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03 invisible cities


About the type used in this book: Univers font family Bodoni font family About the Designer: The designer is a Latin American derived, Chicagoan born male. He has studied many languages including Japanese, Spanish, Italian, French and English. His works are influenced by many Asian and European modern and contemporary design. Thanks: Matthew Gaynor, the teacher, whom aided in helping to understand how a book is suppose to be created with flow, hierarchy, and good design in mind. Joyce, a student teacher, who aided in many of the revisions of this book and also helped the designer gain an even stronger insight of Graphic Design.


building new realities

invisible cities MiguelAngelMartinez

05 invisible cities


This book’s ideas are so crumpled together and so cumbersome it’s sometimes hard to tell what is important and what is simply there.


perceptions

space possibilities memory time

Invisible Cities is a book on philosophy. There is no plot, only ideas. There are only two characters that exist in the book: Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. These characters have been used to develop the story and its ideas through story telling and imagery, but the story is simply a set of random details, since there is no plot to form a story from. The main topic of the book is the idea of cities and their differences. Of the cities, the topics most dis-

cussed usually revolve around theories of time, perceptions, space, possibilities and memory. The cities have been categorized under specific titles including thin cities, hidden cities, cities in the sky, etc. We are not directly told whether the narration is based around the two main characters, or the actual cities that they speak about. The two main characters in the book carry a dialogue. One that is sometimes direct and literal

and then other times confusing and ridiculous. This adds to the confusion of the book as the reader tries to slowly understand where the book leaves on theory and begin another. And whether the conversation between the two characters is part of one theory that carries throughout the book or if it simply a way of summarizing the theories are displayed through each story after or before the story is told.

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Because this book is so strongly suggestive and digs so deep into its philosophical theories, readers who have a hard time analyzing stories or “reading between the lines,� should be aware that this book may be difficult to fully comprehend and understand. Having written the book in a third person point of view, in which the reader is playing the role of the omnipotent listener, it tend to be easier to understand where the reader is

suppose to be, in relation to the text, and how the reader is suppose interpret exactly what he or she is reading. Many parts of the book where dialogue appears the reader is in most cases suppose to attach what they have just read, or sometimes what they are about to read, with the dialogue. But, as mentioned earlier, the dialogue sometimes has a small connection to the prior or latter text and makes for a difficult understand of where the book is going. The dialogue itself though usually contains its own theories. Of these theories, seperate from the


“When he enters the territory of which Eutropia is the capital, the traveler sees not one city but many...”

theories explaines in the story, ideas come up of things that exist, things that might exist, things that don’t exist once they say they exist, and so on. The book also takes place in many foreign cities, some cities that may sound familiar by name and some that sound from out of this world. The stories, though not exactly, seem to display possible city attributes, things that hold a city together that are both physical and invisible. Physical attri-

butes are things such as base structure, fountains, people, etc. And things that are not as easy to see are things such as, transitional spaces, rules, microscopic elements, dreams, etc. The book beckons the question of whether the two main characters are actually discussing real cities that have been journeyed to, or simply cities that could, in some way, possibly exist. But after one question is answered, another

comes up: Are they discussing these ideas of cities and places after Po l o has returned from them or has this whole book been simply two individuals in one room having never moved from their original spot. It’s possible that the latter is true because in some parts of the book the cities are said to only exist in the characters minds and

nowhere else. Also, the book narrates conversation in which characters are said to have never moved or left the spot they are discussing. To add to the question of whether or not they are even discussing at all, the book, while developing the story, notes that at a certain point Kahn and Polo actually do not understand the language each of them are speaking to each other. They simply carry the story in their head and through their mind.

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“Is it even possible to dream or think of something never seen or experienced before?“ Polo, though, while describing certain cities, mentions features of cities that he should not have knowledge of. Somethings that are so futuristic that the only way to know of them is to actually see them or experience them. Is it even possible for a person to dream or think of something that they have never seen or experienced before? And how can a person who has never moved from a particular spot, at all, describe

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Are all things simply cause and effect? When one stops it only decides that another must start. cities with these futuristic features that only have existed recently? When I speak of these futuristic features I mean things such as airports, elevators, and modern day products. If any of this is true then does that mean that ideas are eternal and infinite and that an idea not made or decided yet, can still be dreamed up and or made at any point in time and space, regardless of the individual or cause of its effect. Reading this deep into any subject can cause alarm and will spark more questions than what are already at hand. And of these question “why” will

be the strongest and longest question any reader can ask. Any analytical reader will understand that why is the only question that can find an answer and then ask the answer the same question for an infinite amount of times. When speaking of cities that contains imagery that no one has experienced or spoken of, “why” will introduce the question and in it the

Are there infinities in life that go beyond our thoughts, questions and insights.


reader will try to render an idea or answer from his or her suspicion to the story. Reading the book the first time for face value and seeing it only as it is for words, the reader may be able to see and understand

certain portions of the book that are simple and require no research or questioning. But those parts are only the direct parts of the book. Descriptions that are related to reader or remind them of something that relates to them at that particular time in their life. They simply read direct descriptions of cities, this will cause them to understand enigmas that might only make sense to

“...of equal size and not unlike one another, scattered over a vast, rolling plateau. Eutropia’s not one, but all these cities together; only one is inhabited at a time, the others are empty; and this process is carried out in rotation.� 013 invisible cities


What creates questions? Is it not understanding or it is not being understood.

them. It is a long process to intake this book, since understanding it will take more than seeing it for face value, the reader must understand the book every level it possibly has. At times the questioned comes to mind as to where the book’s descriptions are coming from. Not in the sense of who is speaking the words, but to whether

the descriptions are of: the inhabitants, the cities, the inhabitants describing the city, the city describing it’s inhabitants, or whether there were inhabitants and city at all.


