Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Active Passivity II

Very simply I mean that we are the objects of messages and treatments that we must absolutely be aware of and learn about. The images 'addressed' to us 'preform' us, giving culture an appearance of naturalness that we must be vigilant about. Distance and observation are permanent necessities.

(Marc Augé, in interview)

The Metropolis

If during the touch down at Trude I hadn't read the name of the city written in nice big letters I would have thought that I'd arrived at the very same airport from which I'd taken off. The suburbs they made me cross were no different from those other ones: the same houses, yellowish and slightly green. I followed the same arrows, I drove round the same flowerbeds in the very same piazzas. On display in the streets in the centre were goods, packages, signs that didn't change, not even slightly. This was the first time I had come to Trude, but already I knew the hotel in which I happened to be staying; I'd already gone through my dialogue with the ironmongers; other days, exactly the same as this one, had ended with me looking through the same tumblers at the very same undulating navels.

Why come here to Trude? I asked myself. And already I wanted to leave.

You can resume your flight whenever you please, they told me. But you'll arrive at another Trude, exactly similar to this one in all its particulars. The world has been covered over by a single Trude that neither starts nor stops. The name that's shown at the airport is the only thing that will change.

(Italo Calvino: Trude, from Le città invisibili)

Driving II

On the motorway what matters isn't being but moving. At a reasonable distance you can talk about being at Pescara even if you're not there, because that's where you're going. For a body in continuous motion direction is more important than any particular point that won't be there moments later [...] On the motorway life is motion: continuous, constant, without interruption.


When driving along the motorway you can still do lots of things. Listen to music, speak on the phone, think, sing, drink. You can give yourself a scratch. [...] What you can't do is raise your legs onto the seat and knot them into the lotus position. You can't read a book or watch television. Or sleep. You can't maintain your gaze in another direction that isn't straight ahead.

(Carlo Lucarelli: Un giorno dopo l'altro)