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Anthropologist Arjun Appadurai hits Milan

The last Future Ways of Living event, a co-production conceived by Meet the Media Guru and Triennale di Milano during the XXI Triennale Esposizione Internazionale Milano 2016 – 21st Century. Design After Design, took place on Wednesday 27 July.

Over 1300 people gathered at Triennale to listen to anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, among the most eminent experts worldwide on the cultural dimension of migratory and globalisation processes.

The full Salone d’Onore at Triennale and a crowd of enthusiasts on the staircase before the large screen (set up for the occasion) confirmed the interest of Milan and its people for thought-provoking events. A similar turnout was had on the web: the evening hashtag #futureways – became a trending topic on Twitter, while the streaming live posted thousands of contacts from all over Italy.

Some images shot by Martina Acquistapace are available in the gallery.

Through linguistics, finance, design and literature, Appadurai’s lecture drew an “anthropological” map of our time. According to the Indian scholar, «we have moved from the concept of individual to the concept of “dividual”: people have ceased to have an identity, which today is pulverised and scattered».

This feeling is heightened by the multiplication of “personalities” offered by the coexistence between the real and the virtual. Religion, too, suffered the consequences of these changes: «Religion has always searched the link between the visible and the invisible. Today the invisible is available and managed through a screen» explained the Indian anthropologist.

More and more disoriented, “people are nostalgic of a world based on clear identities. The reaction is the current resurgence of xenophobia and populism” added Appadurai. Reference to migration was just around the corner: according to the Indian scholar, “rather than a problem in itself, migrants make the contradictions of our ways surface: we cannot globalise finance and currencies without expecting an ensuing movement of people».