It’s been a long time in the making but Invisible Cities is set to launch in just a month!
The project continues my investigation into the relationships between people and place, begun during my Human Ecology MSc thesis. Invisible Cities involves digital technologies to map and unlock audio-based memories and stories held in the Melbourne city centre.
Invisible Cities was going by the working title of ‘Urban Myths’ for a long time, but just recently I flicked through my copy of Italo Calvino’s ‘Invisible Cities’ when I had the idea of naming the project after the book. Some notes written my scrawly handwriting on the inside back cover caught my eye:
One can never know a city in its entirety. It is a mystery that will only be understood in pieces, a few pieces per person. Only together can we understand the city. But even then, we can’t. Never assume you know a city.
The city is still under construction. Made not just by the cranes and the road workers, but by the buskers, the street artists, the shoppers, the workers. We create the landscape, the soundtrack and the personality of the cities as we live their lives in and through it. But still we can’t know it.
I would have scrawled this and then forgotten about it in 2008 while reading for my Masters dissertation about resilience in urban communities. But I guess those thoughts stayed with me as it’s nearly identical to the description I’ve used in the series of projects I’ve been developing about people and place, in which Invisible Cities, Die Insel and The People’s Wangaratta fit. It all started from Italo Calvino. Who knew.