Mind blowing of the day #3
Once upon a time, on this site, long ago, before I took down the old archives, I posted my favorite chapter from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Here it is:
Trading Cities 4 .
In Ersilia, to establish the relationships that sustain the city’s life, the inhabitants stretch strings from the corners of the houses, white or black or gray or black-and-white according to whether they mark a relationdhip of blood, of trade, authority, agency. When the strings become so numerous that you can no longer pass among them, the inhabitants leave: the houses are dismantled; only the strings and their supports remain.
From a mountainside, camping with their household goods, Ersilia’s refugees look at the labyrinth of taut strings and poles that rise in the plain. That is the city of Ersilia still, and they are nothing.
They rebuild Ersilia elsewhere. They weave a similar pattern of strings which they would like to be more complex and at the same time more regular than the other. Then they abandon it and take themselves and their houses still farther away.
Thus, when traveling in the territory of Ersilia, you come upon the ruins of abandoned cities, without the walls which do not last, without the bones of the dead which the wind rolls away: spiderwebs of intricate relationships seeking a form.
I was thinking, again, of this chapter today. The little secret something something I’m working on these days is truly made possible only through the amazing web of brilliant and wonderful people I know all over the place. And we have spent years building threads and circling back and supporting each other’s visions - tied together in some shared grand endeavor, connected throughout open space.
One of the most precious people in my life has often not lived in the same city as I. One night, long ago, as I sat sweltering on a late summer rooftop on St. Marks Place, she drove along the darkened highways of Northern California and offered up an analysis of the tread that connects her heart to mine, and the lack of difference distance and time makes to the strength of that fabric. Is sustains, regardless of those other logistics. It is always there.
Those threads are all over and in so many forms, and are a beautiful vision that daily haunts me as to how the world created with so many people I love takes form. And how we sustain and grow through the connections, breathing life into each other’s places and endeavors.
And so I searched the internet to see if I could find the text of the chapter to reread. And, I did. But then I also found a series of images including the above, where artists used the concept of the chapter in recreations throughout Berlin! Just gorgeous! And so so wonderful! Here is the link to more pictures.
Mind successfully blown once again.