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Italo Calvino's beloved, intricately crafted novel about an Emperor's travels—a brilliant journey across far-off places and distant memory. “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.” In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo—Mongol emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts his host with stories of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. As Marco Polo unspools his tales, the emperor detects these fantastic places are more than they appear.
A beautifully designed guidebook to the unnoticed yet essential elements of our cities, from the creators of the wildly popular 99% Invisible podcast
How can we understand the infinite variety of cities? Darran Anderson seems to exhaust all possibilities in this work of creative nonfiction. Drawing inspiration from Marco Polo and Italo Calvino, Anderson shows that we have much to learn about ourselves by looking not only at the cities we have built, but also at the cities we have imagined. Anderson draws on literature (Gustav Meyrink, Franz Kafka, Jaroslav Hasek, and James Joyce), but he also looks at architectural writings and works by the likes of Bruno Taut and Walter Gropius, Medieval travel memoirs from the Middle East, mid-twentieth-century comic books, Star Trek, mythical lands such as Cockaigne, and the works of Claude Debussy. Anderson sees the visionary architecture dreamed up by architects, artists, philosophers, writers, and citizens as wedded to the egalitarian sense that cities are for everyone. He proves that we must not be locked into the structures that exclude ordinary citizens--that cities evolve and that we can have input. As he says: "If a city can be imagined into being, it can be re-imagined as well.”
The Invisible City explores urban spaces from the perspective of a traveller, writer, and creator of theatre to illuminate how cities offer travellers and residents theatrical visions while also remaining mostly invisible, beyond the limits of attention. The book explores the city as both stage and content in three parts. Firstly, it follows in pattern Italo Calvino's novel Invisible Cities, wherein Marco Polo describes cities to the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan, to produce a constellation of vignettes recalling individual cities through travel writing and engagement with artworks. Secondly, Gillette traces the Teatro Potlach group and its ongoing immersive, site-specific performance project Invisible Cities, which has staged performances in dozens of cities across Europe and the Americas. The final part of the book offers useful exercises for artists and travellers interested in researching their own invisible cities. Written for practitioners, travellers, students, and thinkers interested in the city as site and source of performance, The Invisible City mixes travelogue with criticism and cleverly combines philosophical meditations with theatrical pedagogy.
This book offers an original and detailed reading of Plato's Republic, one of the most influential philosophical works in the development of Western philosophy. The author discusses the Republic in terms of discursive events and political acts. Plato's act is placed in the context of a politico-discursive crisis in Athens at the end of the fifth and the beginning of the fourth century B.C. that gave rise to the dialogue's primary question, that of justice. The originality of Dr. Ophir lies in the way he reconstructs the Republic's different spatial settings--utopian, mythical, dramatic and discursive--using them as the main thread of his interpretation. Against the background of Plato's critique of the organization of civic-space in the Greek polis, the author relates the spatial settings in the Plato text to each other. This provides a basis for a re-examination of the relationship between philosophy and politics, which Plato's work advocates, and which it actually enacted.
Reading African cities into contemporary theory—reprint of a richly illustrated reference work In their internationally acclaimed publication Kinshasa: Tales of the Invisible City, anthropologist Filip De Boeck and photographer Marie-Françoise Plissart provide a history not only of the physical and visible urban reality that Kinshasa presents today, but also of a second, invisible city as it exists in the mind and imagination of its inhabitants. They bring to light a mirroring reality lurking underneath the surface of the visible world and explore the constant transactions that take place between these two levels in Kinshasa’s urban scape. With the exhibition that accompanied the release of their Kinshasa book, the authors won a Golden Lion at the 11th International Architecture Bienniale in Venice, 2004. This beautifully illustrated publication is now again made available. Based on longstanding field research, it provides insight into local social and cultural imaginaries, and thus in the imaginative ways in which local urban subjects continue to make sense of their worlds and invent cultural strategies to cope with the breakdown of urban infrastructure.
In Kublai Khan's garden, at sunset, the young Marco Polo diverts the aged emperor from his obsession with the impending end of his empire with tales of countless cities past, present, and future.
From the myth of Arcadia through to the twenty-first century, ideas about sustainability – how we imagine better urban environments – remain persistently relevant, and raise recurring questions. How do cities evolve as complex spaces nurturing both urban creativity and the fortuitous art of discovery, and by which mechanisms do they foster imagination and innovation? While past utopias were conceived in terms of an ideal geometry, contemporary exemplary models of urban design seek technological solutions of optimal organisation. The Venice Variations explores Venice as a prototypical city that may hold unique answers to the ancient narrative of utopia. Venice was not the result of a preconceived ideal but the pragmatic outcome of social and economic networks of communication. Its urban creativity, though, came to represent the quintessential combination of place and institutions of its time. Through a discussion of Venice and two other works owing their inspiration to this city – Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital – Sophia Psarra describes Venice as a system that starts to resemble a highly probabilistic ‘algorithm’, that is, a structure with a small number of rules capable of producing a large number of variations. The rapidly escalating processes of urban development around our big cities share many of the motivations for survival, shelter and trade that brought Venice into existence. Rather than seeing these places as problems to be solved, we need to understand how urban complexity can evolve, as happened from its unprepossessing origins in the marshes of the Venetian lagoon to the ‘model city’ that endured a thousand years. This book frees Venice from stereotypical representations, revealing its generative capacity to inform potential other ‘Venices’ for the future.