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Chelsea College of Art & Design Exhibition

Invisible Cities, Cutting into books.


London, UK

'I could tell you how many steps make up the streets rising like stairways, and the degree of the arcades’ curves, and what kind of zinc scales cover the roofs; but I already know this would be the same as telling you nothing.  The city does not consist of this, but of relationships between the measurements of its space and the events of its past' (Calvino, 1997: 9).


The exhibition was constructed with thirty cuttings into existing books, which compose my invisible city. From the endless mountain tall stairs, Y-junction, two flying-arches, the labyrinthine routes, to blurred-texts, all absorbed the vibration of Calvino’s Invisible Cities. The vibration interwove a reflection of my daydreams, recollections, and thoughts into the thirty cut books.


The structure of the cut books was set up using the rules of the multiple of three which were mentioned quite a few times in Calvino’s texts. The multiple of three provided a strong direction for the cuts as well as becoming the major architectural elements which appeared in the cut books universally. The architectural elements also transfer into these questions.


What is the height of the stairs?

How many pages are there between two stairs?

How many steps are there in this space?

How big is the gap between the stairs and the wall?

How many pages are used to construct a wall?

How many degrees are there in the angle between two walls?

How many pages are used to build a room?

How many pages are dug out for the rooms?

How many pages are used to construct the ceilings?

How many rooms are there in the Invisible Cities?



My expectation between the exhibition and the cut books was to present an invisible territory that could be discovered by today’s cultural nomads. The wide range of the invisible territory is exited on the mind of one’s reveries as well as on the innumerable literatures.

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