25 December 2009

I'm dreaming of a highrise Christmas

Aqua Alta
Acqua alta in Venice. Photo by TracyElaine

This Christmas the "acqua alta" (high water) in Venice reached 145 cm. above sea level, the 8th highest measured ever: it reminded me of a post I read some time ago, about a series of images by Studio Lindfors, in which we see New York and Tokyo after a catastrophic flood.

Small boats cross the streets and avenues of the big apple, and Tokyo's neon lights reflect on the water surface; as Studio Lindfors puts it, in this imaginary cityscape dwellers will have to adapt to the new, liquid inhabitant of the metropolis.

It is amazing to see how Venice, even (or probably because) it is in danger, is the real and physical counterpart of the most extreme urban fantasies, and how danger or disaster can be a strong stimulus to the vitality of a city, even in terms of how do citizens perceive their own dwelling and therefore identity in a precarious place, opening up a wider range of experiments and relationship's nomadism. Just imagine to cut out the ground floor of all the buildings...

Will we connect the whole Venice cutting an infinite corridor through all the buildings like a "passage"? Walter Benjamin would probably be happy.

Constant's New Babylon

More images of Venice's last acqua alta.
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