We are told that these photographs were taken during the course of a year, early in the morning, but the year is not specified. It’s impossible not to compare the deserted, depopulated city, the shuttered shops and the empty streets with the year of the pandemic and lockdown and the ensuing seismic redrawing of our relationship with the spaces, with the emptiness, the vacuum, of the urban space, the overall thinning of our intrapersonal relationships. In Giovanna Silva’s Milan, the heart into which the photographer is tuned into could be classed as one of those signs of life that, rare and often merely allusive, pop up in the desert – a feeling we all remember from our months of confinement. The famous omenoni [colossus] that support the façade of the house of the same name are loaded with extra intensity by the anthropomorphic features that make them stand out from the abstract modern and contemporary lines of the other buildings favoured by the photographer – while there are no flesh and blood people, at least there are some in stone! Two empty, snow-covered beer cans have been left on a balustrade, alluding to a meeting between two people; the graffiti on the walls speak to a communicative and dialogic intent despite their surreal nature ("Acab / Stop scritte / Stop vandali / Prima i muri italiani" [Acab / Stop Writing / Stop Vandals / Italian walls first]). In the desert of reality, as in the interstellar spaces, every sign is accentuated and empowered.