“On the day when Eutropia’s inhabitant feel the grip of weariness and no one could bear any longer his job, his relatives, his house and his life, debts, the people he must greet or who greet him...”

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The universe is this book’s playground.

One story in the book describes the inhabitants and how they make the city. They were what the city was made of, and the city could not be complete or completed without them. It is a description of any possible possibility. The universe is this book’s playground Anything

that is possible does exist, and anything that is not possible must exist as well. Or in some cases because it does exist and it is acknowledged it must not exist. Models, by this I mean structures, functions, abilities, ideas, and of the sort, of this can exist in any format. Just because it cannot be seen by

the eye does not mean that it cannot be there, it just means that we have yet to discover it. Invisible Cities is primarily about discovery. Discovering molecules in the universe, discovering ones inner self, discovering new methods of medicine, discovering very angle to photograph something, rediscovering old discoveries. Nothing is ever truly complete. Nothing is really fully discovered, because once something is seen once, the next


second it can have been modified or changed a million times in ways we could only imagine, or not even imagine. And those changes are what cause our infinite discoveries and why we can infinitiley create ideas and theories because in the end really haven’t discovered anything, we’re just finding something that has always been there to begin with.

With a log of infinite descriptions, this book becomes harder after each turn of a page. 17 invisible cities


So what do we really see?

So what do you really see? Is it simply our own perfect city in which is made up of only different parts and or differences in general? And of our differences, do they make many cities or just one? And if it is this just one, do many cities construct its make up? This book then brings to my mind the idea of Plato’s Republic. A philosophical book on about different ideas and possible theories. Plato’s

“Then the whole citizenry decides to move to the next city, which is there waiting for them, empty and good as new;”

closet explains the idea of the Dual World Theory. Plato’s idea of the universe is that it expands beyond the physical nature of itself. The universe is split into two dif-


“So their life is renewed from move to move, among cities whose exposure of declivity or steams or winds make each sire somehow different from the others.�

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Instead of the Universe expanding it splits.

ferent worlds: The idea goes that the “world” of the senses can be tricked and make it seem as though something

is real when in fact it isn’t, through dreams and drugs. Because of this we should not blindly believe that the senses tells us what is real and what isn’t. Thus saying our perceived idea of the world we live in, can possibly be a fake world. If it can be doubted, than it

means that it cannot be perfectly true. And if it’s truth is doubtable then that means it cannot be used as fact.


“There each will take up a new job, a different wife, will see another landscape on opening his window, and will spend his time with different pastimes, friends, gossip. “

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Make a long story short.

A dream can very closely resemble reality. It affects our vision, hearing and sometimes even our sense of touch, but because we know it’s not real we cannot rely on our senses to tell us truth. Senses can be doubted, and because of this the world of the physical can also be doubted. An example of these two worlds is: we all know what a horse is, because we’ve seen one, but to describe it, or give a universal definition of a horse without describing any other animal is a task we can only do in

our minds. We then know the idea of a horse more than we know the horse. That idea is the perfect form of whatever it physically becomes. To bring up the horse again, a person knows that in their mind a horse will always be a horse regardless of its colour, size, pedal ability, etc.

There are too many cities to cite and decipher.

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The world of the senses, touch, smell, taste, see, hear. and the world of ideas, the perfect world. This book follows this idea of the mind’s world and the world of the physical. The physical world exist simply due to our ability to comprehend the perfect form of whatever it is that we make. Though we comprehend the perfect possible outcome of any one thing, we can only create a version of what we really truly understand about it. That is why every possible city is describable, be-

cause even one city that follows the same form, or blueprint, as another still comes out with different faults and properties, can populate different inhabitants, are made with different structural properties, and can change with technology. And so the cities described in the book may not be real cities at all, but simply the physical, by language and listening, descriptions of a

perfectly modeled city. This book is many things, many things that cannot be understood and many things that can only be understood in reference to an individual.


“Since their society is ordered without great distinctions of wealth or authority, the passage from one function to another takes The book is of differences, place almost without jolts; variety is guardiscovery and their differences. Semantics, language, space, anteed by the multiple assignments, so that angles, everything is different depending on the beholder. in the span of a lifetime a man rarely reMaybe the book tries to relate to the ideas of the creator, the turns to a job that has already been his.� creation (its perfect form), the created, the process in creating, and the one who sees the creation.

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“Thus the city repeats its life, identical, shifting up and down on its empty chessboard. The inhabitants repeat the same scenes, with the actors changes;�


“They repeat the same speeches with variously combined accents; they open alternate mouths in identical yawns.� Such ideas can refer to design assignments for a class of students. Simple rules are given, invisible rules, to follow. Though the ideas were most likely the same, the product, as seen by the creator and the onlooker, were all different. A full understanding of this book will difficult for anyone, even possibly the writer.

The user is not allowed

Fully understandings the writing of this book takes a long time and a very strong understanding of many types of philosophy.

I can gather that I have understood a great amount of this book and from that great amount I am able to decipher my own pieces of work, and this book, as I’ve made them: from idea, to sketch, to trial, to display, to refinalization, to finish, and then to destruction.

to break those rules in developing a creation. 27 invisible cities


029 invisible cities

Invisible Cities  

This book was designed to represent the idea conjured up from the book Invisible Cities by Italo Cavilo.

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