Cities and Memory

One of the most peculiar and mysterious features of a city has to be the way it collects, stores and shares its memories. Memories of big and small events, moments of  personal drama or of national upheaval, someones and everyone’s stories seem to intertwine in the curious fabric we call a city’s identity.

A city’s memory can be its greatest charm. Walls soaked up in love and romance smell of perfume and lure lovers century after century. Memory of power empowers and memory of courage inspires. Other times this memory might be the one poison slowly draining the life out of a city until it remains all but a memory itself. Some city’s strong and glorious past prevent them jealously from having a future while others, heavy under the weight of their history seek for a different tomorrow of forgetfulness and hope, thus risking their identity and purpose. And then there is the third type – the cities with artificially induced memory. Those cities which were built to represent something they are not. They stay frozen in time as in a never ending coma and leave their visitors with a sense of unease and confusion – for even a beautiful lie remains a lie and it is very difficult to built a future upon an unsteady ground.

Studying cities I am studying the ways a past can define a present or how it can forbid it. How something so temporary as a feeling can become something as eternal as a city and how it is the small stories that contribute to the big history of us.

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In Search of an Invisible Building

The Cosmicomics bt Italo Calvino are a collection of beautiful stories flowing through the pages with a witty view on science fiction and jokingly deep philosophical insights. The stories flow, but one thing about them stuck with me, teasing my mind and imagination. Doubtlessly that would be the deliberate choice of the autor to give utterly unpronoucable names to all his characters. Qfwfq, Xlthlx, Vhd Vhd, G’d(w)n, Bb’b and Mr Hnw – just to “name” a few.

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The Dam(n) Changes

“It is getting harder on me lately. The hardest thing is the loneliness. Once I used to stand tall, taller than anything on this big square and the bigger the square was getting, the prouder I was. Now I feel like I am disappearing into a pit in the middle of this endlessly big square that keeps me away from everything that could pull me back to life. A pit as deep as my memories and as grave as my sorrow. I weep not for the times that have gone by never to return, but the times that are to come, which I will see, but never really live. Looking forward to a brighter future is what makes a present so exciting. Looking forward to my future… I become desperate.

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