Half-Cities

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death ride with its crouched motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories, the places, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half-city.

And so every year the day comes when the workmen remove the marble pediments, lower the stone walls, the cement pylons, take down the ministry, the monument, the docks, the petroleum refinery, the hospital, load them on trailers, to follow from stand to stand their annual itinerary. Here remains the half-Sophronia of the shooting galleries and the carousels, the shout suspended from the cart of the headlong roller coaster, and it begins to count the months, the days it must wait before the caravan returns and a complete life can begin again.

– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

Representations of thought

Consider this: the written word

Realize the power of thoughts captured on paper

Ideas described, memories recorded, feelings reflected

The written word is heavier than the paper

The written word seems more real than the thought itself

 

Consider this: the moving picture

Compositions of moving light and color

Capturing a moment, but taking the place of one of the senses

Telling stories, images of the past

 

Consider this: the painted portrait

Capturing more than just reality, capturing the soul

Every stroke records a detail, never to be seen in a photograph

Captures something more real than reality

 

Consider this: the written note

Melody written without words

Vibrations of air, recorded as marks on paper

Simple and elegant, but dense and full of information

Meaningless without an instrument

Elegant symmetry

I recently had the privilege of studying some of Andrea Palladio’s seminal work in Vicenza. The father of the neoclassical style, Palladio mastered the art of symmetry and classical orders, simple proportions, and elegant design that was functional and very pleasing to the eye. 

Lines on a Page

Sometimes one reaches a point when experiences are far too much to process and express, in those cases, it is often best to execute a “memory dump” either writing or drawing (or whatever one’s preferred method of self expression) whatever random things are cluttering the mind, essentially clearing space for the experiences to be thoroughly processed. To some it may seem like gibberish, but it is an important step in the process, and for those who are looking, it can hold some secrete beauty.

Virtues of Poetry

The Beauty of wax is its power to yield

To the finger’s skillful touch;

Thus taught, it can shape the god of War,

Chaste Wisdom or Love or her son.

The secret springs quench a flame,

Or gladden the flowers and fields;

So the mind of man, through the gentle arts

Is taught the wisdom of change.

— Pliny the Younger, Letter to Fuscus Salinator on the virtues of intellectual exercise through writing, extolling poetry as a means of exercising the mind.