Notes on an illogical pattern of translations
– Entre Entrée: Between Entrance/Entering/The First Serving? a book of plates containing images made from Xeroxed reproductions of photographic prints made from negative film measuring the reflection of light off disparate surfaces, or,
– A pattern of disorderly translations in which every element is made over repeatedly in a constant process of replication and re-inscription, so that the city understood as a complex of cells or units which populate the images is analogous to the cellular structure of the body, which replicates itself endlessly on an array of differing cycles that imperfectly mirror their antecedents until the process itself lapses into inevitable entropy. Full stop
– An infinitely Xeroxed image would be equivalent to an over-exposure resulting in pure white, and thus any process of perpetual replication would ultimately erase its referent. Variation is not a deviation from the norm. The norm is variant.
– “Why not set a higher value on dispersal? Instead of living in just one place, and trying in vain to gather yourself together there, why not have five or six rooms dotted about Paris? I’d go and sleep in Denfert, I’d write in the Place Voltaire, I’d listen to Place Clichy, I’d make love at the Poterne des Peupliers, I’d eat in the Rue de la Tombe-Issoire, I’d read by the Parc Monceau, etc. Is that any more foolish, when all’s said and done, than putting all the furniture shops in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, all the glassware shops in the Rue de Paradis, all the tailors in the Rude du Sentier, all the Jews in the Rue de Rosiers, all the students in the Latin Quarter, all the publishers in Saint-Sulpice, all the doctors in Harley Street, all the blacks in Harlem?” — Georges Perec, “The Neighbourhood”
– The substance of any ‘here’ or ‘now’ will inevitably be plural, elusive, composed always of its opposites and in some state of flux or gradual transformation. Here is precisely not there, now precisely not then, this a mixture of many elements, when a coincidence of many nows. Contrast, contradiction and opposition must therefore be constitutive facets of place and time?
– From the Romans the network of roads, Latin, and the etymological genesis of a ‘right angle,’ or rectangle, which is the base unit on which the logic of urban space is measured. Are we divisible by quadrilateral models of space, if we can become adaptable within them? Is community fungible? Can a grid accommodate a pattern of irregularities?
– “the quest for the bourgeois utopia of a totally calculable and safe environment has paradoxically generated radical insecurity (Unheimlich). Indeed ‘where technology has achieved an apparent victory over the limits of nature . . . the coefficient of known and, more significantly, unknown danger has increased proportionately.’ In part, this is because the metropolis’s interdependent technological systems—as Americans discovered in the autumn of 2001—have become ‘simultaneously so complex and so vulnerable’. More profoundly, the capitalist big city is ‘extremely dangerous’ because it dominates rather than cooperates with Nature. (Although Bloch has the old-fashioned centralized industrial city in mind, his argument would presumably apply to the networked and polycentric metroregion as well.)” — Mike Davis “The Flames of New York”
– If plurality and contradiction are integrally related to both place and time, then they might be characteristically embodied in the city. These diametric extremes are contained (if not controlled) by the imprecise limits of the urban city as a kind of organism which expands, contracts, expires and reproduces itself according to its history, but in response also to external shocks and stimuli. It lives and breathes as we do but more slowly, through porous inorganic surfaces, caught in the same striation of past, present and future that marks our paradoxical relationship to time.
– Pictures of pictures of buildings are pictures of the compression of the multiple strata of time. Architecture preserves and disguises the specific quality of the time of its invention by persisting in a constant process of adaptation to change. So too do trees. And yet they seem antithetical and intrinsically opposed when conjoined in the banlieu of the city – contrasted or even at odds with one another on the basis of their differing forms of sustenance: organic and inorganic materials that replicate, grow, fail and expire.
– “Because towns are necessarily parasitic on their rural surroundings, urban ecosystems encompass more than what is found inside their walls. A town with three thousand inhabitants, a medium-sized town in the Middle Ages, needed to control the lands of at least ten villages around it (an area of approximately five square miles) to ensure a constant supply of edible biomass” — Manuel De Landa, “A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History”
– How can one think, much less Reprint the City, without pre-determining its limits (in space) and its nature (by fixing it in time)? It must at a minimum contain everything by which it is traversed – wind, effluence, Euclidean space, pre-recorded announcements, seeds, reflections, magnetic resonances, expired spermatozoa, capital flows, disparate languages, biomass and digital information, to name a few.
– Cities are characterised by the concatenation of multiple speeds or models of time, from that of subsidence, or bacterial reproduction to the speed of the Unified Wireless IP. How is a business park a park if each move at such distinct speeds? How is a city singular if it consists precisely in multiplicity? Is a city like a drawing, as defined by Berger, which “contains the time of its own making,” or like a photograph, which “receives almost instantaneously”?
– To transpose something of the illogical cacophony of a city’s periphery to the permeable surface of the printed page, and to do so in such a way that the constitutive dot pattern of the printed image is legible at a certain intimate distance, and imperceptible at a greater remove, is to suggest that all edges are unfinished and in a constant process of dissolution or re-construction. Or,
– Between beginnings or entrances we are on the cusp of transformation, which is a process of making over anew — making over from a point that lies midway between immersion and separateness, at a distance where change is not only imminent but susceptible to alteration.