Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The yarn bombing war of east Milan

A few weeks ago in my neighbourhood of Lambrate, some poles on Via Conte Rosso were yarn bombed. Way way back in the day, this street was the centre of the old comune of Lambrate, before it became part of the city of Milan in the 1920s. It's been revigorated during the last couple of years, with lots of work being done to the street itself and new busineses opening (it's all gone a bit too hipster-ish for my tastes, but that's another discussion). There's a shop on the street called RedRoom which sells hand-made goods, and as I discovered recently they also hold 'urban-knitting' lessons, which teach people how to decorate urban landscapes with wool instead of graffiti. As part of these lessons, students yarn bombed some of the poles outside the shop, knitting colourful socks for them. It provided some cheerful decorations during grey winter days.

However, the local police weren't a fan of it. About 10 days ago they arrived in the neighbourhood and cut the socks off the poles, to the disappointment of many residents. According to the polizia locale the yarn bombing was against the highway code, specifically the rules against damaging road signage. I was disappointed too the morning I walked down the road to get to work, and saw that the colourful socks were gone. I had no idea what had happened until an article about them being removed showed up in the online Milanese edition of national newspaper La Repubblica!

But... the yarn bombers haven't given up! New socks have appeared on of the street, a little way further up from the shop, outside a little park. Now it just remains to see how long they will survive over the Christmas holiday!

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