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The balcony culture: what it means today

A part of the house that characterized our lockdown’s days, our last weeks and, perhaps, that we will no longer look at in the same way. A return to ancient Greece, Rome or the Renaissance.It’s been days, weeks, even months. We have changed habits and maybe we will continue to do so, in this new opening to the outside. We still keep feeling lucky, privileged, if there is a balcony in our houses. Underestimated, sometimes just forgotten, other times used as a closet, in 2020 the balcony has become the extra step toward freedom.It’s been days, weeks, even months. We have changed habits and maybe we will continue to do so, in this new opening to the outside. We still keep feeling lucky, privileged, if there is a balcony in our houses. Underestimated, sometimes just forgotten, other times used as a closet, in 2020 the balcony has become the extra step toward freedom.

By Myra Geraldine Meterangelo

It’s been days, weeks, even months. We have changed habits and maybe we will continue to do so, in this new opening to the outside. We still keep feeling lucky, privileged, if there is a balcony in our houses. Underestimated, sometimes just forgotten, other times used as a closet, in 2020 the balcony has become the extra step toward freedom.

Balconies were the leading actors of our new everyday. They have always been underestimated. Or maybe not?

 
 
 
 
 
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By @davidkirscher • #madrid #spain • • • #quarantinebalcony #quarantinelife #stayhome #creativelife #quarantine #outofthebox #photo #photography #balcony #positivevibes #worldwide #creativityeveryday #future

Un post condiviso da Quarantine Balcony (@quarantine.balcony) in data:

When was the balcony born? A long time ago.

The first balconies appeared in Persia, they had a ceremony function and also a hierarchic value (“who stands above the masses”), instead in ancient Greece and Rome there weren’t balconies, but there were famous “loggias” to conquer a better view, during the public shows.

While balconies were considered restrooms in the Middle Ages, between Renaissance and Baroque they became artworks with an aesthetic purpose and bourgeois values. The balconies have been expression of historic and political ages, for example a famous public housing is the Karl-Marx-Hof of 19° district in Vienna, was built by Karl Ehn (1926-30) and it’s an expression of the typical red construction industry between the two World Wars.

Today the balcony has also entered into events and artistic exhibitions. In 2014, we remember Fundamentals exposed by Rem Koolhaas, during the Venice Biennale. Koolhaas included various architectonic elements, like a balcony, that allows us to travel between the past and the future, passing through the present.

Romeo and Juliet: the italian balcony

The Shakespearean balcony in Romeo and Juliet tragedy is the most famous one in Italy. Verona is the backdrop for the most troubled love story: Giulietta Capuleti and her love for Romeo Montecchi, who was the son of a rival family. The balcony as a symbol of love and passion.

The quarantine balcony

The balcony is an additive scaffolding to the building in which you live. It is an extension to the outside and it has a double value. It is both the place from which you can observe the outside and the place you can be observed. In the privacy of your home, the balcony is an additional element that allows people to discover the outside world. At the same time, it could also be an invitation to discover our inner-selves and, as a consequence, it becomes an element of socialization.

In the past, many artists portrayed balconies within their works. Manet was inspired by Francisco Goya for his The balcony, where he immortalizes Berthe Morisot, future sister-in-law, with Jean Baptiste Antoine Guillermet and the violinist Fanny Claus.

During the lockdown, the balcony was the perfect set for authors’ shots and sketches. Many illustrators have been inspired by our ordinary life and our #sweetquarantine. Agathe Sorlet is an illustrator who lives between London and Paris. She draws women and feelings. Her illustrations are ordinary gestures of an ordinary girl’s daily routine. The style is minimal and characterized by the addiction of just one color to black and white features. Simple line and point give us an immediate frame of the everyday life. Maybe these illustration make us smile genuinely with naked bodies, cats, kamasutra, love and self-awareness.

After this long period of introspection, we really hope that everyone has conquered or found again their freedom and now can feel free to express themselves... Like the Agathe Sorlet’s girl on the balcony.