How do we live in our cities? How do we meaningfully interact with them in a world ever-increasingly devoted to time-functional tasks and the economic engine that has become the driving force behind all of the world’s great cities?
Our challenge is to slow down, to see and notice our cities and engage with them at the microcosmic level to enjoy the myriad small things that go to make up the joys of urban environment as well as our own habitation within it.
My interest in these questions was profoundly inspired the work of George Perec, most particularly, his brilliant collection of meditations on place and space Species of Spaces and Other Pieces which take us from the street, to the apartment and even to the writing desk in an examination of how we interact with our spaces both public and private.
Perec was a master of what I call ‘writing the mundane’: through taking time to dig deeply into the everyday, to see and notice the world around us with acute attention to detail, Perec becomes a master of taking such seemingly mundane interactions – the objects on my work-table, what I can observe in a public square or street, what I can say about the private spaces that I live in – and turning them into some of the most insightful and imaginative literary depictions of the arts of everyday life.
From the village to the mega-city we live in a kaleidoscope of cultures that are as infinitely diverse as the stories of that diversity which emerge from the streets, lanes, gutters and built environments envelope them.
Naked Cities Journal is about sharing these stories of the minutiae of everyday life from different cultures and different storytellers from around the globe.
Marcus D. Niski, June 2017