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“my imagination is a monastery and i am its monk”

i came upon this nondescript vertical slit in a nondescript pink wall somewhere near a nondescript piramide.
curioser and curioser…

The feel of not to feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbed sense to steel it,
Was never said in rhyme.

his grave does not bear his name.
three guesses? extra points if you don’t touch google.

and sheepishly i hang my head

this entry is a placeholder for blog five

…which currently exists someplace in the future. I apologize for the delay, and will in the meantime claim the immunity granted to me from the results of progetto due. (no explanations or excuses, just a recurring drawing of pure blanks.)

but here’s an image (albeit one photographed on a different continent).

(post-script that I blog here too)

highway 58. okinawa, japan.

piranesi finishes the story


unison falling into harmony

from atop the avetine hill sometime between pre-sunset and post-sunset

looking up

st. patrick's well in orvieto

lieutenant mamiya once told a story about wells
and since then i never quite thought about them the same way

question 04: what’s the difference between a building and a city?

notes on villas and an ancient city

The reader’s initial reaction would be to question the opposite. What are the similarities between a large building and a small city? There are endless distinctions between the two. A building needs to be situated within a city to exist–is one not an entity of the other? Where to begin discussing the differences?

The answer obviously lies in scale. A small city will always be larger than a big building. That’s how it works on The Built Environment Food Chain. But ancient Ostia didn’t exactly trump Hadrian’s Villa.

Then maybe the answer lies in infrastructure. Cities with their roads and sidewalks and neighborhoods and districts–buildings, regardless how large, don’t function in the same way. Nevermind the corridors and hallways and stairs and rooms of Hadrian’s Villa resembling the roads and buildings of ancient Ostia–not only did they resemble them, they also functioned similarly: roads and hallways as circulation, rooms and buildings housing specific functions.

Okay, so maybe it’s really about the user. Cities are built for everyone to inhabit, but not anyone would (or could) walk into Hadrian’s Villa. But you did have people performing various roles within each: citizens and residents, visitors and guests, workers and servants.

Or maybe it’s this: maybe there there are no fundamental differences between a large building and a small city. Maybe the real difference lies in the nature of these inherent similarities, in the context where each lies. A large building does not exist without its surrounding city, and neither will a small city exist without its surrounding world. But each operates uniquely within its walls.

question 03: what did one wall say to another wall?

no notes, just some words about three friends

They’d sit together like this on Sundays — well, also Saturdays and Mondays and holy-days and work-days and autumn days and summer days and most every-day really. But Sundays were their favorite. The first would grumble about the cars and trucks and mopeds. “They speed through here screeching their tires and swerving through my turns like they don’t know what to expect.” The second would roll his shutters at the influx of tourists spilling from the Pantheon. “They don’t know where to go. Along my left or along my right. They can’t figure out what’s hiding behind me. I’m not on those maps.” The third would raise a brow at the church-goers. “Sitting on those steps and looking at us like we’re maybe one wall, or two walls, or a wall behind a wall.” And they’d look at each other and smirk, content in their ability to surprise, disorient, and confuse.

question 02: how does a building meet the ground?

notes on the below (& before)

Ground is a relative term. While it typically refers to the land on which a building sits, the ground in Rome is not merely land — below grade, there exists a history. A ruin. An artifact. A whole other city. A stratigraphical study is not only a geological endeavor but it also becomes an inquiry into these histories, these ruins, these artifacts. Throughout Rome’s rich past, cities have been built after cities built after cities, and the result is a Rome whose identity lies in the coexistence of these pasts. This coexistence occurs in different ways: in the preservation and display of ruins (i.e. Forum Romanum & Parco Della Musica, pictured right); two, in the combination and integration of building (i.e. Basilica di San Clemente); and three, in the concealment and addition atop (i.e. below everywhere you step).

A building meets the ground with respect, as if greeting an elder.

question 01: how do you know you are in rome?

santa maria in trastevere

notes on the eternal city

The nomadic season is a tricky one. There exists a medley of faces and places and cities and seas, experienced from above and below and amidst. This becomes a source of apathy for the tourist, for whom the medley is a blur. But it becomes a challenge for the traveler, for whom every new place is an opportunity for the unfamiliar to teach him something about himself.

There are worlds here. An overload of worlds. Hundreds of amazing little worlds. There is life in the sky, where stone and concrete masters created new lines of sight. There is life in the light, where the oranges and browns glow at every hour. There is life in the distance, in the ruins, in the urban hills and valleys. There is life in the life, in business men wearing three-piece suits on vespas, in the crowds whistling at cafes, in the old woman outside my window who never says hello to me.

There is life down below. I look to the cobblestones to ground me, the black tile sampietrino slipped beneath the city like carpet. The irregular placement and large gaps, though responsible for lots of tripping and cursing, greet me like an old friend. They encourage me to walk slowly atop them, they remind me i have a solid foundation in this new place.

I know I’m in Rome because my feet are on the ground and my head is in the sky.