Invisible Cities | Greenlight Review


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  1. OGR 06/10/2016

    Hey Michael,

    I've been impressed by the steady flow of work popping up on your blog, and I'm enjoying your conceptualisation of Esmeralda as a sort of 'den of thieves'; there is certainly something about its characterisation as a game-like maze that encourages us to think of it almost in gaming terms - as an almost playable space. I think you certainly do more with the sense Calvino gives us of an almost ariel labyrinth of bridges, walkways, aqueducts and ladders etc. I suggest you look at Piranesi and Escher for some pointers in terms of really ramping up this sense of Esmeralda as being both a puzzle and an architecture of interlocking routes:

    In regards to Piranesi, note how we're really made to 'feel' the complexity of the space, via the low point of view and lack of horizon line etc.

    In terms of visually expressing the darker underbelly of the city, I can really see how colour can be used to its full advantage - as if the more vibrant colours of the 'top' city literally desaturate and fade out towards the 'bottom' city. In terms of your interior, how about thinking about depicting the lair of the criminal underworld, like the guild of thieves? I'm reminded of the 'Court of Miracles' from Disney's Hunchback, lair of the gypsies:

    I did note a little bit of 'let's make it science-fiction-y' in your mission statement, which to me feels like style-creep - or rather genre-creep - there's little in Calvino's text to support that view, as it seems much more likely that a city like Esmeralda would have water-mill based technology as opposed to anything too high-tech. It doesn't have to be slavishly 'Venice' at all, but in this instance it seems perverse 'not' to look at existing real-world examples of cities that share the labyrinthine elements described by Calvino. If this place does have a genre, then it's more 'fantasy' than science-fiction.

  2. [Edit] Thanks a lot for your feedback, Phil. After looking at your links, especially Piranesi's artwork, I have a bunch of ideas floating around that I need to put on paper