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The City & The City

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Post date:2023-10-25

Updates:2023-10-26

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The City & The City
Event Time
Mon.- Fri. 10:00-18:00
Event Location
10F, No. 99, Section 2, Diding Avenue, Neihu Dist., Taipei City Taiwan, R.O.C
Our connection with the places we navigate each day goes beyond the abstraction of the map.  For all their seeming sophistication, the multiplicity of navigation aids that now inhabit our phones and cars have no real connection to the experience of place that lies at the heart of living and working in a city.  Such systems tell us (hopefully) how to get from this place to that place, but there is no allowance for the journey itself having any meaning other than that of the line between two points.

Such systems do not allow for true engagement with the city, which is why relying on Google maps when wandering a city is an unsatisfactory experience. You may indeed arrive at the coffee shop, but you will miss so much on the journey – the fragments of lost buildings, the glimpse of the heron, the changes being made to the built environment that make the city a place suitable only for cars.

The city that exists in our memory is a place built from experiences, from memories and dreams, from desires and fears. The city we truly know is one that connects to our subconscious, it is a place that cannot be mapped precisely, for it is in constant flux.


“At the next memory, turn left, and in 200 metres allow dreams to overtake you.”


In The City &The City, a novel by the UK writer China Miéville, there are two cities, Beszel and Ul Qoma, cities with different languages, political systems, architecture, histories; yet these cities exist in the same physical space, so that the inhabitants of one city must learn to ‘not see’ the other city.

In this we can see a reflection of the idea of the city as a place built from personal vision, with the inhabitants of the cities existing in their different versions of memories and histories. My view of a street stems from my experience, from my cultural, educational, and generational background, and this will be different from yours. The physical space, the architecture and geography, remains the same, but our cognition differs. There is a transubstantiation of the physical coming from our psyche.

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