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 -
City of Sound
as it describes itself, is a blog about cities, design, architecture, media, music, etc. But calling it a blog really does it a disservice. City of Sound is a category-killer; amazingly dense, thoughtful, erudite, and compelling, it begins to catalog our urban identity. A bit of reminiscent of Metropolis
magazine, if it was edited by Robert Rauschenberg
. If you've not visited, do yourself a favor. It is a treasure trove. [more inside]
posted by spacely_sprocket
on Nov 17, 2007 -
(Geocities) ... is the compulsion, upon seeing a long crane boom reaching skyward in the distance, to drive over and see what's holding it up.
The crane capital of the world is Germany, where Demag, Gottwald, Krupp, Liebherr and others make some cranes with eye-opening numbers: more than 60 feet long, with 10 axles, and able to lift 1,000 tons.
Now sometimes cranes tip over
, touch power lines and so on; and there's a website for that too.
posted by kurumi
on Jun 12, 2003 -
The New York City I first saw in 1985 has partially disappeared, and vanishes more everyday. The New York of 50 years ago, the veneer of daily life in the city, is but a memory. The city of 100 years ago is a shadow, remembered by no one. But the past remains
, if not in direct human memory, in "lampposts, advertisements, bridges, buildings, signs, and things you pass every day in the street that bear silent witness to the NYC that once was.
" What lies forgotten below the streets
? The decaying splendor of an bygone age
, as well as the deep roots
that have sprouted and nourished the present, living city...
posted by evanizer
on Mar 22, 2002 -