Monday, 24 May 2010

The effect of not being on vacation in Italy on a man with a tall stack of papers to grade. As you probably noticed, my wife is currently on vacation without me—which is different than a vacation from me, although given how frequently insufferable I am, I could understand the appeal of such—in the le Marche region of Italy, which is immediately south of Tuscany and full of communists. As evidence of how thoroughly corrupt the region is, I present a picture (courtesy of her) of the cabin she'll be staying in free of charge until July: That's the view she'll be writing her dissertation to the next two months. The region is poor (though not so much as I thought) and poorly serviced by internet and wifi: there's a router up the hill from her which sometimes provides wifi, but only then into a loft too unbearably hot to occupy during the day. So the only opportunity I have to talk to her (via Skype) is that last hour in the late evening when the loft cools enough to be habitable—provided, of course, that the wifi strength that evening is strong enough to establish and maintain a connection. Which it frequently isn't. But this post isn't about how melancholy I become when I haven't heard from her by 3 p.m. (which would be midnight over there), because anyone who follows me on Facebook already knows that and because this post concerns Urbino, not my daily descent into emo. I've written about Urbino before, but because the wife is providing me with such dazzling photographs of the city, I feel compelled to do so again. As I noted in that post, Urbino is not a "built" city so much as an "evolved" one. (The De Landa seems to have become an unwitting theme of late.) Of course it was built, but it was built vertically within the city walls, meaning that new buildings were constructed atop existing ones like so: The effect is the sort of architecture one only finds in dreams or representations of them, like the one in the finale of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wherein Joss Whedon took advantage of contiguous three-walled film sets to depict Xander Harris moving seamlessly from the upstairs bathroom at Buffy's house: Into the Initiative's underground bunker: Then, from the bathroom-Initiative across the hall: Into his parent's basement: And into an ice cream truck: Past the the come-hither lesbians: Through the back of the ice cream truck: By means of a passage: That returns him to you guessed it his parents' basement: In which he exits the same door he originally entered it from Buffy's house only to end up in the halls of Sunnydale High and (shortly) an Apocalypse Now parody: The only difference between what Whedon did and Urbino is that you could travel through the side streets of Urbino with a camera and accomplish such feats (minus the Coppola) without needing to cut once. Because without leaving officially sanctioned lanes of transportation, pedestrians can venture into and through outdoor kitchens, university departments, the central hallway...

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