Matteo Pericoli: “Porta Palazzo like New York, same mix”

TURIN. «Turin is unknowingly beautiful. She doesn’t know she is but this is her strength ». This is how Matteo Pericoli, architect, designer, teacher and author, defines the city. He will be among the guests who for a week, from tomorrow to March 27, will participate in the poetry marathon Hypercritic Poethon (there will also be Margherita Oggero, Enrica Baricco, Serena Dandini, Igiaba Scego, Martino Gozzi, Ilaria Gaspari, Maura Gancitano, bearded vulture, Guido Catalano, Andrea Tarabbia, Alessandro Burbank, Yoko Yamada, Sara Benedetti, Andrea Tomaselli, Daniele De Cicco, Giorgia Cerruti, Silvia Cannarsa, Luca Gamberini, Emiliano Poddi). A journey that will draw inspiration from the places where the compositions of various authors will be read: museums, gardens, railing houses and old trams, thanks to the collaboration with Gtt and the Turin Historical Tram Association. All appointments with free admission subject to availability, so booking is recommended on Eventbrite in the section dedicated to the event. Pericoli is the protagonist on Friday at 18.45 at Scuola Holden with The architecture of poetry.

What do architecture and poetry have in common?

«Poetry is nothing but manufacturing and to know this, just look at its etymology, poièo in ancient Greek means to make, create, build. Poetry is the strongest and most constructive act that exists, it means putting words in a sequence, one after the other. Architecture in turn is the modeling of space, it has to do with relationships, spaces, voids and shadows, all things in common with poetry».

So can it be said that they are the same thing?

«There is an area where all decisions, compositional ideas do not yet take the form of a specific discipline. It is the creative potential to which architecture, poetry, music and writing belong. Only later can each one give these ideas and intuitions a well-defined form».

Let’s talk about the architecture of cities. How is it possible to unearth its poetic soul?

«At the beginning I thought that cities were agglomerations of buildings built very close to each other, and that this was exclusively for a reason of utility. I found poetry for the first time while living in New York, it was a bit like when you fall in love with someone, it happens but you can’t explain why».

Did you find the poem you were looking for in Turin?

«When I arrived in Turin I found an unexpected and incredible energy and spirit. In a certain sense, the place most similar to New York is Porta Palazzo: it is located in the center of the city, close to important and courtly institutional buildings, yet there is an extremely real, intense mix of life and this reassures me. Porta Palazzo is one of those places that exist without needing to tell about themselves, because they already communicate so much as they are, just like New York».

And what is his secret?

Not being aware of itself, that’s the only way poetry manifests itself, otherwise it would be lost. It is also said in the film The postman when Mario (Massimo Troisi) and Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) are sitting by the sea and Mario has just told them that he felt “like a boat tossed by your words”. Neruda tells Mario that so he just created a metaphor. “No!” Mario replies blushing, “But really?”. And then he adds: “Oh well, but it’s not valid because I didn’t want to do it”. “Wanting is not important” Neruda tells him, “images are born random”. That’s what it means to be unaware.”

Are there other places in Turin that inspire you the same feeling?

«The walks along the Po hide an unusual idea of ​​the city, it seems to be in the countryside but you are right in the centre. It’s a slice of nature that creeps into the city, this is very poetic, it allows strange intersections in the head. In Turin, poetry is often hidden inside things that you don’t expect to find in a medium-large city».

Do urban transformations risk losing that poem?

«It is wrong to think that a city must always be the same, it is like saying that a child must never grow up. The poetry lies in knowing how to look at and direct that growth, after all cities are living organisms».