German painters Georg Gross and H.Ludwig Kirchner. Detached of the Othersürstendamm.jpgIn 1925, German expressionist painters highlighted the indifference and existential isolation of people living in the Great City.

In 1925, Germany tried to cope with the embers of its First World War Defeat and the convulsions of the Weimar Republic.

Caustic observers of urban life, the expressionists became obsessed with the description of streets inhabited by dehumanized pedestrians.

The city becomes, in the brushes of these expressionists, agglomerations of pedestrians that parade along its sidewalks as beings devoid of empathy and totally isolated, humanly, from their environment.

Georg Gross. Kurfürstendamm

It is a diverse fauna that does not exchange glances or chats with others. They parade like animated mannequins who, on the other hand, are unable to communicate with others. An intense and anguishing emptiness surrounds them: they are victims of the indifference and loneliness suffered by the inhabitants of the Great City.  The German Expressionists pointed to the flip side of Berlin’s sparkling Cabaret. There’s no more laughter, rampage or “bohemia” here. Isolation and lack of communication prevails.

Hans. L. Kirchner. Street with streetwalker

92 years later, people are no longer isolated or incommunicado. Blessed be our Digital Age for bringing us the gadget we desperately needed to keep us from ever feeling alone. We remain quite isolated from our environment but we have the mobile device at hand and thanks to it we enter a Great World Community that, in exchange for demanding an absolute servitude towards the’ device’, guarantees us an immediate and total communication: to be famous instantly and to stop resembling dehumanized pedestrians. Let me ask one question, though: What do we look like?

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