With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities
-- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino
. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan
, the explorer Marco Polo
describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities
, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes
, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading
. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 30, 2012 -
In The Geographic Flow of Music
), researchers Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham propose a method to use data from the last.fm API
to track the world's listening habits by location and time, showing where shifts in musical tastes have originated and subsequently migrated. Results show music trends originating in smaller cities and flowing outward in unexpected ways, contradicting some assumptions in social science about larger cities being more efficient engines of (cultural) invention.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Apr 26, 2012 -
has an ongoing collection of high-quality full screen Quicktime VR panoramas of European cities, focusing on famous artistic and cultural landmarks (in Rome
), with interactive maps and travel information. A collaboration with national tourist offices by Swiss company Vrway Communication
, which also publishes Vrmag
, a bi-monthly review of panorama photography, and the FullscreenQTVR
directory in collaboration with the well-known panoramas.dk (previously mentioned on metafilter: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
posted by funambulist
on Mar 6, 2006 -
explores city streets and urban life through all kinds of signs: street graphics, architecture, street sounds. Put simply, a fantastic resource for urban photography.
posted by chill
on Nov 28, 2002 -