Pretending to Be…

Reminiscing Durer triggering Calvino…

This is new awareness advertisement for WWF, the Worldwide Wildlife Fund…

When I first saw this piece I was oddly attracted not not its brilliance (although it is a masterful work) but more at its familiarity with something… something… something I just couldn’t put my finger on…
But pretty quickly I remembered…

I remember back in freshman year I had to do a charcoal shadow analysis of this drawing…
Thats when I started to develop an unjustified hatred for anything related to Albrecht Durer…

But going back to the WWF piece its pretty amazing. [make sure you click on the pic to see it in its full sized glory] While it reminisces Durer’s Rhino, the cityscape built up into the profile of a Rhino gives off a Calvino-esk “Invisible Cities” feel.

“Invisible Cites” has to be my favorite book of all time, spanning all genres. I think I have read it over 30 times. Its a short book so you can easily finish it in one sitting, but the stories Calvino spins are so in-depth and creates such an imagination explosion in your mind that you will have trouble sleeping. Calvino’s
Here’s an excerpt:

In vain, great-hearted Kublai, shall I attempt to describe Zaira, city of high bastions. I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing. The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past: the height of a lamppost and the distance from the ground of a hanged usurper’s swaying feet; the line strung from the lamppost to the railing opposite and the festoons that decorate the course of the queen’s nuptial procession; the height of that railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn; the tilt of a guttering and a cat’s progress along it as he slips into the same window; the firing range of a gunboat which has suddenly appeared beyond the cape and the bomb that destroys the guttering; the rips in the fish net and the three old men seated on the dock mending nets and telling each other for the hundredth time the story of the gunboat of the usurper, who some say was the queen’s illegitimate son, abandoned in his swaddling clothes there on the dock.

As this wave from memories flows in, the city soaks it up like a sponge and expands. A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira’s past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls

“Invisible Cities” Is what got me into Architecture and Design. The book is about Marco Polo basically visiting all the major cities in the world and retelling his experiences. Of course he retells it in an over exaggeration with poetic justice which is what makes the story so intriguing and mind blowing. Calvino’s words act like bricks that build a visual city in your mind and the same feeling that people get reading his book is the same feeling that I want any buildings I create in the future to give off.

Its my inspiration that keeps me going.


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