CounterCartographies Reading – Invisible Cities
MALAYSIA DESIGN ARCHIVE and IMAGINED MALAYSIA
Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities (1972)
** Those who would like to come earlier, we are usually in by 6:30PM. Feel free to bring dinner along or tapau from across the street. Those requiring an area to pray, we can arrange a space for you. **
As part of our CounterCartographies initiative to understand visual culture in relation to the politics of space, our monthly reading group hopes to create conversations to consider ways in which the built environment can be understood both historically and theoretically. We welcome people from all backgrounds, language groups and walks of life to join in our discussion.
In our third instalment of this series, we move away from the visions of planners and architects to explore the experiences of the city as a space, an idea or a cultural narrative in literature. We will be reading Italo Calvino’s much-celebrated novella, Invisible Cities. Published in 1972, Invisible Cities posits an imaginary discussion between the Venetian explorer, Marco Polo and the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. Throughout the dialogue, Polo describes a series of cities, each radically different from the other, each bearing the name of a woman.
These are fantastical and beguiling places. There’s Hypathia, a city of beautiful lagoons but where “crabs were biting the eyes of the suicides, stones tied around their necks”; Laudomia, the city of the unborn, whose inhabitants have constructed a parallel city for those yet to come; Octavia, the spider-web city, whose residents live suspended over an abyss, supported by a net they know won’t last long; and Argia, a city with earth instead of air.
At some point, you realize that Calvino is not talking about cities that are constructed of steel and concrete but cities of ideas. Each city represents a thought experiment, touching on everything from ideas about place and memory to the elusive nature of storytelling itself. Invisible cities is not a typical work of fiction. Calvino blends real and imagined details into a concoction of irreverent tales, brushing aside conventional forms of narrative to ruminate on the larger ideas that encapsulate the human condition.
Invisible Cities is a pleasantly disorienting book. Not because Calvino’s writing is difficult to penetrate, but simply because he packs so much into each sentence. The book can be read in a myriad of different ways. And each reading of it provides different insights and surprises.
In this session, we will attempt to do justice to one of Calvino's most well-known text by making sense and teasing out the disparate ideas that are presented by Calvino’s imagined cities. These include but are not limited to Calvino’s fictional description of different cities, his philosophical examination of human nature and language, Calvino’s politics about the built environment and his thoughts on time, space and memory. Finally, we will contrast Invisible Cities to the two texts that we have previously read in our reading sessions in terms of their different narrative forms and conceptions of the city.
It is highly recommended that you read the book in its entirety. It’s not a long and tedious read. The book may be downloaded from: https://monoskop.org/
A separate reading guide will be provided two weeks in advance to better facilitate readers in understanding the text. To receive it, please sign up at:https://docs.google.com/
Image: Kowloon Walled City (1898 - 1994).
Box Office Opens
From 25th January 2018 to 25th January 2018
Malaysia Design Archive Jalan Rotan Kampung Attap Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Other Events You May Like
The Modern Seniman : The Fate of Art & Culture in Malaysia
The second forum of WOKE Forums 2018 will be titled "The Modern Seniman : The Fate of Art & Culture in Malaysia". Stemming from a complicated history and a diverse population, Malaysia's artistic [...]
A History of Early Islamic Ideology and Coinage
Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya, [...]
【Tea Philo 哲學茶席 14】耿一偉之 《3秒，5天，7年：從台北藝術節到衛武營》
主講者： 耿一偉 -衛武營國家文化藝術中心戲劇顧問，前臺北藝術節藝術總監，負責策展活動，與愛丁堡藝術節、維也納藝術節等知名單位合作演出。[...]
Sandiwara 2018 Vol.1: New Theatre for A New Malaysia
It's back! And we've confirmed dates for 3 #SandiwaraMaTA events this year. All will fall on Sunday nights, when it's most unlikely for [...]
Stories By Creators
PETALZ’s mission is to help you connect with people through stories, as Petalz believes stories have the power to make a difference in your life and with those you connect with.Besides learning [...]
Dancing Forward 4 : A Round Table For Dance
Dancing Forward 4 : A Round Table For DanceFREE ADMISSION09 JUNE 2018 (sat) @ 2:00pm~4:30pm venue/ ︎ The Selangor And Kuala Lumpur Kwang Tung Association Registration is required /︎ 016-[...]
【Tea Philo 哲學茶席 12】Jasmine Chou 周琍敏之《打造屬於創作者的文化創意樞紐》
“Songshan Cultural and Creative Park has been quiet for 80 years. Now it has been transformed into a flagship base for designing, cultural and creative arts with its imaginative atmosphere from a fo[...]
Ilham Public Lecture: John Clark on ‘Raden Saleh and Juan Luna’
ILHAM PUBLIC LECTURE JOHN CLARK 19 May 3:00PM - 5.00PM'Raden Saleh and Juan Luna: A Comparative Perspective'The ILHAM Public Lectures, a series of lectures with renowned art historians and [...]
John Clark on ‘Issues in studying the Japanese avant-garde’
In conjunction with Ilham Public Lecture: John Clark, Professor Clark will be giving a campus seminar to ex[...]
Kevin Chan: Japanese Visual Propaganda in Malaya
Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya in collaboration with Malaysia Design Archive presentRADIANT REPRESENTATIONS: JAPANESE VISUAL PROPAGANDA AND THE GREATER EAST ASIAN CO-PRO[...]