Invisible Cities

Alper Enes Ceylan

2023 Fall
ARCH470 Digital Design Studio

At a dawntime, in his palace, Kubilai Khan, having been bored of hearing the stories of the same cities the whole night, asks Marco Polo to tell another one. Polo, however, feeling ashamed, confesses that he has none left in his repertoire to offer to the sire anymore. However, Khan insists on hearing the story of the one and only city that remained untold by him up to that moment, which is the traveler’s hometown, Venice. But when he asks him about it, it turns out that every city he is being told about all along carries out a hidden piece from Venice.

As in Calvino’s novel, INVISIBLE CITIES, where the excerpt is taken. the ODYSSEY is an experience of discovering an unknown Venice through an abstract journey. Being the departure point, the city is deconstructed into its constituent elements, which are represented by agents and forces in the digital realm.  The variations of their PARAMETRIC relationships generate a speculative instance of the real Venice, or a different CITY each time. The SPECTATOR involves in the narration as a traveler who experiences the propelling course of the TIME dimension as the agents and forces INTERACT and let the cities evolve by themselves and transform into each other along the road, while keep flowing inside an ever-changing SPATIAL matrix.

The data triggering the creation of each city comes from real images and sounds from the existing cities of a selection, which are chaotic, and unexpected, possessing the turning points, ups, and downs of their sources, which OVERWHELM the process along their stream over the algorithm. Within the scope of this jury, as a representative case of this grand strategy, six Italian cities were picked and a journey, which seems to be fictive but actually correlates with a real experience of the programmer’s own life is built between them.

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