Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SFMOMA: INFINITE CITY: A SAN FRANCISCO ATLAS Launches July 15!

I am fascinated by history, by cartography, by the myths that we made of times and places, myths that seem sometimes more real that reality. So, I'm really looking forward to this book. Inspired by Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities is a mapping project that takes place in three media: a book to be published by the University of California Press in November 2010, a series of six broadside maps to be issued by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art during the last six months of 2010, and a series of six public events at locations around the city in conjunction with those broadsides.

What makes a place? Infinite City, Rebecca Solnit’s brilliant reinvention of the traditional atlas, searches out the answer by examining the many layers of meaning in one place, the San Francisco Bay Area.

The maps document everything from murders to treasures to queer history, labor history, urban renewal, and butterfly species in San Francisco; toxins and food history, African American and shipyard history, environmental preservation, right-wing and military sites in the Bay Area; and neighborhood and local histories within San Francisco, including the coexistence of day laborer migrants and super-localized gang kids in the Mission, Fillmore Street's dense histories, and more.

She explores the area thematically—connecting, for example, Eadweard Muybridge’s foundation of motion-picture technology with Alfred Hitchcock’s filming of Vertigo. Across an urban grid of just seven by seven miles, she finds seemingly unlimited landmarks and treasures—butterfly habitats, queer sites, murders, World War II shipyards, blues clubs, Zen Buddhist centers. She roams the political terrain, both progressive and conservative, and details the cultural geographies of the Mission District, the culture wars of the Fillmore, the South of Market world being devoured by redevelopment, and much, much more.

The maps are lush visual works. Several of the twenty-one maps were done in collaboration with artists, and the book includes essays by Solnit and various writers on subjects related to the maps. Breathtakingly original, this atlas of the imagination invites us to search out the layers of San Francisco that carry meaning for us—or to discover our own infinite city, be it Cleveland, Toulouse, or Shanghai.

INFINITE CITY: A SAN FRANCISCO ATLAS Launches  July 15!
at the Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA at 7pm: 
http://www.sfmoma.org/events/1684

Broadsides will be available at The Green Arcade, 1680 Market @ Gough St. SF
http://www.thegreenarcade.com/



 

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