IC_Hero2.jpg

Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities

STU 1112: Core Studio II
Spring 2017: One-week exercise
Critic: Jill Desimini


Italo Cavino’s “Invisible Cities” is an imagined conversation between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Marco Polo shares tales about places that are grounded in both fact and fiction, but all the stories relate back to his native Venice.

The prompt challenged students to use Cavino’s stories as inspiration for imagining and speculating on different landscape types. This exercise explored a narrative sequence, various levels of ground, the vertical aspects of landscape through sections, and environmental qualities that affect experience of a space.

  “...the gods live in the buckets that rise…in the slender arches of the aqueducts, in all the columns of water, the vertical pipes, the plungers, the drains, all the way up to the weathercocks that surmount the airy scaffoldings of Isaura, a city that moves entirely upward.”   Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 20 (“Isaura”)

“...the gods live in the buckets that rise…in the slender arches of the aqueducts, in all the columns of water, the vertical pipes, the plungers, the drains, all the way up to the weathercocks that surmount the airy scaffoldings of Isaura, a city that moves entirely upward.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 20 (“Isaura”)

  “Valdrada’s inhabitants know that each of their actions is, at once,  that action and its mirror-image, which possesses the special dignity of images, and this awareness prevents them from succumbing for a single moment to chance and forgetfulness.”   Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 53 (“Valdrada”)

“Valdrada’s inhabitants know that each of their actions is, at once, 
that action and its mirror-image, which possesses the special dignity of images, and this awareness prevents them from succumbing for a single moment to chance and forgetfulness.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 53 (“Valdrada”)

  “It is true that the city is accompanied by two projections of itself,  one celestial and one infernal…Intent on piling up its carats of perfection, Beersheba takes for virtue what is now a grim mania to fill the empty vessel of itself.”   Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 111 (“Beersheba”)

“It is true that the city is accompanied by two projections of itself, 
one celestial and one infernal…Intent on piling up its carats of perfection, Beersheba takes for virtue what is now a grim mania to fill the empty vessel of itself.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 111 (“Beersheba”)

  “...and so, on and on, to the heart of the city, a totally new Olinda…and within this innermost circle there are already blossoming—though it is hard to discern them—the next Olinda and those that will grow after it.”   Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 129 (“Olinda”)

“...and so, on and on, to the heart of the city, a totally new Olinda…and within this innermost circle there are already blossoming—though it is hard to discern them—the next Olinda and those that will grow after it.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 129 (“Olinda”)

  “Perinthia’s astronomers are faced with a difficult choice. Either they must admit that all their calculations were wrong and their figures are unable to describe the heavens, or else they must reveal that the order of the gods is reflected exactly in the city of monsters.”   Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 144 (“Perinthia”)

“Perinthia’s astronomers are faced with a difficult choice. Either they must admit that all their calculations were wrong and their figures are unable to describe the heavens, or else they must reveal that the order of the gods is reflected exactly in the city of monsters.”

Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, p. 144 (“Perinthia”)