shadow, or from shadow to light. And look how rest of the group reacts on the other side of an invisible wall.

    Do they neigh - or do they nod? Do you still belong to the group if you differ from majority? Are you still one of the horses in herd or just an irritating horsefly?
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