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Cortona On The Move 2023


The top priority on the list of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to “eradicate poverty.” For my entire life, I have been taught that this was an attainable goal and that the solution was going to be the middle class. Disappointment over the failures of egalitarian ideologies and fears about the excesses of capitalism would be diluted by the success of democracies, which would even out the extremes and give us a more structured middle class that would rule the world.

This did not happen. According to most metrics, the rich have gotten richer and the poor poorer. An average American would need to work for three million years to become as rich as the richest American, some of whom are richer than entire countries.

More than ever, the categories of More or Less define the world we live in, our aspirations, our fears, our affiliations. Abundance versus scarcity, the unnecessary versus the essential, the happy few versus the masses, accumulating versus shedding.

Francis of Assisi famously married “Lady Poverty,” and the Bible says that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” but most religions around the world now promise that “God will lift you out of poverty and make you rich.”

More and Less are categories whose value changes over the years and across geographies. They are not only economic categories; they are also ontological ones, a prism through which we view the world. From architecture to music, from fashion to literature, from cuisine to sports, almost everything could be seen as sitting on one side or the other of this emblematic divide.

We feel the time is ripe to investigate how these antipodes, More or Less, shape our world vision, our ideologies and our behavior. They are at the core of the stories we tell, be it king Midas, cursed for always wanting more and starved to death by his own golden touch, or the emperor with his new clothes, as told by Andersen, so obsessed with his desire that others see he had more that he could not even recognize that he actually had on less than anyone else.

More or Less are also themes very dear to photography, with entire genres having developed around the two. At Cortona On The Move 2023 we will explore More, looking at the past and present, and we will dwell Less on the stereotypes, delivering a program rich in ideas for understanding our world and poor in simplifications.

That’s More or Less it!

Paolo Woods, Artistic Director Cortona On The Move