Insane Cities

Misunderstanding everything about this place...

  • The Theatrics of Daily Life - Act II

    Act II - The Setting

    Architecturally speaking, you are the anthropometric component of a built space. Every doorway, street and habitable room is scaled to your dimensions and those of your belongings and transportation. Once this configuration is fixed however you are subject to a series of interactions that have nothing to do with the physical world and instead is social, political and economic.

    Every aspect of getting around in the urban realm is memorized using a representation of it even before you set foot out that door. These are communicative aspects of space that we regularly encounter in our daily lives. Maps depicting location, landscape, and subway lines and eventually, in your mind a desirability of association (Uptown? Midtown? Downtown!). Metaphors of physical space like openness and confinement are ways to define conceptualized space in absolute terms. This is your cue, like those x marks on the floor, where you know you will stand at the time you are supposed to. There is however, one hurdle to being one with the crowd. There is no rulebook, nor script to what the urban population is supposed to be. The idea of a melting pot suddenly is too naïve to describe the mix of people around you. There are political polygamists, moral lightning rods and eager affirmatives, all sharing the same subway pole as you are. Suddenly there is no coherence to valid public behavior as one would dream of in the act of being a resident. Sociologist and philosopher Henri Lefebvre said that the urban is social centrality, where the many elements and aspects of capitalism intersect in space despite often merely being part of the place for a short time, as is the case with goods or people in transit. Simply put, your city is actually a fractured collection of people putting up a united front for the here and now. You now have two audiences, one within the exclusive club of being local and another across the street, those despicable tourists! And your actions and opinions are conditioning the image of your city as much as those of someone who has lived in it their whole life. Feeling the pressure to perform yet?

    The diversity of experiences within a city, along with the variable of personal preferences has one guide and indicator that we have unprecedented access to, the hive mind. You have readily agreed to fulfill a voyeur’s dreams by giving him or her all that they desire of your life; your love for the city in maps, pictures and videos. It is a documented performance and neither of us would have it any other way. It lets everyone know what you are into and what you enjoy. The products you love, the coffee table book worthy cup of coffee and that unbearably uplifting sunset over the skyline of our, no, your city. And in turn you get to know what you need to see and how you need to behave, suddenly it is not an improvisation of characteristics, you have a defined character. The city has enveloped you and everyday is less of a chore when it is seen as a performative act, another staged addition to your story of survival.

  • The Theatrics of Daily Life - Act I

    Act I -  It Is YouThe stage is set the moment you step on the tarmac. No, not the tarmac, but the vaguely threatening square frame that will take you from the airport to the baggage claim and eventually to the tarmac, where you hail a cab or board a bus or meet a familiar face and you are...

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About this Blog

There is a firm discourse, opinion and even a strange complacence about our knowledge of the city, people, space and time. Labels abound; traditionalist, modernist, building, design, blog. What if critique or opinions are pointless because of a clear disdain for objectivity. How would I describe the world around me if I countered every POV with a logical argument? The blog will be a glimpse into everyday practices, with a strong bias towards un-designing urban-scape.

Authored by:

  • adityaghosh13

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