|Product Details |
University of California Press
A captivating meditation on the nature of cities and how we see ourselves in relation to them. Written in travelogue form, this marvelous text is presented beside the authors own black-and-white photographs. Victor Burgin, a professor on the Board of Studies in History of Consciousness at the University of California, documents his travels from his native England to London, Berlin, New York, Singapore, and the islands of Stromboli and Tobago. When we see through Burgin's eyes, our relationships to the cities we know are gently transformed to the point that we may even view them as works of art.
From the Back Cover
"Victor Burgin is an important artist whose work has played a major role for many years. He has also made a number of decisive contributions as a cultural theorist. What is so captivating about Some Cities is that it combines both sides of his work. The photographs and the text address the elusive yet pervasive condition of the city. The form is that of the travel book, where each city, no matter how 'foreign,' is treated as home. So much of our discourse over the last one and a half... read more
At once poetic and provocative, Victor Burgin's Some Cities deftly juxtaposes photographs and texts in a manner that invites comparisons to the urban essays of filmmaker Chris Marker and cultural critic Walter Benjamin. Best known for his artistic exploration of the divergent realities of images and words, Burgin is a gifted practitioner of montage with an acute sensitivity to all that is vibrant, uncanny, and appealing in the contemporary metropolis. Some Cities collects thoughts, places, and photographs along a life route that has taken the author from the North of England to his present home in northern California. From the cherry blossoms in a Tokyo park, to the skyscrapers of Singapore, it presents a series of stunning close-ups of the multicultural character of the late twentieth-century metropole. The itinerary of his book includes stops in Berlin, Warsaw, Woomera, New York, and the islands of Stromboli and Tobago. A prime example of the "spatial turn" associated with contemporary cultural studies and postmodern theories of subjectivity, Some Cities is a tour-de-force of subtle wit and imagination that employs Burgin's visual and verbal skills in the project of creating a suitable artistic language for representing the complex and shifting realities of the metropolis. "Unlike the promises we make to each other," Burgin writes, "the promise of the city can never be broken."