On Cities: We are Multiplicities

Text: Bill Psarras © 2015

Embryos under becoming

For a city it is not only the asphalt that makes it tangible. Similarly, in all of us it is not only the skin that renders us real. Both cities and humans are characterized by a multiple nature. We are dynamic constellations of flesh, emotions, thoughts, imagination, actions, sociality, stupidity and intellectualism. Yet, the constellation does not tell the truth – it does not exist without thought, intention and action. We are mobilized souls, creatures of interaction, wanderers and explorers always in search of the next step. It is such quality of this step that gives us the potential to transgress the thresholds of geographical, social and imaginative matrix. We are embryos in motion, based on a constant becoming. Likewise, cities are place-based embryos with architectural, social, technological, topographical, political and poetic potential.

The geography of human organs: Cities under flesh

Going deeper the city and the human body: the brain, the stomach, the pancreas, the liver, the heart, the genitalia, the muscles – all are little topographies of us defined by millions micro-mobilities and neuro-becomings. The Northern city – the brain – comes to define the core of our existence. Thousands of millions of neurons in complex, fragile and perfect formations define our understanding for ourselves and the world. Everything is there, which makes that city a crucial one, a powerful one – yet defined by every micro-city in the South, West and East of human body. Traversing the landscape, there is a city in the Central side of map: the heart. There someone encounters the very nexus of activity – a rhythmical city always in a mode of giving the tempo to our existence. Heart and Brain – The central/northern alliance which renders us available to exist. Lymph nodes, arteries and veins are cities always to serve transition. Everything finds itself in mobility there. Hypothetically, someone goes there with a destination somewhere else. It is not static but you go there to transfer, to be the messenger, a street of light data itself. While traversing the landscape almost in the central point of our maps, someone encounters two similar cities – almost mirror cities – the lungs. They are in constant connection with the outer – everything re-updates itself there with oxygen. Two cities always windy but (hopefully) with clear skies. As long you slow down, you can almost think that both of them protect the rhythmical city: the heart. They are there to almost define the map of ourselves. After them and a moving part of ‘earth’ (arms/hands), someone can possibly encounter the outside, the environment around us that presents itself like the sea – full of potential, risk, hope and desire. Going South, you encounter other smaller cities. Among them, the pancreas, the kidneys, the intestines, the stomach: extended cities of the South that digest or regulate our data – a landscape of slower rhythms but of big importance. Southern landscapes – the genitalia – invite fertility, desire and constitute a city of arousal, love and future. Taking an imaginative look through such landscapes, it seems that the sky is protected by a simple but perfect architecture. Sculptures that mysteriously reveal themselves in the sky: the bones – they are there to protect, to make the landscape stable. Taking a look from there someone sees two mirror mobile landscapes in the distant south. Two fleshy earths that extend themselves in the horizon in constant motion – the legs. Cities are generic formations of activity but to delve into them shows an experience of intense rhythms and exchanges. It shows (once more) the geological nature of the urban, which incorporates the material, the immaterial, the poetic and the mobilized.

We are multipli-cities

South is where we all are unconsciously attached, but North is a landscape to be explored.

Ed Fairburn - The Milky Way (© 2013)

Ed Fairburn – The Milky Way (© 2013)

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