Mapping Above and Below the City

If you’re anything like me, its impossible to follow a set of stairs into any subway system without wondering how everything above ground interfaces with everything below ground. Even a rudimentary set of orientation instincts tells you that what is happening in these tunnels is not directly mirrored above ground. So, needless to say, I find these X-ray maps of NYC subway stations by Candy Chan absolutely fascinating. I love the approach to mapping and architecture shown in these drawings!

The Vulnerability of Sensitivity

It seems that the most sensitive souls are able to find the most beautiful things about the world, but that sensitivity is a tremendous vulnerability that many great writers have been unable to live with. Breece D’J Pancake was one of them. This story of his life from The Millions is both a sad and beautiful reminder of the terrible price of open eyes and an open heart. I can assure you, Pancake’s only book, The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, pictured above, is worth a lifetime of re-readings.

Evidence

Can the cryptic, strange, and disparate contents of government agency photography archives be art? Of course they can! At least when assembled by artists with the vision to think beyond the more conventional forms of art to realize that everything human beings create carries with it some kind of inherent artistic statement. The book that Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel assembled in the 1970’s, Evidence, did something like this:

All the wealth of information the photographs in Evidence provide, disrupted from their original context and placed into an intuitive visual essay about the ridiculousness of vanity and the pathetic loss of power, makes the pictures themselves essentially unknowable and inscrutable, and more strange and potent for it.

The article does a great job of explaining this. Check it out.

Is is any wonder that art is the only thing that makes any sense to me any more?

– via The Paris Review

The Writer Can Xue

I just finished Frontier after reading about it and Can Xue in this article, which I can say is very accurate when it comes to the book. This is some of the most mysterious, difficult fiction I’ve ever read, and I adore it. Writing like this is a welcome reminder that not all books need to be nascent little movies, some books can be much better: they can be half-remembered, fading fast like the infuriating whisper of a dream just passed.

– via Numero Cinq