So this is the third year for my involvement in the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art Fundraiser Exhibition: Altered Book Show.
This year my book to alter is a book about Venice. Italy. Seems appropriate. But finding the right book has been a nightmare. Very few older books on Venice it seems. At least in my local used book sellers.
But than Calvino came to me, in the Oakland Public Library bookstore. A 3 dollar paperback. And there it was: Invisible Cities. What else was Calvino, writing from the character of Marco Polo, to write about but a description of hundreds of cities and all one city: Venice. La Serrenissima. The Serene Republic. The description of hundreds of cities can be the description of one city. An elusive landscape.
“These islands floating in a light-infused lagoon, shimmering with Oz-like wonder, as steaming heat flows like syrup, unforgiving with entropy.”
“Waking to the cold, damp, Venetian winter.”
“This beauty and depth and, yes, this light are not for us, the inhabitants – or for the throngs of visitors. This city does not exist for us, This jewel exists for its own reason, oblivious to all, indifferent, cold, hard, unwelcoming. Its inward glance forever averted from our eyes.”
“Dead for years, alive only by the insatiable curiosity of the rest of the world. Venice, city of wonder, beauty, history and astounding coldness.”