No Single City


Research output: Textual Creative WorksOther contribution


No city is any one thing, and no city is able to be fully known or seen. Large cities are variously fragmented, including in the ways in which people experience or perceive them. The inhabitants of these cities know the districts where they live, work, travel and shop rather than having a detailed sense of the whole. Daniel Kozak writes that ‘it can be argued that within postmodernism the starting point is recognition and celebration of a “fragmentary living” in contemporary metropolises’ (2008: 241). Michel de Certeau writes of the blindness of a city’s inhabitants, who do not have access to a ‘celestial eye’ able
to comprehend a city in its entirety: The ordinary practitioners of the city live ‘down below,’ below the thresholds at which visibility begins. They walk—an elementary form of this experience of the city … The paths that correspond
in this intertwining, unrecognized poems in which each body is an element signed by many others, elude legibility. It is as though the practices organizing a bustling city were characterized by their blindness. (1984: 93)
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRecent Work Press
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationCanberra, ACT
ISBN (Print)9780995353862
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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