[-empyre-] Marco Polo bids bon voyage to Jeremy, Naomi and Jeff on "Locative City"
"...So, then, yours is truly a journey through memory!"
The Great Khan, his ears always sharp, sat up in his hammock every time he
cauth the hint of a sigh in Marco's speech. "It was to slough off a burden
of nostalgia that you went so far away!" he exclaimed, or else: "You
return from your voyages with a cargo of regrets!" And he added,
sarcastically: "Meager purchases, to tell the truth, for a merchant of the
This was the target of all Kublai's questions about the past and the future.
For an hour he had been toying with it, like a cat with a mouse, and finally
he had Marco with his back against the wall, attacking him, putting a knee
on his chest, seizing him by the beard: "This is what I wanted to hear from
you: confess what you are smuggling: moods, states of grace, elegies!"
These words and actions were perhaps only imagined, as the two, silent and
motionless, watched the smoke rise slowly from their pipes. The could
dissolved at times in a wisp of wind, or else remained suspended in mid-air;
and the answer was in that cloud. As the puff carried the smoke away, Marco
thought of the mists that cloud the expanse of the sea and the mountain
ranges and, when dispelled, leave the air dry and diaphanous, revealing
distant cities. It was beyond that screen of fickle humors that his gaze
wished to arrive: the form of things can be discerned better at a distance.
Or else the cloud hovered, having barely left the lips, dense and slow, and
suggested another vision: the exhalations that hang over the roofs of the
metropolises, the opaque smoke that is not scattered, the hood of miasmata
that weighs over the bituminous streets. Not the labile mists of memory nor
the dry transparence, but the charring of burned lives that forms a scab on
the city, the sponge swollen with vital matter that no longer flows, the jam
of past, present, future that blocks existences calcified in the illusion of
movement: this is what you would find at the end of your journey.
-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, translated from the Italian by William
We are at the end of September's "Locative City." Artists/writers Jeremy
Hight, Naomi Spellman and Jeff Knowlton (US) were our guests this month in a
conversation, as Jeremy wrote, about "how navigation of place is a
Jeff and Naomi are initiating their new project on the city, "Interurban",
tomorrow, for a New York festival on mobile media October 1 to 3,
Spectropolis, in lower Manhattan.
(see below for details)
Thanks to Jeremy, Naomi and Jeff for taking us on location and to all of you
who wrote --Geri, Teri, Simon, Jason, Helen, Jen, James, Alan, Glenn, Brett,
Pall, Henry, Ruben, Jim, Agnese, Fran, Josephine, Ian, Christophe -- and all
the readers who lurked in the mist.
About InterUrban (INTERPRETIVE ENGINE FOR VARIOUS PLACES ON EARTH ): The
> Interpretive Engine creates a mythology of the city, incorporating current,
> local, and user specific details. For each listener experience, online
> information is collected and fed into a running narrative. Text, voice,
> generative audio, and images are composed on the fly and fed back to the
> The project takes into account local surrounding and events, and the available
> telecommunication infrastructure. Wireless access points allow intermittent
> access to internet based data as well as the determination of listener
> location and her proximity to other story participants. Internet queries
> instrumental in the story may include: images from space, overhead satellite
> views based on location, seismic activity, moon phases and tides, local
> weather, live news feed or google.
> Key to this project is a shift in consciousness of the listener, through an
> exposure of something that is already always present: the [invisible] wireless
> network. InterUrban encourage visitors to question how informational databases
> are accessed and controlled in an era of increasingly pervasive corporate and
> governmental control.
soundart performance videoinstallation multimedia painting theory
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