A polychromatic vision
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow is a 1992 novel by Danish writer Peter Høeg. Smilla is a young woman living in Copenhagen. Her mother was a Greenland Inuit who died young. Despite the years spent in Denmark, Smilla has never managed to adapt to the environment. She spends her days alone, with only the company of Esajas, an Inuit child, who sees her as the only person who can take care of her without her being afraid. When Esajas is found dead, Smilla does not believe the police version, according to which the child had slipped on the snowy roof of a building. For her, it could not have been an accident. Her knowledge of snow and ice leads her to challenge the police’s “established explanation” and she begins to investigate on her own, piecing together an increasingly disturbing truth.
Why start an article on Franco Battiato’s conception of physics with a literary reference? Because, just as Inuit culture has many terms to define “snow,” so for the musician from Ionia there is no single way, no univocal language to describe reality. Even physics enters fully into the multicolored universe of the artist’s expressions. Reality, for Battiato, teems with multiple levels that intersect and rise, starting from the most fundamental realms to the highest, ethereal and spiritual ones. This stratification of the real, to be properly represented, needs languages that are different, but not disjointed and independent from each other. Just as Smilla succeeds in arriving at the truth thanks to her polysemic knowledge, freeing herself from the rigid orthodoxy of the forces of law and order, so Battiato followed a polychrome path that, through physics, could “seek the One above Good and Evil” and grasp the “divine image of this reality.”