Week 3: 8/2/16
How does Calvino describe his cities?
What is the role that the monuments play?
How does the urban interact with the natural?
How do we distinguish between nature and man-made?
Calvino describes his cities sometimes visually or else leaves it our imagination. He talks about his cities through people, places, monuments and incidents. Sometimes there are cities he talks about with which we can relate too and sometimes they introduce us to a concept we haven’t even thought of. In the city of Fedora, each version of the city is depicted in a crystal globe at the museum in the centre. We can somehow relate this to our own museum, but the changes in our case aren’t that drastic as in Fedora.
Monuments are a significant part of Calvino’s tales about the city. They are the reason we can distinguish the cities from one another. In other monuments which Calvino describe help us shape our imagination of the city. In some places where Calvino describes the rituals of the people rather than the monuments, we are bound to visualise how the monument would be like in such kind of a city. The museum or they gray building in the city of Fedora isn’t given much importance until the end when it hits you that in the ever-changing city of Fedora, it is the only one aspect that doesn’t undergo a change. We understand how vital the old building is even though it is mentioned very briefly.
The interaction between the urban and the natural is a pivotal feature in the tales of the cities. Calvino portrays this relation in his cities through his observations. He describes the habit of the inhabitants with reference to the surroundings. In many cities we notice this interaction like how people live in the spaces occupied by the city, or how peculiar practices they follow. In the city of Fedora each of the inhabitant have their own crystal globe at the museum to which they feel a connection. For the inhabitant, the miniature city of Fedora in that particular globe is the Fedora of their dreams.
There are times when we face difficulties in trying to differentiate between the man-made and nature. In Fedora the grey building in the centre suggests that it is the only thing that has been constant in the city. It can be debated whether it is a naturally occurring object that doesn’t participate in the change that occurs or is it man-made. But we are aware the fact that though it is a constant, it progresses as the city transforms.