Seeing Calvino.

Seeing Calvino.

Illustrations of Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

Seeing Calvino is an attempt by the artists Leighton Connor, Matt Kish and Joe Kuth to “see,” through the creation of illustrations responding to and exploring the ideas in the texts, the work of writer Italo Calvino. The tumblr began in April 2014 with illustrations of Calvino’s Invisible Cities. A new illustration has been posted every Wednesday. They have now reached the last of the 55 Invisible Cities described in Italo Calvino’s book.

2015_05_15-06 Andria
Andria (Joe Kuth)

The book explores imagination and the imaginable through the descriptions of cities by an explorer, Marco Polo. The book is framed as a conversation between the aging and busy emperor Kublai Khan, who constantly has merchants coming to describe the state of his expanding and vast empire, and Polo. The majority of the book consists of brief prose poems describing 55 cities, apparently narrated by Polo. Short dialogues between the two characters are interspersed every five to ten cities and are used to discuss various ideas presented by the cities on a wide range of topics including linguistics and human nature. The book is structured around an interlocking pattern of numbered sections, while the length of each section’s title graphically outlines a continuously oscillating sine wave, or perhaps a city skyline. The interludes between Khan and Polo are no less poetically constructed than the cities, and form a framing device that plays with the natural complexity of language and stories [Wikipedia].

2015_05_15-05 Theodora
Theodora (Leighton Connor)

Over the nine chapters, Marco describes a total of fifty-five cities. The cities are divided into eleven thematic groups of five each:

  1. Cities & Memory
  2. Cities & Desire
  3. Cities & Signs
  4. Thin Cities
  5. Trading Cities
  6. Cities & Eyes
  7. Cities & Names
  8. Cities & the Dead
  9. Cities & the Sky
  10. Continuous Cities
  11. Hidden Cities
2015_05_15-07 Octavia
Octavia (Joe Kuth)

2015_05_15-08 CalvinoItalo Calvino (15 October 1923 – 19 September 1985) was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952–1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979). Lionised in Britain and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a noted contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

«Anche le città credono d’essere opera della mente o del caso, ma né l’una né l’altro bastano a tener su le loro mura.  D’una città non godi le sette o settantasette meraviglie, ma la risposta che dà a una tua domanda» -Marco Polo

my Calvino’s books collection …

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