A mysterious group calling itself “Futurist Action” poured a bucket of red stuff in the Trevi Fountain in Rome yesterday (more pictures here and here). The unknown perpetrator left behind a stack of flyers explaining that the gesture is meant to criticize the waste of taxpayers’ money to subsidize mayor Veltroni’s Rome Film Fest this week, and ranting on about various ills of today’s society.
There is no permanent damage to the fountain, which has already been washed out and refilled with clear water. Of course we ought to protect our cultural heritage and have tough laws against vandalism, and of course the far-right anti-market pseudopolitical subtext in the futurist flyer is bonkers. But I can’t help appreciating the subversive creativity of the gesture, and in this I find myself in unusual and uncomfortable agreement with art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, who reportedly said “I can’t condemn the gesture: a bit of color in a sleeping city.”
UPDATE (Wednesday Oct. 24): journalists and bloggers are still in a lively debate over the episode. Here are a few links for each side of the debate (in Italian):